Donald Lambro

WASHINGTON - There was little to like in the budget bill that passed Congress by strong vote margins this week and temporarily reopened the government.

It kicked the can down the road for a few more months, meaning that Congress will have to deal with this mess all over again early next year -- further raising the debt ceiling and passing a budget bill to fund the government through the end of the 2014 fiscal year.

The government is still drowning in a sea of wasteful, unaffordable, runaway spending and piling up trillions of dollars in added debt. More than $6 trillion alone under President Obama -- weakening our frail economy, killing job creation and destroying the American dream.

The White House is paralyzed by inaction, and Congress is a divided battlefield that has proven to be incapable of prudently managing the government's finances.

After some staged, public relations meetings with House and Senate leaders, Obama refused to get his hands dirty in the budget process and bears plenty of blame for the crisis we just went through.

Even his former Defense secretary, Leon Panetta, who was a key broker in the 1995 government shutdown, took his former boss to task for his inept handling of the budget war. In a meeting with reporters Monday, Panetta prefaced his remarks by praising the president for having "the right instincts about what needs to be done for the country."

But, and it was a big but, Panetta said, without referring to Obama by name, "You have to engage in the [budget] process. This is a town where it's not enough to feel you have the right answers. You've got to roll up your sleeves and you've got to really engage in the process... that's what government is all about."

In other words, the president was a bystander, putting out self-serving political statements and accusations each day, but never getting down into the arena and the rough and tumble of negotiations needed to produce a long term solution to debt crisis that endangers our country's future.

This isn't a time to mince words. "The president's victory was accomplished through deception and demagoguery," says University of Maryland business economist Peter Morici.

We were never in danger of defaulting on our debt, he says. The feds rake in $250 billion in taxes each month. If the debt ceiling had not been raised, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew "still would have had adequate resources to pay the $23 billion in interest to the public."

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.