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Here's what you won't hear from Obama


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Washington Examiner:

President Obama made his State of the Union address last year memorable. With Congress (the first branch of government) assembled before him, Obama (the second branch) rather rudely chided the justices (the third and least dangerous branch) for having "reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests" with their Citizens United decision. That elicited Justice Samuel Alito's quietly murmured "Not true" response. It also prompted legions of liberal fundraising drives that put millions of dollars in Democratic campaign treasuries in the ensuing months by creating the prospect of unlimited corporate money forever corrupting American politics.

But tossing politically useful barbs at Supreme Court justices during a nationally televised address is one thing. It's something else entirely for a sitting president to point a justly accusing finger at the Senate majority leader who will be seated nearby. This is especially the case when both men are Democrats and despite the fact that today marks the 1,000th day since the Senate Democratic majority he leads approved a federal budget.

The federal government still managed to pile nearly $4 trillion onto the national debt as the Senate dithered during those 1,000 days. The Senate forced the federal government to function piecemeal for three years through a series of haphazardly stitched-together omnibus bills and continuing resolutions. These bring together in one massive document trillions in spending and borrowing that can then be jammed through Congress with one convenient up-or-down vote, with only token debate and few if any amendments allowed. It's Washington's nice and tidy way of handing voters a take-it-or-leave-it approach to federal spending.

Growing numbers of Washington politicians apparently would rather not be bothered with doing budgets. After all, budgeting is hard work, especially if, as it is for American families, there is a hard ceiling on how much can be spent. It requires politicians to make tough decisions about which programs get more funding, which get less and which, if any, are shown the door. Doing that means compromise, which in turn often prevents promises to constituents from being fulfilled. And worst of all, it means politicians can then be held accountable for their decisions by voters, who may not return them to office.

When the Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress during Obama's first two years in office, the Senate and the House were equally guilty. After the Republicans regained the House, however, they passed a proposed 2012 federal budget last year, thanks to the leadership of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. The Senate promptly rejected it, but didn't bother during the rest of 2011 to do its own version.snip
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