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Yesterday, 1 October 2010, was the start of the new fiscal year for government employees.  So, Happy New Year!!  (Full DisclosureI am a government employee.)
We currently have no approved budget, but we do have a “CR” (continuing resolution) which will carry us through the next two months.  That’s Congress’ way of keeping the government going without them having to argue in front of the American public about what needs to be a priority, what needs to be cut in this time of deficits and/or what taxes need to be raised in order to pay for running the country.
When it takes longer to agree to a new budget than the budget itself runs, you have what is known as a structural defect in your budgeting system.  The “normal” fix (by rational adults) is to either shorten the time it takes to agree (work faster) or lengthen the duration the actual budget covers.  Shortening takes leadership and a willingness to compromise (in the country’s best interest) by both parties, while lengthening the duration would take a change to Federal law.  There is no Constitutional requirement for an annual budget.  However, changing the law carte blanche would take a considerable amount of explanation to the American public, so that can’t really be expected to happen either.
Since neither party seems able to provide leadership in an election year, and because there seems to be a dearth in willingness to compromise, we are left with a CR.
And that is your local, state and Federal civics (budget) lesson for today!!
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