- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 7, 2011

I can’t help but think that the “original sin” in getting us to where we are now (after being on the brink of last week’s limitation on borrowing - it was NOT a default date, as there would have been plenty of money to pay the Treasurys that are due - the real issue is that without further borrowing, it is the other things the government does that it won’t have the money to do) is this: Why didn’t President Obama use the vast power of writing the budget to set his priorities in this coming fight?

I think this is a fundamental mistake on his part. Had he sent a serious document to the Congress, it would’ve had to contend with it. As it was, he sent something so execrable that it got not a single vote, Republican or Democrat, losing 97-0 in the Senate. This was not just a tactical error, it was an abdication of his real duty to propose serious legislation.

It boggles my mind that a president wouldn’t do that. In fact, one of the problems with this whole process is that we’ve ignored regular order - you know, proposing a bill, referral to committee, hearings, markups, then vote out of committee and to the floor for debate/vote. We used to consider legislation. Now we argue about really important things: TARP, Obamacare, now the debt limit, until a vote is jammed through (lest the world come to an end). No debate worthy of the name, no regular order and no deliberation. It is a terrible way to make policy. In fact, it reduces policy to the political. That is a shame, regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum.

But the point of this little missive was to point out where we started off the tracks: no credible budget submission by the administration. I think the likeliest explanation is that Barack Hussein Obama was determined to make the Republicans detail their preferred cuts to entitlements (all the better to demagogue with) - he’s done this, but he never submitted a real proposal. (As the head of the Congressional Budget Office said: “We don’t score speeches.”)

I should also point out that the only proposals that have actually been submitted as legislation and voted on are from the Republicans: the Ryan budget and cut-cap-balance. The latter lost only for the lack of four votes switching in the Senate. I would also point out that both Switzerland and Germany have balanced-budget provisions in their basic laws, so this is not a Neanderthal proposal. And deficits can be run and taxes raised under the proposal, but they require supermajorities (two-thirds; I’d prefer only three-fifths, but they didn’t ask me).

Why are we repeating the mistake of President George Herbert Walker Bush? What good is it to give this administration more money to play with? Or, what good does it do to propose raising taxes on anyone in challenged economic times? This first-step debt-ceiling measure, which easily passed the House yesterday - and it is only a first step - has to be about spending reductions. Then we get to tax reform and entitlement reform for the long run. In fact, that is what we must do now. We simply don’t have time for anything else. We’ve seen the Senate finalize extending the debt limit for the short term while tax/entitlement reform/further spending cuts will be reworked. There aren’t the votes for anything else. Of course, we can always miscalculate. And Barack Hussein Obama has shown nothing if not the ability to miscalculate throughout this one: Forgoing the chance to send a real budget; thinking he could stare down or otherwise intimidate Republicans into tax rate increases, etc.

We’ll see. What should have taken several days to accomplish in both chambers of Congress actually dragged on for several months, and we the people paid the price. This is what they call high drama and the eleventh-hour deal that is sealed just before the clock strikes midnight. Shame, shame, shame. When will Americans finally awaken to the fact that both sides are one and the same?

Armstrong Williams is on Sirius Power 128, 7-8 p.m. and 4-5 a.m., Mondays through Fridays. Become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/arightside, and follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/arightside. Read his content on RightSideWire.com.

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