As the world was watching the first competitions of the Olympic Games, American lawmakers were feverishly trying to prevent another government shutdown.
As I went to bed last night, NBC News reported that Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) initiated an eleventh hour procedural move to block passage of the budget before the midnight deadline. I fully expected to wake up today to find the country amidst a shutdown.
According to Reuters a pre-dawn vote on Friday saw the approval of a massive spending increase, ending the 5.5 hour government shutdown. The country literally closed and reopened while most of us slept. Thanks to a rare compromise, in which Democrats sacrificed help for "Dreamers" and the White House sacrificed funding for a border wall, the bill increased funding for veterans, the military, disaster aid, and fighting opioid addiction.
I could write about major line items or the fact that Trump has vowed not to make a deal on DACA unless the agreement includes $25 billion in funding for a border wall with Mexico. How it went from $1.6 billion to $25 billion I have no idea, but let's not focus on that.
I'd rather address the motives behind Senator Paul's maneuver. Paul used the opportunity to point out the fiscal hypocrisy of his fellow Republicans. "The hypocrisy is astounding. Every one of these Republicans complained about President Obama's deficits," Paul said, angered by his party's willingness to accept a $300 billion budget, on top recent tax cuts, increasing our country's deficit to $1.5 trillion.
I typically see Senator Paul as an enemy who wants to cut services for vulnerable parts of society. I can't do that this time. This time he's right. "The Donald," and other Republicans don't seem to be able to grasp the fact that the nation can't take less money in and increase spending at the same time.
The President takes pride in his reputation as THE BUSINESSMAN. Yet, in addition to a $25 billion border wall, he wants to allocate millions of dollars for a Russian-esc military parade to run down Pennsylvania Avenue. I don't care what genius is in charge, no business could possibly survive by spending more money than it makes. That's called, "Running in the red." It's what necessitates chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Senator Paul and I could stand nose to nose and never see eye to eye on a great many issues. Yet on this we agree, if fiscal responsibility isn't made a priority our country's in trouble.