Last week brought us a weakening of the Euro, losses in the stock market and of course, the latest round of government shut-down threats. The fight over continuing resolutions has become so common place that hardly anyone watching actually believes that no deal will be reached and the government will have to shut down. To quote Ronald Reagan, "Well, there you go again."
This gut-wrenching process of passing continuing resolutions to keep the government operating would not be necessary if it weren't for the irresponsibility of the Democrats, who have refused to pass a budget for almost 3 years. Two of those years they had super-majorities in the House and The Senate, and of course the White House, and could have easily passed any budget they wanted. The Republicans passed a budget earlier this year after they took control of the House, the Ryan plan, which now sits in the Democrat-controlled Senate collecting dust. There has been no attempt by Majority Leader Harry Reid to even bring the Ryan plan up for debate. There has also been no attempt by Democrats to present a budget of their own.
The reason that the Democrats have taken this tact is that they know the Republicans are scared to death of being blamed for a government shut-down. This fear stems from the last time a shut-down happened, back in the 1990s under the then Newt Gingrich lead House. The Republicans still believe they suffered politically for standing on their principals. However, looking at it with hind-sight, the opposite is true. It was the stand they took back then that lead to Newt Gingrich, John Kasich and the rest of the Republican House dragging Bill Clinton kicking and screaming to a balanced budget. Which he has taken credit for ever since. If left to his own devices, the deficits we saw in the 2000s would have started in the 1990s.
The twelve years between January 1995 thru January 2007 the Republicans had control of the House, which holds the purse strings of the federal government. During those twelve years the average budget deficit was 120 billion dollars. In the ensuing 5 years that the Democrats have had control of the House, the average budget deficits have been around 1.2 trillion dollars, ten times what the Republicans spent which, I admit, was too much. So, in refusing to pass a budget, the Democrats are able to spend even more money through the use of the continuing resolution with little or no resistence from paranoid Republicans.
The battle over a seemingly never-ending parade of continuing resolutions is something that probably will not go away, especially since we are now in the depths of an election cycle. The Democrats think they have too much to gain by not passing a budget and the Republicans think they have too much to lose if they don't pass the continuing resolutions. Meanwhile we are left to wonder if the fiscal house of the United States will ever be put in order or if our leaders are resolving to continue on the road of insolvency.