That’s almost three years without a budget…and in that time, they’ve already exceeded what George W. Bush took eight years to spend.
Tuesday, January 24, will mark the 1,000th day since the U.S. Senate has passed a budgetâ€”an egregiousÂ derelictionÂ of duty onÂ Senate Majority Leader Harry Reidâ€™s (Dâ€“NV) watch.Â By enacting continuing resolution upon continuing resolution (short-term measures to keep the government running, spending money at the current rate), the Senate has taken a pass on leading, all to the detriment of the poor and middle class.
The budget process forces Congress to set priorities to protect the peopleâ€™s money and put it to its appropriate use. Instead, the Democrat-controlled Senate has abdicated its responsibility. The result? The deficit is soaring, causing a looming tax burden and injecting uncertainty into the economy, leaving jobs and economic growth on the table. Itâ€™s no wonder the U.S. economyâ€™s growth is so tepid.
As the 1,000th day nears, here are some facts about Americaâ€™s budget and why the Senate must take action to be stewards of the peopleâ€™s money as the Constitution requires:
- The last time the Senate passed a budget was on April 29, 2009.
- Since that date, the federal government has spent $9.4 trillion, adding $4.1 trillion in debt.
- As of January 20, the outstanding public debt stands at $15,240,174,635,409.
- Interest payments on the debt are now more than $200 billion per year.
- President Obama proposed a FY2012 budget last year, and the Senate voted it down 97â€“0. (And that budget was no prizeâ€”according to the Congressional Budget Office, that proposal never had an annual deficit of less than $748 billion, would double the national debt in 10 years and would see annual interest payments approach $1 trillion per year.)
- The Senate rejected House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryanâ€™s (Râ€“WI) budget by 57â€“40 in May 2011, with no Democrats voting for it.
- In FY2011, Washington spent $3.6 trillion. Compare that to the last time the budget was balanced in 2001, when Washington spent $1.8 trillion ($2.1 trillion when you adjust for inflation).
- Entitlement spending will more than double by 2050. That includes spending on Medicare, Medicaid and the Obamacare subsidy program, and Social Security. Total spending on federal health care programs will triple.
- By 2050, the national debt is set to hitÂ 344 percent of Gross Domestic Product.
- Taxes paid per household have risen dramatically,Â hitting $18,400 in 2010Â (compared with $11,295 in 1965).Â If the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire and more middle-class Americans are required to pay the alternative minimum tax (AMT), taxes will reach unprecedented levels.
- Federal spending per household is skyrocketing.Â Since 1965, spending per household has grown by nearly 162 percent, from $11,431 in 1965 to $29,401 in 2010. From 2010 to 2021, it is projected to rise to $35,773, a 22 percent increase.
Despite all of these blatant red flags, the Senate has utterly failed to execute the most basic, fundamental function of governance at the worst possible timeâ€”when the countryâ€™s fiscal house is in disarray, the U.S. credit rating is in continualÂ jeopardy, entitlement spending is ballooning, defense spending is on the chopping block, and the economy isÂ in shambles.
One thousand days without a budget is anÂ embarrassingÂ number, but the level of spending, deficits, and taxation that results from the Senateâ€™s failure to exact even a modicum of fiscal discipline is terrifying. Senator Reid has said it would be â€œfoolishâ€ to pass a budget, but failing to pass it is proving to be beyond irresponsible. The middle class will be left holding the bag, paying for the Senateâ€™s reckless negligence with soaring deficits, higher taxes, and a weak economy as far as the eye can see.