1,000 Days of Spending Without a Budget
April 29, 2009. That is the last time the United States Senate passed a budget. It has been 1,000 days – or nearly three years – since the U.S. Senate has performed their most basic duty as the Board of Directors for the United States. For three years running, the nation's expenditures have been made without even the barest of plans, and without even the elementary framework that exists in a responsible family budget.
This abdication of duty would be cause for concern – not to mention firing – even if times were good and resources plentiful. After all, we have a Biblical mandate to be good stewards of that which is entrusted to us, and more is required from those to whom much is given. But the truth is that this is happening in lean fiscal times. It is happening at a time when Americans are struggling to find work and losing our homes in record numbers. It is happening when we should be spending only on those things that are truly necessary.
So, in light of the fact that the Senate has for 1,000 days decided to just ignore its budgetary duties, it falls to the rest of us to take a look at where our taxpayer dollars are being spent. This conversation cannot be honestly broached without first acknowledging that entitlement spending for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security must be reformed if we are to ever fully solve the problem. And of course, the newest entitlement of Obamacare is just adding to this dire situation.
However, on the discretionary side of the ledger, there are literally billions of dollars of sheer waste that continue to be shouldered by American taxpayers while the Senate does, well…nothing.
Let's start with this half a billion dollar item: the abortion mill that is Planned Parenthood. It is entirely possible that you disagree with me that the 329,445 abortions performed by Planned Parenthood in fiscal year 2010 represent 329,445 distinct and unique lives given by a loving Creator. But, in a country where, in accordance with the wishes of the majority of its citizens, it has long been against the law to spend taxpayer dollars on abortion, you would think that Planned Parenthood would be one of the last places we'd spend $487.4 million that we don't have. And yet, that is exactly what we are doing. We are borrowing roughly half a billion dollars from places like China to keep Planned Parenthood from having to fund abortions on its own.
But lest you think this is only about spending that I personally find to be repulsive, I challenge you to read Sen. Tom Coburn's 2011 Wastebook, which lists $6.5 billion of needless spending in the last year alone. Among other things, U.S. taxpayers spent $10 million to remake Sesame Street for Pakistan, $550,000 on a documentary of the role that rock music played in the fall of the Soviet Union, and $765,828 to help build an International House of Pancakes (IHOP) in Washington, D.C.
Yes, you read that correctly – while you or someone you knew couldn't make ends meet, your tax dollars were spent on a Pakistan version of Sesame Street and an IHOP for D.C. residents. Meanwhile, the fierce defenders of the federal purse strings in the U.S. Senate did, well (and again)…nothing.
It is time for this madness to end. It is time for all of us to demand more out of our elected officials than words of shock about out-of-control spending. It is time for Congress to do what every responsible family does and count the cost before they spend our money. And it starts by the Senate passing a budget for the first time in 1,000 days. There will always be disagreements about what makes the cut, but if we don't have it, we have to stop spending it.