The most important aspect of the House budget is that it exists at all. Budgets, as the saying goes, are policy. And policy choices are statements of the values of our nation. The Democratic leadership in the Senate has not provided a budget in three years. What values does that reflect?
The president has run deficits of over $1 trillion dollars for four straight years, has presided over the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression, was handed a stinging rebuke by voters in November 2010, and yet continues to issue budgets festooned with anti-growth tax hikes, bloated spending, and ever-increasing debt. They are devoid of the tax and entitlement reforms that his own fiscal-reform commission identified as central to addressing a national “moment of truth.” What values does that reflect?
It does all of those things even though last year’s House budget also did those things — and ran into a hailstorm of presidentially led demagoguery. What kind of values does that reflect?
Much of the discussion surrounding the budget will focus on numbers — debts, deficits, revenues, and so forth. And some will focus on the mechanics of the budget policy — reconciliation instructions, premium support, territorial tax systems, and the like.
It should be the legislative agenda for 2012. I hope it is the agenda for 2013.