The State of the Union & Mardi Gras

OK, this is rather belated, but still. . . .The quite liberal Dana Milbank takes the prize for best comments on the State of the Union Address:

There is something entirely appropriate about holding the State of the Union address on the same day as Mardi Gras.

One is a display of wretched excess, when giddy and rowdy participants give in to reckless and irresponsible behavior.

The other is a street festival in New Orleans.

There is, thankfully, less nudity in the House chamber for the president’s annual address, and (slightly) less inebriation. But what occurs beneath the Capitol Dome is as debauched as anything on Bourbon Street. . . .

But this spectacle, unlike the one in Louisiana, is not all harmless fun. Obama made clear that he is not entertaining serious spending cuts or major entitlement reforms. Republicans, in their responses, repeated that they are not budging on taxes. The hard choices will have to wait for another day.

The standoff gives new meaning to Fat Tuesday: The nation’s finances are a mess, but — what the heck? — let’s have another round.. . .

Washington’s version of Mardi Gras had begun early in the day, at the Capitol South Metro station, where members of a nonpartisan balanced-budget group, Bankrupting America, offered beads to passersby willing to “show us your cuts.”

By that standard, few necklaces would be distributed. Democrats and Republicans alike would sooner bare their private parts than come clean about what government programs they would cut. Even Ryan, who is drafting a budget that could slash domestic discretionary spending by 40 percent over a decade, doesn’t like to be specific. And House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi says, “It is almost a false argument to say we have a spending problem.”

Pelosi’s formulation is just as reckless as the Republicans’ mantra: “We don’t have a revenue problem; we have a spending problem.”

In reality, we eventually need both spending cuts and tax increases — and lots of them. But sacrifice will have to wait. In Washington, they’re still partying like there’s no tomorrow.

via Dana Milbank: State of the Union and Mardi Gras — what a coincidence – The Washington Post.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!


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  • tODD

    And everyone agrees that Congress is terrible, and yet everyone is highly likely to re-elect their own Congressman. So whose fault is this, really?

  • SKPeterson

    I blame the other guy.

  • Pete

    tODD’s right – in America, l’etat c’est moi. If “moi” am in the majority. I blame the majority.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Milbank is correct inasmuch as we need increased revenue and spending cuts. The increased revenue does mean tax increases – but it means tax increases on the middle class as well as the “1%”.

    But in my lifetime (and I am not that old, only 45) we have had top marginal tax rates as high as 70% and as low as 28%. We have cut and raised taxes many times. But what we have not done is cut spending. In fact, spending has done nothing but go up. I don’t think that the dreaded “Tea Partiers” are against (at least in the long run) eventually increasing taxes in some ways, no matter what Grover Norquist says. But until Congress and the President show any inclination to moderate spending at least slightly (the Ryan plan, for example, increased spending on average ~3.5% per year as opposed to Obama’s plan which increased it nearly 5% per year) then I don’t think it is unreasonable for the American electorate to tell them “no more”.

    I am afraid, however, that the American electorate is as deluded as the people they send to represent them.

  • DonS

    I believe the last REAL federal spending cut (not merely a decrease in planned spending increases, as this so-called sequestration actually is) was in 1937.

    We’ve had many REAL tax increases. Never a REAL spending cut. Let’s try that.