Eleven months after adopting stringent new rules aimed at reining in the federal deficit, the Senate last night shrugged off its pledge of fiscal rectitude and overwhelmingly approved a measure to spare millions of families from the growing reach of the alternative minimum tax without providing an offsetting tax increase.
The Senate's 88 to 5 vote blew a $50 billion hole in the Democrats' promise not to pass any spending or tax measure that would add to the deficit. The outcome brought a furious response from conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats in the House, who assailed the Senate and vowed to block passage of any tax measure that would add a cent to the federal debt.
The one thing that never seems to be mentioned in these debates is where all the money for the supplemental requests for the wars is getting balanced out. When discussed in various roundtables, I always hear things along the lines of, "well, that money is counted differently." I see. I wonder if that means I can count my mortgage differently and just declare that my house is actually paid off, and the lender will need to find the money from other sources?
While the Democrats were the ones making the PayGo promises, the Republicans were described as being nearly "gleeful" at this expansion of our debt.
With paygo breached, Republicans were almost gleeful. "They had painted themselves into a corner," said Sen. John Thune (S.D.). "That's a huge concession on their part, completely repudiating one of their core principles."
How much more of this do we have to tolerate from our do-nothing, divided partisan Congress? They're so busy playing politics as a modern day blood sport that they seem to have given up any pretense of caring about doing their jobs for us. I understand that Republicans like to keep serving up tax cuts, so sparing people the hit of the AMT should be a feather in the cap of both parties. But why would you be doing an end zone celebration over running up the debt further? There is no reason except for giving you another needle to stick in the side of the other party, and deficits be damned.
I still don't understand who they think is going to pay for all of this, but I'm increasingly glad that we didn't have any children. For those of you who have reproduced, you may want to advise your kids to start keeping money in a coffee cans under their beds.