Who Shut Down the Government?

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Oct 102013

Even when it comes to something as basic, and apparently as simple and straightforward, as the question of who shut down the federal government, there are diametrically opposite answers, depending on whether you talk to Democrats or to Republicans.

There is really nothing complicated about the facts. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted all the money required to keep all government activities going — except for ObamaCare.

This is not a matter of opinion. You can check the Congressional Record.

As for the House of Representatives’ right to grant or withhold money, that is not a matter of opinion either. You can check the Constitution of the United States. All spending bills must originate in the House of Representatives, which means that Congressmen there have a right to decide whether or not they want to spend money on a particular government activity.

Whether ObamaCare is good, bad or indifferent is a matter of opinion. But it is a matter of fact that members of the House of Representatives have a right to make spending decisions based on their opinion.

ObamaCare is indeed “the law of the land,” as its supporters keep saying, and the Supreme Court has upheld its Constitutionality.

But the whole point of having a division of powers within the federal government is that each branch can decide independently what it wants to do or not do, regardless of what the other branches do, when exercising the powers specifically granted to that branch by the Constitution.

The hundreds of thousands of government workers who have been laid off are not idle because the House of Representatives did not vote enough money to pay their salaries or the other expenses of their agencies — unless they are in an agency that would administer ObamaCare.

Since we cannot read minds, we cannot say who — if anybody — “wants to shut down the government.” But we do know who had the option to keep the government running and chose not to. The money voted by the House of Representatives covered everything that the government does, except for ObamaCare.

The Senate chose not to vote to authorize that money to be spent, because it did not include money for ObamaCare. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says that he wants a “clean” bill from the House of Representatives, and some in the media keep repeating the word “clean” like a mantra. But what is unclean about not giving Harry Reid everything he wants?

If Senator Reid and President Obama refuse to accept the money required to run the government, because it leaves out the money they want to run ObamaCare, that is their right. But that is also their responsibility.

You cannot blame other people for not giving you everything you want. And it is a fraud to blame them when you refuse to use the money they did vote, even when it is ample to pay for everything else in the government.

When Barack Obama keeps claiming that it is some new outrage for those who control the money to try to change government policy by granting or withholding money, that is simply a bald-faced lie. You can check the history of other examples of “legislation by appropriation” as it used to be called.

Whether legislation by appropriation is a good idea or a bad idea is a matter of opinion. But whether it is both legal and not unprecedented is a matter of fact.

Perhaps the biggest of the big lies is that the government will not be able to pay what it owes on the national debt, creating a danger of default. Tax money keeps coming into the Treasury during the shutdown, and it vastly exceeds the interest that has to be paid on the national debt.

Even if the debt ceiling is not lifted, that only means that government is not allowed to run up new debt. But that does not mean that it is unable to pay the interest on existing debt.

None of this is rocket science. But unless the Republicans get their side of the story out — and articulation has never been their strong suit — the lies will win. More important, the whole country will lose.

 Pass this on!!

Thomas Sowell

Government Shutdown. The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.

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Oct 062013

With the government shutdown a lot of people are worried about what may go wrong, but instead of a disaster, things seem to be moving  right along  anyway. True, some federal workers may not get paid after October 1, but they can survive a short vacation anyway. A major problem is that some government contractors are getting worried about getting paid, but they must have taken this into considerition anyway, because of the frighteningly high national debt the nation has. I mean, if you lend money to somebody deep in debt, you should know that getting paid back is not a sure thing.

Also,  new welfare applicants may have to wait. New home loans may also have to wait, because Social Security or income can not be confirmed.

Other than that, things seem to be normal. Everybody is blaming somebody else for the shutdown, and the news media is showing its usual bias. Congress will still take half the year off on vacation. Those Congressmen who choose to debate something will still do so in front of an empty chamber. Harry Reid is still cursing out the Tea Party, this time calling them “Anarchists” because they want to establish a Constitutional Republic. I guess Harry wants something else. Nancy Pelosi is still in her office puffin her wacky weed. Congressmen like John McCain are still playing video games during committies, or just sleeping. It’s all still business as usual; I mean the mail will still be delivered, so what’s to worry.

But to get just a little more on the positive side, maybe some people may start to think that we really do not need such a big government after all, and maybe those Conservatives may be right after all about small government.

Another positive may be that if this were a complete shutdown (which this is not), we would be saving about 9 billion dollars a day, while only spending about one million in total shutdown costs per day. So, this is really a good thing even if the saving is a lot less than 9 billion, we are still saving some tax payer money!

What may be the biggest plus to come out of this government shutdown, is a realization that this may be the only way to get the Democrats to stop their crazy over spending, that has the nation on it’s way to bankrupticy. If you consider that the Republicans have critized the Democrats for too much social spending a long time before the Obama administration took office, and have gotten nowhere. Maybe because this is how the Democrats get into office by just buying votes, by giving their supporters all sorts of  “gifts” like cell phones and food stamps. So the Democrats do not want to stop this social spending, because if they do stop, it will end their jobs in government. Instead they just answer the Republicans by calling them sexist, homophobic, racist, greedy old men who eat babies for breakfast. This was tollerable in the past, but with a national debt of almost 17 trillion dollars, this has gotten to be a dangerious game that we can no longer afford.

To take a lesson from the past, when Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky were in the White House, Newit Gingrich who was Speaker of the House at the time; had the same problem with Democrats and their high social spending. Gingrich tried all sorts of negoations, but got nowhere with the Democrats, except to be called sexist, homophobic etc., etc.. So, he went to the extreme and forced a government shutdown with the Democrats. The result of this was one of the rarest of times in American history when the nation actually had a budget SURPLUS.

Can this shutdown result in a  budget surplus? Or at least a balanced budget? Or to get real about this, maybe just a reduced deficit that may actually return America to a AAA credit rating? Who knows at this point, but dream we must.

With Congress operating like this, a person must wonder why their job approval rating is as high as 7%. According to realclearpolitics.com

But the big question is – has John Boehner finally decided to stop the nice-guy junk and get mean with the Democrats, and so is using the same methods as Newit Gingrich with the government shutdown? Well, as they say; if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck. To me this all looks the same, except that Monica Lewinsky is nowhere to be seen.

Where is Monica anyway?

Jose Lugo, founder www.ddtv.org