Campaigning -- not governing
By ERNEST F. HOLLINGS, former U. S. senator
2009 -- I thought I was through for the year [See "Nothing
gets done"], but the President's idea of a commission to
study the budget problem is what's wrong with Washington.
I saw this
nonsense develop. When I came to the Senate in 1966, we had year-to-year
budgets. But the Appropriations Committee was broken down into thirteen
functions and the one function didn't know what the other twelve were
doing. When we summed up at the end of the year, we had a budget that
exceeded everyone's spending limits. So we instituted the Budget Committee
to get an allocation for each particular function at the beginning of
the year, and important programs were not ruined by cuts across the board
in the old procedure. As we instituted the budget process, the economists
taught us that a three-year budget was more realistic. But three years
became five years, and five years became ten years, and ten years now
is about to become a study commission.
Lugar was Mayor of Indianapolis, he had to submit a budget each year that
would pay the bill. If he had submitted a five or ten year budget, Wall
Street would have downgraded his credit rating. The same with Mark Warner
as Governor of Virginia. Every mayor, every governor, in America next
year will submit budgets that will be paid for in a year. And the President
and Congress ought to approach the problem like a mayor or a governor.
Even a three year budget that would pay the bill would be salutary. But
this nonsense of campaigning by appointing a commission instead of governing
has got to stop. We elected President Obama not to referee, but to play.
Not to campaign, but to govern. Tell him as President to submit his budget
that will pay the bill.
Senator Hollings of South Carolina served 38 years in the United States Senate, and for many years was Chairman of the Commerce, Space, Science & Transportation Committee. He is the author of the recently published book, Making Government Work (University of South Carolina Press, 2008).
© 2009, Ernest F. Hollings. All rights reserved. Contact us for republication permission.
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