If Patty Murray were a private-sector CEO instead of a U.S. senator, would her approach to budgeting be the same?
“No need to write a budget,” she might tell her fellow company executives. “Let’s just raise prices and get more money from customers. We can look at expenses later. Maybe.”
Such a strategy would drive a company into bankruptcy. Short-term infusions of cash might put the day of reckoning off, but ultimately the negligence and mismanagement would be the end of things.
Governments are different than companies, certainly. But they’re not exempt from the laws of economics.
After three years in which the Democratic-led U.S. Senate hasn’t even tried to produce a federal budget, Sen. Murray, D-Wash., appears to be taking a similarly cavalier manner to her expected position of Senate Budget Committee chair.
Murray, who would replace retiring Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota as the powerful committee chair, told The Hill newspaper “that she cannot commit to doing a budget.” Instead, she says it’s important to just concentrate on getting the wealthy to pay more in taxes.
Murray, notably, also was a lead Democrat on the bipartisan so-called “Super Committee” that earlier this year failed to reach agreement on a deficit reduction plan – which put us nearer the fiscal cliff Washington is now trying to avoid at the 11th hour.
If you don’t know where you’re going, one supposes, any road will take you there.
How can this nation get its fiscal act together if the upper chamber – supposedly the more deliberative one – refuses to even write an annual budget?
How can they get away with this? Why would the American people allow it?