Happy end of the fiscal year!
Happy end of the fiscal year! And while this “holiday” isn’t nearly as exciting – except maybe for accountants – as the real New Years, there are a few things to note.
Most notably, the days leading up to the end of the fiscal year brought (yet again) the threat of a government shutdown. Coming to the rescue, lawmakers put aside their differences and came to an admirable agreement to fund the government…for four more days. That’s right 96 hours. And while, in the meantime, Congress is expected to approve a longer funding measure, that one only goes through November 18th. Who put these guys in charge of budgeting?
But unfortunately, Congress’s budgeting ineptitude is hardly contained to this year. A new study by No Labels reveals this unfortunate trend:
…Congress has failed to carry out its most fundamental duty in the Constitution — funding the government in a timely manner — for all but two of the past 25 years.
Congress must pass 12-13 appropriations bills by Sept. 30 in order to pass the budget in a timely manner. No Congress has completed its work on time since President Clinton’s first term — and 1995 and 1997 are the only fiscal years since 1986 that Congress passed all its bills by the deadline.
“Congress is batting .080 on discharging its sole annual duty under the U.S. Constitution in a timely manner,” No Labels Co-Founder David Walker said in a statement. “Players with averages like that don’t last in the majors for long.”
And beyond their inability to responsibly budget for the coming year, Congress also continues to spend the country deep into debt. The Congressional Budget Office projects the FY2011 budget deficit will amount to $1.3 trillion, the third largest shortfall in the last 65 years. And while the government continues to spend at record levels, our economy is experiencing anemic growth levels.
So while today marks the end of the year, it’s hardly a call for celebration. Rather it should serve as a marker for lawmakers to get a new start – to learn from their past mistakes and begin to budget and spend responsibly and allow a recovery to take hold.