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Sunday: July 25, 2010

It’s Way Beyond “Terrible”, Peter

Filed under: — site admin @ 9:44 AM UTC

In Reason, Peter SudermanInstaPundit) writes that the Federal budget is “in terrible shape”, and none of the 212 comments (so far) notes that that’s like saying the Passenger Pigeon is “endangered”. There is no federal budget, because Congress hasn’t bothered to pass one, and has no plans to pass one. Shouldn’t newspapers and other media have running clocks labeled “It is XXX days past the deadline, and Congress still hasn’t passed a budget”?

I read somewhere a few weeks ago that New York state legislators hadn’t been paid since April (I think it was), since they hadn’t passed a state budget, but that they will be paid in full once they do. It seems to me that we need a similar law for federal legislators, but without the retroactive part. Why should we pay them if they can’t, or won’t, do their job?

I also wonder if it would be possible to adjust their pay for the size of the deficit. If they pass a budget (or don’t pass it) in which federal income is only covering 60% (or whatever) of federal outlays, why should Congressmen get more than 60% of their salaries? Of course, the problem is to avoid giving them incentives to destroy the economy with (e.g.) massive tax increases in order to safeguard their salaries. Perhaps their salaries should be inversely related to total outlays. Of course, the even larger problem would be convincing them to pass laws that would punish them for not doing their jobs. For that, an amendment to the Constitution might be needed. How humiliating would that be, to Congress and the nation as a whole?