Washington could use more Charleston Joe | Charleston Daily Mail
WHEN it comes to fiscal matters, Sen. Joe Manchin should always ask himself What Would Gov. Joe Manchin Do, because as a governor he had an excellent record on the state budget.
Gov. Manchin not only balanced the budget but kept operating expenses low even as revenues rose.
Any extra money he could find was dedicated to paying down the multibillion-dollar unfunded liability in state pensions.
In Washington, there is no budget. Congress instead has passed a string of "continuing resolutions" that spend regardless of the government's actual revenue. There has been no attempt to reconcile expenses with income for at least the last five years.
The president is barely giving lip service to deficit reduction. His latest budget plan estimated deficits of $7.2 trillion over the next 10 years.
The Congressional Budget Office disagreed, saying the White House budget understates the problem by $2.3 trillion.
And even the CBO's estimate of $9.5 trillion in new debt seems low.
At least some members of Congress don't want to keep doing business this way. On Friday, 64 senators - 32 Democrats and 32 Republicans - sent a letter to the president asking him to get serious about reducing deficits.
Manchin was among the signers.
"As the administration continues to work with congressional leadership regarding our current budget situation, we write to inform you that we believe comprehensive deficit reduction measures are imperative and to ask you to support a broad approach to solving the problem," the senators wrote.
Congress has the power to bring the deficit to zero by not raising the debt ceiling - the government's credit limit - in May. That would be like braking a train traveling at 300 mph, but many Republicans say they are willing to vote against raising the ceiling.
On Monday, Manchin became the first Democratic senator to join Republicans such as Reps. Shelley Moore Capito and David McKinley.
"I have never put together a budget - be it my family's or as governor - that was based on how much we wanted to spend, but on what we had," Manchin said during a speech at the University of Charleston.
The senator should frame those words and take them back with him to Washington.No significant cuts, no deal.
Next Article Previous Article