“Push ‘em until they cry.” Such was TV character Frank Barone’s method of childrearing, as expressed in the hit comedy series Everybody Loves Raymond.
“Then you know you’ve pushed enough.”
Perhaps this is an example of draconian parenting, but it is nonetheless good advice for us when it comes to dealing with Congress.
Of the $3.8 trillion Congress planned to spend in fiscal year 2011 – which ends in September – it has cut slightly over one percent, or $38.5 billion, so far. Government continues to operate for just under another week, and few will notice the difference in its day-to-day operation.
Many of us are disappointed, to say the least. Outrage is more of what I sense among my fellow conservatives.
But I ask you to stop and think whether even this amount would have been achieved had we not awakened and badgered our Congressmen about the issues that concerned us over the past few years, had we not spoken so loudly at the polls last November, and had we not been on the phone and on our computers in the last few months letting Congress know where we demanded cuts be made.
Now, with the so-called “shut down” averted, legislation will be drafted that will stipulate how our government will fund its operations for the remainder of the fiscal year.
President Obama’s current budget for fiscal year 2011 will overspend at the highest rate this country has ever experienced, creating a $1.65 trillion deficit. The recently cut $38.5 billion is little over 2 percent of that figure, which still leaves a deficit of over $1.61 trillion.
Apparently, there’s a lot of pushing left to be done, and no one has even begun to cry.
There remain many ways – ways that the Obama administration and many members of Congress hope we will forget – to solve this spending problem.
We should remind ourselves of our pet peeves and continue to contact our Senators and Representatives about them, suggesting ways to cut budgets, eliminate waste or fraud, and possibly eliminate them altogether. One of mine happens to be the National Endowment for the Arts. As a former art teacher, newspaper artist and designer, I see no need for such an agency.
There are several federal agencies that support the arts in the U.S. By support, I mean the government chooses to favor certain artists and types of art, whether we agree with government’s taste or not. Plus, the Stimulus package included $50 million for employment in the arts. All the artists I know find their own jobs.
Will shutting down or trimming such an agency “shut down the government”? No, of course not.
Sure, it will cause some members of Congress to cry. They will have to explain why they can’t guarantee any more money for a friend’s special project or why no-talents creating offensive displays can no longer be supported.
However, too many taxpayers are hurting. Too many of us have drawn up new budgets to survive this economy and tightened our belts until tears come to our own eyes.
We’ve been pushed, so we just have to keep pushing back. Harder.
Cynthia Toney is a Contributing Writer and Editor, The Bold Pursuit
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