Daily Archives: July 16, 2011

Rethinking The Debt Limit Farce

My first impression of Barack Obama when he appeared on the national political scene in 2008 was “why, he’s just a kid”.  I tried to convince myself that my impression of him was just one more sign I was getting old. After watching him for three years I am starting to think my first impression was right on target. Since being in office his hair has begun to turn grey — a good hair dresser can do that for you — and he is beginning to show signs of aging. However, his sense of responsibility and grasp of reality in the grown-up world is still that of a spoiled adolescent.

Unfortunately he does not have any adult supervision in Washington. His tantrums because those mean Republicans don’t think his allowance should be increased is reminiscent of the kid who creates a scene in the local super market because his mom balks at buying him that goodie he jut saw on the shelf. When that happens in real life, observers are always more critical of the parent because of the evident lack of discipline they enforce. Most of the time, the real problem is that the parent herself or himself has no self-discipline of their own to draw on. That’s why the debate over the debt ceiling is such a farcical exercise in absurdity.

The Founders expected that Congress would provide the adult discipline for the federal government. It’s time for Congress to stop behaving toward the President like the doting parents of an out of control teen-ager and start exercising the Constitutional discipline over the nation‘s budget the Framers expected. The excessive spending in Washington does not originate in the White House, but in Congress. The debt ceiling was never intended to control the spending habits of the President. That would be absurd because the President does not have the freedom to spend money on anything he wishes unless Congress allows it.

Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7 of the Constitution says, “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.”

I have been called many things, but I have never been called an Obama Supporter or a progressive. Nevertheless, it is grossly irresponsible and disingenuous to blame President Obama alone for America’s current fiscal problems. That blame lies squarely at the doorstep of Congress, more particularly, at the feet of the Democratic leadership in Congress and the spineless Republicans who go along with their socialist utopian fantasy that all problems can be solved and economic equality among the people can be realized through redistributive policy.

The level of the debt ceiling is immaterial. It could be raised tomorrow to $20 trillion and neither diminish or amplify the problem in Washington. Regardless of the debt limit the Executive Branch and the Treasury Department can only spend money that has been appropriated by Congress. The Constitution is clear on this point “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law;”

We need to be clear on exactly which part of the government is responsible for out of control spending and in the final analysis, it is not the Executive Branch. Article I, Sections 7, 8, and 9 gives total control over the nation’s Treasury to Congress, in particular the House of Representatives. The House and only the House has the power to levy taxes, appropriate funds, or borrow money on the credit of the United States.

It’s time for Speaker Boehner, Minority Leader McConnell; et al to grow up and take on the responsibility the American people gave them when they elected them to Congress. Getting rid of Obama in 2012 is not going to solve our fiscal problems unless we also get rid of the progressives (American Socialists) on both sides of the aisle in Congress at the same time. And when we change Congress we have to be sure we only elect candidates who will take seriously their oath to honor and defend the Constitution.