Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Two Budgets...Two Approaches...No Republican Compromise

The U.S. House and Senate are currently in the planning stages for our 2014 national budget.  Proposed budgets for Transportation, Energy, Agriculture and Defense have made it out of committee in the House.  Environment and Education budgets are still being finalized.  The Senate has finished their complete budget proposal.

what eye thynk:   The two approaches couldn't be more adverse.

The House 
TRANSPORTATION AND HUD: The House proposal cuts their 2014 budget by 9%--$4.4 billion below the current sequester level.  This would mean cutting Community Development Block Grants by 45% and Amtrak by 33%.  The Home Investment program that creates affordable housing for the poor and lower middle class would also be cut by a third.  

  • Because, who needs community grants?  Communities will just use them to improve themselves.  And Amtrak--why if more people start using the train, there will be fewer people buying gas for their cars.  We can't have that.  And housing?  Totally unnecessary.  Churches have shelters don't they?

ENERGY AND WATER:  Money for renewable energy programs would be cut by $1 billion.  The Republican led House did, however, find an extra $450 million to add to the budget  for development of gas, oil and other fossil fuels. 

  • We can't have people developing affordable solar or wind power!  What if they're successful and we no longer need so much oil?  Big oil companies may decide to cut back on campaign spending and then how would Republicans keep their campaign funds flush? 

AGRICULTURE:  The $120 million needed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to enforce the Dodd-Frank financial oversight law has been eliminated completely.   

  • Republicans have been trying to sabotage the Dodd-Frank act since it was passed over their objections.  Cutting this budget to zero sure will take care of at least one aspect of that pesky and unwanted financial oversight idea.  

PENTAGON:  The House wants to add $26 billion to the Pentagon budget--money the Pentagon has said it did not ask for and does not need.

  • Republicans love the military. They just don't think the military is capable of knowing what it needs or doesn't need.

The Senate 

The Senate budget proposes cutting $1 trillion from non vital areas. 
  • I'm not sure what they deem  "non vital"; but I'm pretty sure it isn't Dodd-Frank, alternate energy sources or housing needs.

At the same time, the Senate budget proposes raising $1 trillion by eliminating some tax breaks for the rich and for corporations.  The types of breaks that are on the table are the lower tax rates for investment income and the billions of dollars in tax breaks given to oil companies.

  • I've never understood why someone who works for a living should pay a higher tax rate than someone who simply puts his money in an investment fund and sits back and waits for a dividend check to hit his bank account.  This would seem like a no-brainer for tax reform--not that I expect it to happen any time soon.  As for tax breaks for oil companies, during testimony given to Congress, the CEOs of big oil said that they do not need the breaks.  So why are they still being passed on?

Now is the time that the two houses of Congress should be working together on the hard task of compromising to get to a single budget to be debated and voted on in both chambers.

However, House Republicans, despite, (or perhaps because of?), entreaties from the White House and the Senate, are continuing their childish refusal to consider any budget proposals other than their own.  They have flatly turned down any attempt by the Senate to work together on a national budget, thus totally ignoring one of the main aspects of their duties as members of Congress.  

And, sadly, they are proud of their refusal to govern.

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