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The Government Shutdown Blame Game

by Stephen Lendman – Home – Stephen Lendman)

Each side blames the other, ignoring bipartisan responsibility and a corrupt political system too debauched to fix.

The inability to agree on a budget is one of numerous issues explaining why, Congress kicking the can down the road, operating under continuing resolutions for nearly four months, and now shutdown.

The budget process begins when presidents submit a budget request to Congress, prepared by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) – for the administration’s intended revenue and spending plans for the following fiscal year, beginning October 1.

Its budget is referred to House and Senate budget committees, as well as the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

House and Senate members may propose propose their own budgets, reconciling them independent of the president’s. The final product is a blueprint for the appropriations process.

Discretionary spending requires authorization through enactment of appropriation bills or continuing resolutions.

Once House and Senate members agree on a budget, it’s sent to the president to sign it into law or veto it.

Otherwise, continuing resolutions are needed to avoid shutdown – never government entirely. Essential services and the military keep operating.

The budget process is supposed to be completed before the start of a new fiscal year – beginning October 1.

Not last year or in 2018 so far. Nor was another continuing resolution agreed on, resulting in shutdown.

Most Americans won’t notice a difference on Monday morning, or in subsequent days if things aren’t resolved quickly.

Eighteen previous shutdowns weren’t long-lasting, the longest lasting 21 days in 1996. Economic effects are modest and short-term.

More serious is a dysfunctional federal government. Republicans and undemocratic Dems irresponsibly blaming each other instead of doing their jobs, serving their constituents – all Americans, not just the privileged few.

Washington doesn’t work this way under plutocratic governance, a nation exclusively serving Wall Street, war-profiteers, other corporate favorites and its super-rich, ordinary Americans exploited and abused, their rights and welfare increasingly ignored.

Like earlier shutdowns, this one will end. It’s a side issue, diverting attention from what matters most – Americans ill-served at the federal, state and local levels.

Fundamental change is needed. Tinkering around the edges won’t work. Trump is a creation of the deplorable system.

So are most congressional members, all holding high positions, and most federal judges, notably the Supremes.

Modern-day Brennans and T. Marshalls needn’t apply, right-wing extremists alone welcomed on the High Court and most lower court positions.

Grassroots change alone can work if pursued with diligence and commitment for the long haul.

Otherwise we may be all doomed – by environmental destruction, full-blown fascist tyranny or nuclear annihilation – none of these options a pleasant way to go.

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My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.