Columns 2015

Senate Republicans waste their time and our money on useless budget

Despite getting every immunization known to man and recommended for people of a certain age, I came down with a nasty bug and spent most of last week rewriting my will and deciding that life was not worth living if it included feeling so awful. Then I woke up one day and decided that maybe I did want to live. That morning the world seemed sunny and bright. That feeling of euphoria lasted right up until I saw the paper and read that the Republican Senate had released its proposed federal budget. Part of the spending package they proposed included defunding the Affordable Care Act.

Look, I understand about being a bit annoyed when something happens that you don’t like or are opposed to. After all, I lived through the seventies. I also understand trying to change things when possible. But the definition of insanity is to continue to do the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. Based on that definition, the Republicans putting forward this budget are completely nuts. If you or I told our boss that the plan we were handing in for the new year contained the exact same objectionable line that sank it last year, our boss would want to know what she was paying us for and what we’d done with all our time. If nothing else had changed in the course of the year to make the outcome different, why were we wasting her time?

This is exactly what we should be saying to the Republicans in the Senate. Whether they approve or not, Barack Obama is still president and still has veto power. Whether they approve or not, they still do not have a veto override majority in the Senate. So whether or not they like it, Obama will veto any bill that comes to him with the intent of defunding his signature health care law and they will not be able to override that veto – which means the whole bloody mess will have been in vain. We will be back at square one with nothing to show for it except some video clips for Republicans to use when running for re-election to prove to their Tea Party brethren they tried.

As their titular bosses, we should be outraged at this waste of taxpayers’ time and money on a useless exercise they knew way in advance would go nowhere. Aside from making brownie points with their ultra conservative base, they have done nothing productive towards creating a sustainable budget that keeps our economy growing while reducing the national debt.

And please, I an not an idiot. Balancing the budget based on revenues expected to be received through the very law they are trying to kill is the kind of math I used to do in 3rd grade when I still didn’t understand how math worked. Or did you miss that line in the budget? Yep, in one section of the document they defund the Affordable Care Act while a few pages later, they use the projected revenue from that law to balance their budget. They are also trying to end run budget constraints on the military by dumping money in a separate account for war that won’t raise the legally mandated ceiling on military spending. Sister Gaetano would keep them all after school for a basic math refresher course plus a few words about ethics and their place in our modern system of government.

Maybe I simply have less patience than I did a week ago. Maybe being sick has warped my normally sunny disposition. But I am sick and tired of the posturing in front of the cameras that passes for governing in today’s DC. It doesn’t matter if something makes sense or is critical to our future. If we can play it for the crowds back home so that it helps us get re-elected, than nothing else matters.

Republicans spend a lot of time demonizing government employees as lazy workers sucking off the tit of government while waiting to retire with some very sweet benefits after a career of nothingness. Sounds to me like the perfect definition of a group of senators who propose useless legislation that is nothing more than a big waste of time. I guess the reason Republicans are so good at their definition of government employees is because the definition is so familiar to them. They are defining themselves.