What if the Congressional Budget were handled more like the Thunderdrome?

I was taking a brief look at President Obama’s proposed budget.  I haven’t dived into the details yet, I was more interested in the big numbers.  You know- How much do you want?  How much do we have?  If you subtract A from B is the remainder a negative number?  Those are the fundamentals of any budget, everything else is only a consideration before or afterwards.  I use those three basic questions as sort of an if/then statement to determine my next line of questioning.

You see, my view of Congress and their treatment of the Nation’s money is something like this.

Some of us might look at them a bit suspiciously when they step up to us like that, with their hands out and their eyes imploring, as Oliver Twist begging for scraps… While Fagin prepares to rob us blind. It is a wonderful pageantry in which members of two branches of government all get to show off for the crowd.  Outrage, disdain, tears and more are on display as they wrangle their way through the budget.  Truly I say, daytime television does not rise to the levels of drama that the annual budget battle does… And yet, there is that smile at the end.  The self-satisfied smile of a very well fed crocodile.  And almost all of them will be wearing it.

Which leads me back to my if/then statement.  If the remainder is not a negative number then I move on to the meat of the budget.  What does it do?  Who does it provide for?  What will we accomplish with this?

But if it is negative?  Well then, if it is negative, then there is really only one question.  Are you willing to die for this budget?  Two line items enter, only one leaves.  That’s the Budget Thunderdome way.


You see, our country needs to have a balanced budget, one in which we do not increase our debt.  Both sides of Congress love to tout that they have “decreased the deficit in this year’s spending”, as if that is a very positive thing, worthy of great praise and an ever increasing paycheck.  It isn’t.  If I were to come to you as your emergency doctor and tell you, “Congratulations, we have managed to repair the leak in your body!  You’re now only bleeding from two major arteries!”  Of course, I’d be smiling and happy and looking so very self-congratulatory.  You, naturally, would be dead a moment later, but at least I managed to give you another 15 seconds…Would you be happy with my performance?

So sanction for a battle royale is necessary, often referred to as a Balanced Budget Amendment.  In my proposed Amendment, however, our Congress & Executive Critters would have a bit more skin in the game- a chance to fight for what they believe in, if you will.  It’s true that early in the life of the Amendment, the new process might favor some of them younger types.  Youth has its advantages, but as attitudes change and strategies are brought to bear, I believe experience will begin to win out a bit more often.  Admittedly, I have a tough time visualizing Ted Kennedy or Strom Thurmond succeeding much inside the dome, but sometimes you have to break a few eggs and all that.  The end result of this, of course, is a balanced budget  in which those who are willing to fight for their concessions, will get them- at the sacrifice of those who do not, or cannot.  It’s brutal.  It is not fair.  It’s like nap time in Kindergarten- hated and reviled, but ultimately necessary and effective.

Now, I’d like put twenty on Rand Paul vs Chuck Schumer – I think he’ll mix it up on the inside.

By Dan Granot

I chose the Shorter Whitman because of his work, "Song of Myself" and because of my self-deprecating sense of humor. I am under no illusion that I can write successful essays or poetry, but I have been known to write them anyway.


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