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Budgets in the US Political System are Flawed

Carjosse

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I think it is pretty obvious how the US political system handles budgets is broken as evidenced by the constant government shutdowns and the fact that the US can lack a spending plan for even one year due to political squabbling.

Other countries don't have these problems. In the Westminster system budgets are a vote of non-confidence, if the budget fails a majority vote the legislature is dissolved and new elections are held as the government has lost the confidence of the legislature and therefore the people, eventually bringing an end to the squabbling as the election essentially becomes a referendum. But while that happens the previous budget still applies until a new government can eventually pass one, other systems do the same.

How would you fix the current handling of budgets? Should the last real budget passed continue to apply till a new one should be passed? Should Congress be dissolved if no budget is passed?
 

Harshaw

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I think it is pretty obvious how the US political system handles budgets is broken as evidenced by the constant government shutdowns and the fact that the US can lack a spending plan for even one year due to political squabbling.

There has never been a "lack of a spending plan" for anything close to a year, or even more than a few weeks, ever.

Fixing the problems with passing budgets these days is a matter of fixing the people who are tasked with doing it. Which is also a matter of fixing the people who elect said people.

None of whom, by the way, think they need fixing.
 

Carjosse

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There has never been a "lack of a spending plan" for anything close to a year, or even more than a few weeks, ever.

Fixing the problems with passing budgets these days is a matter of fixing the people who are tasked with doing it. Which is also a matter of fixing the people who elect said people.

None of whom, by the way, think they need fixing.

I don't call a bunch of stopgaps a spending plan. From what I have read that seems to be how the US survives, not an all encompassing 2019-2020 fiscal budget.

It works for Canada, this is quite possibly the most famous and consequential failure of a budget vote that happened here:

It covers the budget vote and the resulting election, which turned a PC minority government into a pretty big Liberal majority.
 

Harshaw

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I don't call a bunch of stopgaps a spending plan. From what I have read that seems to be how the US survives, not an all encompassing 2019-2020 fiscal budget.

Spending by continuing resolution isn't ideal, and full budgets should be passed every year; it's ridiculous that they're not. But it's also not a lack of a plan. Nothing gets spent without Congressional authorization, so if there were no spending plan, there would be no spending at all.

But as I said, the problem lies not with the system, but with the people.
 

Bullseye

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I think it is pretty obvious how the US political system handles budgets is broken as evidenced by the constant government shutdowns and the fact that the US can lack a spending plan for even one year due to political squabbling.

Other countries don't have these problems. In the Westminster system budgets are a vote of non-confidence, if the budget fails a majority vote the legislature is dissolved and new elections are held as the government has lost the confidence of the legislature and therefore the people, eventually bringing an end to the squabbling as the election essentially becomes a referendum. But while that happens the previous budget still applies until a new government can eventually pass one, other systems do the same.

How would you fix the current handling of budgets? Should the last real budget passed continue to apply till a new one should be passed? Should Congress be dissolved if no budget is passed?
I had an idea once on how this all could be handed.


First a baseline amount is determined based on revenues in the previous five years - with most recent years weighted a little more. The we tell Congress "here's what you got to work with. Take care of mandatory items first and whatever is left is what you've have to fund all your little projects and wet dreams. When that is done whatever is leftover is to divided up equally amongst senators and representatives as their salary AND expense account to cover office staffing and expense, travel, etc. Funds for emergencies could still be appropriated when necessary.
 

Carjosse

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Spending by continuing resolution isn't ideal, and full budgets should be passed every year; it's ridiculous that they're not. But it's also not a lack of a plan. Nothing gets spent without Congressional authorization, so if there were no spending plan, there would be no spending at all.

But as I said, the problem lies not with the system, but with the people.

I would say the system does not allow the people to correct it.
 

Harshaw

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I would say the system does not allow the people to correct it.

Yes, it very much does, by electing better representatives.

The problem is, the people currently have little interest in that.
 

EMNofSeattle

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I would say the system does not allow the people to correct it.

People have the right correct it, on a regular 2 year interval.

Your system seems purely to be a matter of protecting the salaries of technocrats. I don’t care if they go two years without a paycheck because of a funding dispute.

Also irregular elections over budgets would simply mean massive special interests could directly influence the budget in a way they cannot now
 

Harshaw

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People have the right correct it, on a regular 2 year interval.

Your system seems purely to be a matter of protecting the salaries of technocrats. I don’t care if they go two years without a paycheck because of a funding dispute.

Also irregular elections over budgets would simply mean massive special interests could directly influence the budget in a way they cannot now

In this last election, as in most every election, the vast majority of incumbents who ran again were re-elected.

If the people wanted to elect better representatives, they would.

But . . . they don't.
 
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