Newsflash, folks. We’re already over the so-called “Fiscal Cliff”.
As of today it’s been 1,311 days since the Senate has passed a budget.
Let’s take a quick refresher course on Government 101. The House originates the budget bills. Once they pass the House, they go on to the Senate. Once passed there, it goes to the President’s desk for signing.
The House has passed budgets, only to see them die in the Senate (Majority leader Harry Reid won’t even bring them to a vote). And twice the President has himself proposed budgets, only to see them get smacked down like they were on WWE RAW, gaining a 97-0 vote against in the Senate, and 414-0 vote against in the House.
Just yesterday the President sent over Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to outline the administration’s plan for averting the fiscal cliff. The plan caused the Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell to “burst into laughter.” Looking at it, I can’t imagine any other reaction:
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner presented the House speaker, John A. Boehner, a detailed proposal on Thursday to avert the year-end fiscal crisis with $1.6 trillion in tax increases over 10 years, $50 billion in immediate stimulus spending, home mortgage refinancing and a permanent end to Congressional control over statutory borrowing limits.
So where are the cuts? Over on FreedomBunker we’re given a short list of questionable budget items:
- $3 million dollars spent to study the flow rate of ketchup? (I still don’t know what it is by the way)
- $5 million to create a geothermal energy system for the Oak Ridge City Center shopping mall in Oak Ridge, Tenn. From TheHill.com, “The main problem, says Republicans, is the fact the mall has been losing tenants for years and is mostly empty.”
- $9.38 million to renovate a century-old train depot in Lancaster County, Pa., that has not been used for three decades. (It can be reopened and connect with the one in Carson City, Nevada. You’ll get it in a moment)
- $100,000 for socially conscious puppet shows in Minnesota (Puppets who are not socially conscious are such a pain in the …)
- $2 million to build a replica railroad tourist attraction in Carson City, Nevada (Why not just build a real one that goes there?)
- $462,000 to purchase 22 concrete toilets for use in the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri (Jeez I hope the TP is soft)
- $3.1 million to transform a canal barge into a floating museum that will travel the Erie Canal in New York
- $3.4 million to create an underground turtle tunnel, or eco-passage, in Lake Jackson, Florida. (Damned turtles if they would just stay on the other side of the highway like we told them too)
- $1 million to study the health effects of environmentally friendly public housing on 300 people in Chicago. (Better plan. Let them spilt the money and get the hell out of public housing.)
- $983,952 for street beautification in Ann Arbor, Mich., including decorative lighting, trees, benches and bike paths
- $1 million for Portland, Ore., to replace 100 aging bike lockers and build a garage that would house 250 bicycles. (No cheaper way to store a bike?)
- $700,000 to Oregon crab fishermen to help recover lost crab post. (No Comment)
- $1.5 billion for a Carbon Capturing Contest (Because carbon must be stopped.)
- $300,000 for a GPS-equipped helicopter to hunt for radioactive rabbit droppings at the Hanford nuclear reservation in Washington state. (Darned pesky wadioactive wabbits)
- SUNY Buffalo received $390,000 to study young adults who drink malt liquor and smoke marijuana. (Wow! I’m in the wrong college)
- Washington State University got $148,438 to analyze the use of marijuana in conjunction with medications like morphine. (Explains a lot of GPAs at WSU. Also another college I should have considered)
- In rural Wisconsin, 37 little-used bridges are receiving $15.8 million in stimulus funds. According to the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, “The 37 bridges average 568 vehicles a day.” Some of these bridges see less than ten cars a day.
- Montana received $2.2 million to install skylights in their state-run liquor warehouse. (guess if the power goes out at least you can still find the whiskey)
- $800,000 given to John Murtha Airport to repave a back runway. This airport services a whopping 20 passengers a day and has, over the past decade, already received millions in federal funds. Representative John Murtha treats this as his private airport and has spared no expense.
- $1 million was given to a Chicago dinner cruise company to “combat terrorism” (lot of terrorists taking dinner cruises in Chicago? Well maybe Rahm and other political types but that’s a different kind of terrorism.)
- The Coast Guard gets $572 million to create 1,235 new jobs. This comes to $460,000 per job. (I wanna work for the Coast Guard)
- $30 million for a spring training baseball complex for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies and $11 million for Microsoft to build a bridge connecting its two headquarter campuses in Redmond, Wash., which are separated by a highway. (I didn’t know Microsoft was in such bad fiscal shape they needed government money to build anything? That explains the price of Windows 8 being so high.)
- $1.15 million to install a guardrail for a persistently dry lake bed in Guymon, Okla.
- $2.5 million in stimulus checks sent to the deceased. (They ferry across the Styx is getting THAT expensive?)
- $6 million for a snow-making facility in Duluth, Minn. (Think hard on this one, it’ll come to you)
Oh, and did you notice the line “a permanent end to Congressional control over statutory borrowing limits”? Congress will no longer be able to limit the amount of debt we can take on. What a wonderful plan!
And remember when Obama promised during a debate with Mitt Romney to expect $3-$4 of cuts for every $1 of taxes? Well, as it turns out the inverse is true, we’ll see $1 of spending cuts to $4 of tax increases.
It appears plain to me that we’re already over the cliff. We’re past the point of no return. Once the wheels are over the edge, shifting it in reverse will do nothing for you.
We’ve gone forward alright, as Obama’s famous campaign slogan promised. Right off the edge.
Rome will soon be burning. But that might not necessarily be a bad thing. Maybe this is the only way we can bring about real change.
Well, a guy can dream, can’t he?
What is your take on the “fiscal cliff” madness?