Playing Small Ball with the Federal Budget

Growing up in Missouri and loving baseball one could not help but become a St. Louis Cardinals fan during the eighties.

The team was filled with the athletes who were not known for hitting home runs but for their quickness, fundamental soundness and doing their job consistently day in and down out.

This strategy, known as playing “small ball” is fairly well known in the baseball community and believe it or not, is highly applicable to the budget situation facing our federal government.

While many of us are looking for the long ball for cutting into our massive budget, which would be admittedly nice, let’s not box ourselves into that singular position. We cannot forget that Republicans control exactly one of the two legislative branches and last I checked Obama was still president.

For those who believe that President Obama and Senate Democrats are going to suddenly get debt religion and make the necessary cuts and defund programs which desperately need gutting, think again.

Those hurdles do not mean we should trip over our selves making concessions to Democrats in an effort to satisfy the daily headlines coming out of Washington, DC. In fact that is the very mentality voters spoke against last November.

So, what should we do?

Just like “the Great White Rat” Whitey Herzog was able to outsmart many his opponents and Guide the cardinals to three World Series appearances during his tenure as manager, I believe we can play a bit smarter out selves to achieve our goals.

Instead of risking the fury of voters and shutting down the government due to what may be hyped as partisan cuts we should focus on what I would refer to as playing the political equivalent of small ball.

I believe we should focus on making cuts that count in the continuing resolutions which are being passed instead of looking for the home run and knocking off five hundred billion or one trillion in one shot. Nor should we make up a self-imposed deadline created only by our eagerness to crush debt.

While cutting six to ten billion every two weeks wont address the trillion and a half deficit we are facing in the short term, it puts political pressure on Democrats and proves to voters Republicans are willing make necessary cuts without going to the extreme of shutting down the government.

Just as two or three base hits puts pressure on the team defense, so to the continuing resolutions continue to mount serious pressure on Democrats and President Obama to act.

Democrats, on the other hand, who refuse to agree in cuts to Obamacare or other federal programs will continue to face the wrath of voters for what is another form of extremism.

Of course ideally, the pressure should cumulate into the massive battle budget this fall and a push for what I believe is necessary to shackle government into its rightful place. I submit the only home run we need is in passing a Balanced Budget Amendment.

Until then, we must play smart and hit as many singles and doubles as we can in an effort to get our runners into scoring position. There is no need to steal home or call for a pinch hit grand slam yet.

After all, people who know enough about baseball strategy understand that the one thing that kills a rally in an inning more than anything is a home run.