There is little to like in the debt-heavy, budget deal that is about to pass Congress. It does not seriously attack billions of dollars in wasteful spending and barely nicks monster deficits that are forecast to grow by more than $6 trillion over the next 10 years.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office crunched the numbers and said the deal would cut the deficits by a mere $85 billion over the next 10 years in the absence of future spending reductions.
About $62 billion of that will roll back a big chunk of the automatic sequester spending cuts. The remainder, some $23 billion, would be applied to reducing deficits.
That's a minuscule amount in an annual budget that is now approaching $4 trillion a year in ever-higher spending.
This isn't a serious budget. It's an election cycle deal that sweeps the government's fiscal troubles under the rug to give voters in the 2014 midterm congressional races the chance to answer this question:
Do you want to continue with a divided Congress that prevents our country from getting its fiscal house in order through top-to- bottom spending reductions that shrinks the deficits, reduces tax rates and strengthens our economy?
The nation's debt-ridden mess stems from a politically divided Congress that has lost sight of Thomas Jefferson's vision of "a wise and frugal" government.
Republicans want to make sensible but deeper budget cuts and needed reforms in discretionary and entitlement spending, while reducing tax rates to unlock new business investments that foster job growth and boost tax revenues that will also shrink the deficit.
Democrats like the spending levels we've got now, and are working hard to raise them by creating a sea of new programs, agencies and entitlements like Obamacare.
They don't want to cut tax rates, they want to rise them, even in a lumbering, job-starved economy.
The compromise hammered out by Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington and Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin with one political goal in mind.
Fashion a budget that can not only win the approval of the GOP- run House and the Democrat-controlled Senate, but also get past a very liberal, Democratic president who never met a spending bill he didn't like.
A budget that tries to achieve that is by definition a piece of legislation that will satisfy no one. And that's what lawmakers will vote on before leaving for the Christmas holidays.