In an interesting bit of scheduling, tomorrow’s State of the Union address will occur as a dubious milestone is reached: it will have been 1,000 days since Senate Democrats passed a budget. Each showdown over continuing resolutions, looming government shutdowns, and temporarily funding the federal government has its roots in the Senate’s failure to perform this basic task of governance.
So when the president speaks about “economic fairness” and criticizes, either implicitly or explicitly, the fiscal policy course charted by Paul Ryan in the House, it is worth noting that no detailed Democratic alternative exists. Will Obama propose one or challenge congressional Democrats to do so? The Republicans are guilty of many budgetary sins, but since the House voted on the Ryan budget the GOP has been relatively straightforward about what it will take to keep taxes at their historic levels. Most Democrats continue to pretend existing spending commitments can be maintained simply by returning to the Clinton-era top tax rate or enacting even smaller tax increases on the top 1 percent, and run against meaningful entitlement reform.