Budget Madness

The budget news for October, the first month of the new fiscal year, was simply mountains of red ink, as the deficit for just one month was $176.4 billion.  That was on top of an all-time record of $1.42 trillion for FY 2009.

The deficit in October was the 13th consecutive month that the feds spent more money than what came into Uncle Sam in revenues.

When you look at the numbers, you can really see how the economic troubles of the past year have hit state, local and federal governments in the wallet.

Tax revenues were down almost 18 percent from a year ago, with drops in both individual and corporate tax numbers.

Right now, current federal law limits the national debt from going over $12.1 trillion, but that will have to be increased in coming weeks by the Congress, as the government will need to raise more money in December.

About the only good thing right now is that interest rates are low, so the amount of money needed to service the federal debt is lower than it could be.

But just wait until interest rates go up a chunk.

Meanwhile in the Congress, lawmakers are still way behind when it comes to getting the federal budget done for the fiscal year that started back on October 1st.

The Library of Congress has a handy running scoreboard on the various spending bills in the Congress, which you can find at http://is.gd/4TFWG

It shows that lawmakers have completed work on five of the 12 appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2010, which runs from the start of October 2009 to the end of September 2010.

Yet to be completed are bills covering:
* Commerce/Justice/Science
* Defense
* Financial Services
* Labor/Health/Education
* Military/Veterans
* State/Foreign Operations
* Transportation/Housing

There has been talk about rolling all the bills into one big Omnibus measure and approving that before lawmakers get out of town.

The irony of that move would be interesting, because it would mean that this Democratic Congress would have approved two Omnibus measures in the same calendar year.

You might remember the big Omnibus that finished up the budget work for the current fiscal year, which was approved back in March, after the stimulus plan.

If you have already put that out of your brain, you can find it at http://is.gd/4TG8A

Frankly, the budget is a mess.  Both parties have failed to approve spending bills in a timely fashion.  Both parties have stuffed them with earmarks.

And the budget deficit just keeps on going up.

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