The possibility of a government shutdown has Washington and the left-wing mainstream media in high dudgeon. Maybe they are hoping for a repeat of 1995, when President Clinton refused to sign a budget, shut down the government and got away with it by blaming it all on the GOP.
But who's to blame for this mess now? Last year, Democrats controlled both houses of Congress plus the presidency. By law, they were required to pass a budget. They didn't. Why?
Were they afraid of being punished by the voters? Did they think that even if they lost in the midterm elections, they could rely on the Republicans to do their dirty work for them?
The president now talks about "meeting responsibilities" to produce a budget. But he had a chance to do just that earlier this year. Instead, he put out a 10-year plan that did nothing about entitlements, boosted federal spending by 58% and added a devastating $10 trillion to our national debt.
Absent immediate corrective action, our country's economic future is imperiled. By the Social Security and Medicare trustees' own estimates, we are running headlong into a fiscal tsunami. The government's entitlement accountants say we have roughly $107 trillion in unfunded liabilities.
That equals $341,000 for every American alive today!
Just to pay for Social Security and Medicare would require a near tripling of the current tax rate of 15.3% by the middle of the century. Americans would be slowly bankrupted by such policies—and so would the government.
Today's Democrats seem to have chosen to ignore it. House Budget Committee chief Paul Ryan proposes $4 trillion in cuts. Extreme? Even if he cut $6 trillion, our national debt would still rise.
Faced with $10 trillion in deficits, $4 trillion is just a modest start. Now we'll see who the real extremists are.
Because Republicans are actually stepping in to stop this fiscal folly, Democrats are blaming them for the possibility that the government may shut down.
If Democrats won't take their responsibilities seriously, let it shut down. And if it does, Americans should blame them — the same ones who ludicrously call the GOP's proposed $40 billion in 2011 budget cuts -- a mere 1.1 percent of spending -- "devastating."
Just don't blame the Republicans who are finally trying to clean up this mess long term.
Benedict Frederick Jr., Pasadena