On or after the first Monday in January but not later than the first Monday in February of each year, the President shall submit a budget of the United States Government for the following fiscal year. Each budget shall include a budget message and summary and supporting information.
This has been around since 1921 so it is nothing new. Those with a modicum of understanding of the United States’ federal government knows this. A graduate of the Harvard Law School should clearly know this. They’ve delivered budgets before. Many of them were delivered late. Some flopped and thudded as they reached the floor of Congress. So why hasn’t the White House submitted one even a full month after its due date? Well, the official line is that the staffers are working on getting it right and are struggling with details. But the real question should be why is this the case? They knew it was a requirement with a specified due date. They have plenty of examples to use as historical reference. The federal spending problem has been front and center since before the election. There are a myriad of reasons why this shouldn’t be an issue and not one solid reason why it isn’t.
So we’re left with theorizing why the President and his staff are conducting the business of government as such. Ed Rodgers on the February 5th Opinion pages of the WaPo noted the following:
For all his talk about wanting to be serious and elevate the debate, Obama can’t bring himself to be honest and specific about how he wants to spend the taxes he has been so eager to raise. The fact that Obama won’t submit a budget is further proof that he wants to raise taxes as an end unto itself, not necessarily to fund anything in particular.
So maybe it does come down to an arrogance about the process. In which case, the response is that he should work through the proper channels to change the law. Maybe it comes down to the fact that it’s really hard. Well, much like those of us in the private sector do, tackle the hard work early and rely on your experts to get it done. There have been times when, as a federal IT contractor, I would have loved to blow right past a government mandated deadline. But that would have consequences. The question here is what consequences does the President face for not submitting a budget per the law? Maybe it comes down to incompetence: the staff at the White House just can’t get the job done because they don’t know how to do it. That would be telling and damaging. But at a minimum, reach out and get help. It is not a sign of weakness to do so. Well, maybe in politics, but we’re at that point.
Honestly, at this point, I could care less what the President’s budget looks like. I think the GOP members in the House and Senate Budget Committees should push to kick off their process now. Create the budget resolutions and get them to the floors of each chamber. If the President submits a budget, politely respond, “Sorry, Mr. President, you missed your deadline and we moved on. You’ll have to see where your priorities fit in our budget.” Finally, I would, on a daily basis, take Sen. Reid to task until a budget resolution is brought to the Senate floor (because the House hasn’t had this problem) and voted upon.
One might ask why GorT makes such a big deal about this. First, let me borrow some more from Ed Rodgers’ piece:
1. “…offering a budget would reveal things that they don’t want revealed” – this administration is all about transparency. The American public should see what President Obama’s priorities are. And without a budget from him, they should see what our Congress’ priorities are. It is through this that one can evaluate our elected leaders and decide whether they merit re-election. “A budget creates winners and losers and even Obama can’t say yes to everyone.”
2. Budgets allow people, companies, and organizations to plan and plans create stability. Stability allows for growth which is what need right now.
GorT will continue to pound this issue. Hopefully, the media outlets will start asking these questions also. But appearances are telling so I am reminded of a scene from Bull Durham (please note: I am not a fan of any of the three leading stars: Costner, Sarandon, or Tim Robbins):
Skip: You guys. You lollygag the ball around the infield. You lollygag your way down to first. You lollygag in and out of the dugout. You know what that makes you? Larry!
GorT is an eight-foot-tall robot from the 51ˢᵗ Century who routinely time-travels to steal expensive technology from the future and return it to the past for retroinvention. The profits from this pay all the Gormogons’ bills, including subsidizing this website. Some of the products he has introduced from the future include oven mitts, the Guinness widget, Oxy-Clean, and Dr. Pepper. Due to his immense cybernetic brain, GorT is able to produce a post in 0.023 seconds and research it in even less time. Only ’Puter spends less time on research. GorT speaks entirely in zeros and ones, but occasionally throws in a ڭ to annoy the Volgi. He is a massive proponent of science, technology, and energy development, and enjoys nothing more than taking the Czar’s more interesting scientific theories, going into the past, publishing them as his own, and then returning to take credit for them. He is the only Gormogon who is capable of doing math. Possessed of incredible strength, he understands the awesome responsibility that follows and only uses it to hurt people.