2015 budget debate
Last week's news reports about congressional (actually...congressional Republican) action on the debt ceiling did what in the journalism business is called "burying the lead," that is, the stories typically didn't start with the most important part of what happened.
To a certain extent that wasn't surprising. As most reports said, the GOP folded its debt ceiling tent and went home. Three years after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) began to insist that Congress would never allow the government's borrowing limit to be raised again unless Republicans got something something in return, and long after House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said there would be no debt ceiling increase unless he got a dollar in spending cuts for every dollar of increased borrowing authority, congressional Republicans allowed the government to borrow more without getting anything from the White House and congressional Democrats.
It's a very (at least by Washington standards) snowy day in and around the beltway, so what better time than to demonstrate the extreme (bordering on the ultra) hypocrisy these days that exists when it comes to the federal budget. All of these seemingly unrelated events and announcements took place over the past four weeks.
Keep these things in mind if you're thinking about popping a cork or two to celebrate Congress passing an omnibus appropriation over the next week that will keep the federal government open for business through the rest of fiscal 2014:
This is the week when the-year-in-review stories start to be published.
I've always found those recaps to be largely irrelevant. If something significant happened this past year you likely already know or remember it without it being included on a top 10 list. And if you don't remember could it really have been that noteworthy?
Besides, when it comes to the federal budget, nothing that happened -- including the much-ballyhooed-but-actually-totally-inconsequential end-of-year deal -- was so important that it merits further discussion.
My overwhelming preference is to look at what's ahead rather than at what's already occurred. With that in mind, here are my top five budget predictions for 2014.