Settle down for some budget theatre

More

My Monday column for the Financial Times:

Between now and the latter part of December, the US Congress and the White House will revive a much-loved theatrical tradition: the battle of appropriations.



Back in February George W. Bush set out his budget request for spending in the fiscal year that started in October. Congress then devised a plan of its own, not that different from the president’s. Spending bills conforming to that scheme have duly been passed by both houses. Mr Bush, accusing Congress of fiscal irresponsibility, says he will veto most of them. There will now be weeks of accusations and counter-accusations, talk of fiscal paralysis and threats of dire consequences.



It is no way to run a government but the delays and uncertainty, the preening and posing, the stunts and thrills, at least have a cosy familiarity. It would seem strange to have spending bills passed in an orderly fashion, in time for the fiscal year they relate to, so that no omnibus packages or other routine emergency manoeuvres were required to keep the wheels of government turning – all quite out of the ordinary. This performance is not about good government, after all. It is about making a point.



The White House’s point, and I laugh as I write this, is that the Democrats cannot be trusted with the public purse.

You can read the rest of column here (you may encounter a subscription barrier).

Jump to comments
Presented by

Clive Crook is a senior editor of The Atlantic and a columnist for Bloomberg View. He was the Washington columnist for the Financial Times, and before that worked at The Economist for more than 20 years, including 11 years as deputy editor. Crook writes about the intersection of politics and economics. More

Crook writes about the intersection of politics and economics.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Social Security: The Greatest Government Policy of All Time?

It's the most effective anti-poverty program in U.S. history. So why do some people hate it?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Business

Just In