By Mark David Blum, Esq.
I call upon President Obama to veto his own proposed budget bill. The reasons therefor are simple: The time has come to send a message to Congress to stop the pork barrel spending projects that are routinely made part of spending bills.
America is facing serious financial distress and every dollar counts. It is bad enough that our federal government has grown into such a behemoth that it takes trillions of dollars just to operate on a day to day basis. My hair grayed up like the President’s when he recently muscled through Congress a so-called stimulus package worth nearly a trillion dollars. Our national debt is already more than 11 trillion dollars.
Someone has to take responsibility to send a message to Congress that Americans can no longer afford to keep printing money so individual legislators can get re-elected. House Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer is quoted as saying that, “members of Congress have a responsibility to provide funding for their districts.” With due respect to the Congressman, members of Congress do not have a responsibility to bring funding to their districts. The opposite is true; that members of Congress have a responsibility to all Americans to manage the government effectively. Primary among their responsibilities is to recognize that the United States is not in a position to fund 8,500 pork projects for member districts.
Congress and the Senate have done the nation a great disservice by affixing tens of billions of dollars on specialized projects onto the budget. From swine smells to a bridge to nowhere in the Everglades, the cost of doing business for the federal government is continuing to grow to astronomical heights. It is one thing to fund what the President deems necessary to manage the federal government. It is a whole nuther thing to tack onto the budget member items to fund localized projects.
If memory serves, the stimulus package that was passed already was tailored to meet the needs of an economy in distress. There were funded items running the gambit from major bailouts to financing hundreds of local projects. To add onto those projects with more pork in the proposed budget is an insult and attack on America’s best interests.
President Obama came into office on a promise of deep and significant change in the way that business is done in Washington. He promised us he would change the culture and gave us hope that he could bring our financial house into order.
I was deeply frightened when I saw his proposed stimulus package because I have serious doubts about the ability of the nation to absorb the debt and someday pay it off without breaking the back of taxpayers. I trusted the President to have the foresight to budget appropriately and to bring the government in line. The primary means by which we are ever going to reduce the deficit and end the debt is by cutting spending and reducing our tax burden.
But Congress (both the House and the Senate) have ignored the nation’s hopes of ending the financial crisis. Instead of acting in the best interests of the United States, individual members of the House and Senate have tacked onto the budget thousands of pet spending projects. Instead of reducing spending, legislators are proposing that spending be increased by tens of billions of dollars. Though the President gave us an honest budget that includes the cost of war (something not done by his predecessor who used supplemental spending bills so as to make the budget appear smaller), his proposal has been muddied by the pork barrel spending projects of nearly all legislators.
The only real way to send a message to Congress to take the mantel of responsibility and behave in the best interests of the nation is for President Obama to veto the budget bill. Let the government shut down until such a time as Congress can pass a budget bill that addresses only the federal budget and ignores the special interests of legislator’s special interests. We Americans are entitled to a budget that only addresses the issues of federal spending. Let Congress face the voters of their districts by introducing separate spending bills with all their pet projects attached. In doing so, we can better gauge and send a message as to what kind of government we look for in our elected representatives.
I want to see the President veto his own budget. In a move unprecedented in history, I cannot thing of a louder clearer message to be sent to the nation that our current President is not going to do business as usual. If the promise of change is real, then let change begin right now. Change the way budgeting is legislated and end the pork barrel projects that have so heavily contributed to our backbreaking national debt.
Americans can simply no longer tolerate the out of control spending that comes out of Congress. Legislators have a great responsibility to the nation even to the exclusion of their home districts. It is simply intolerable and a sin in today’s economic climate for legislators to be able to direct tens of billions of dollars away from the national treasury and into the pockets of local special interests.
President Obama, veto that Bill. Bring us change we have hoped for and send a loud and clear message that business as usual is no longer tolerated. There is no other option.