By now you’ve probably heard how Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning is singlehandedly dooming hundreds of thousands of people to starvation and perhaps even death by roving packs of wild hyenas because he won’t allow the sweet, kindhearted, rules-following Democrats to help America. The Democrats want to spend a paltry $15 billion, pocket change, really, on extended unemployment benefits, preventing Medicare cuts, and absolutely critical highway improvement projects.
Mean old Bunning, who probably kicks helpless little puppies and beats interns with a cane, won’t let any of that happen because of his outdated and possibly racist belief that the Democrats need to find $15 billion elsewhere in the budget to cut first. Who knows what essential program might have to end because of Ebenezer Bunning’s partisan intransigence?
The bigger mystery, one completely unanswered by any news report I’ve seen or heard over the past few days, is where Bunning got the crazy idea that Congress should have to pay for its own spending with more than a tractor trailer full of IOUs which will one day have to be repaid by our childrens’ childrens’ children. Surely he didn’t just wake up in the middle of the night with this idea bursting from his head like Athena from the forehead of Zeus.
As it happens, he didn’t. He got the idea from the Democratic majority in Congress and from the President who together passed a law called PAYGO. You’ll have to seach awfully hard to find more than one or two MSM stories that mention PAYGO today. I suppose it’s not in the MSM’s best interest to let us know that their Democratic pals don’t have much interest in following the law they were so hot to take credit for a bit over two weeks ago. Did I say hot to take credit? You don’t know the half of it. Back then, PAYGO was the Democratic Wonder Program that would put us on the path to “restoring fiscal discipline” and ending the “irresponsible practices” of deficit spending. Barack Obama himself took to the airwaves praise it and the Democratic majority who passed it:
…what also made these large deficits possible was the end of a common sense rule called “pay as you go.” It’s pretty simple. It says to Congress, you have to pay as you go. You can’t spend a dollar unless you cut a dollar elsewhere. This is how a responsible family or business manages a budget. And this is how a responsible government manages a budget, as well.
It was this rule that helped lead to balanced budgets in the 1990s, by making clear that we could not increase entitlement spending or cut taxes simply by borrowing more money. And it was the abandonment of this rule that allowed the previous administration and previous congresses to pass massive tax cuts for the wealthy and create an expensive new drug program without paying for any of it. Now in a perfect world, Congress would not have needed a law to act responsibly, to remember that every dollar spent would come from taxpayers today – or our children tomorrow.
But this isn’t a perfect world. This is Washington. And while in theory there is bipartisan agreement on moving on balanced budgets, in practice, this responsibility for the future is often overwhelmed by the politics of the moment. It falls prey to the pressure of special interests, to the pull of local concerns, and to a reality familiar to every single American – the fact that it is a lot easier to spend a dollar than save one.
That is why this rule is necessary. And that is why I am pleased that Congress fulfilled my request to restore it. Last night, I signed the “pay as you go” rule into law. Now, Congress will have to pay for what it spends, just like everybody else.
As the saying goes, that was then and this is now. Well, it’s not the now that Barack Obama was talking about, the now when Congress pays for its spending. That’s the now that was then. This is the now that is now when Democrats and their MSM lapdogs will just lie about a man guilty only of insisting they follow the law they bragged about passing.
UPDATE: Oh, and Bunning is not actually filibustering the bill either. You will probably some across a few journalist who are reporting otherwise. They are wrong.