Thursday, July 14, 2011
To Tea or Not Debt Ceiling?
It's not that easy following the turmoil on the debt ceiling and deficit/taxes conflicts. I was out of touch for a week and that neither helped clear my mind nor confuse any worse than it was had I been around. So, I'm just going to ramble a bit and take a stab at it.
There are a few basic premises the way I understand it (besides the whole idea that money is all imaginary anyway). First, it seems to me that the President can only spend what the Congress authorizes the executive branch to spend. In fact, I know that to be the case according to the Constitution (and the Anti-deficiency Act) from my work experience of 28 years. And it is a little odd that the Congress has authorized the Executive to spend money we don't have - in some cases actually obligated the expenditure of funds we don't have. And remember, the Congress is the People's Congress ALL the people as in "of, by and for." (Well, to the extent it doesn't belong to the corporate interests of America, but that's still the people's problem as corporations are a creation of government, i.e., the people's government - there I go again!). So we have no one to blame but ourselves. (I know, I know, that's tough to take coming from a fed employee, but give it a whirl in the noggin). It ain't as simple as undeserved welfare to queens driving pink Cadillacs (that came out all wrong, but it's late). It is cause by unfunded wars, borrowing against entitlements (too bad we didn't elect that guy with the "lock box" in 2000) and general economic and political irresponsibility including that from many of those now posturing with the tea party. And even a tea party majority in half of one branch of government can't dictate terms to the rest of us -of, by and for ALL.
McConnell's plan (very "cute" by the way) to authorize the Prez to raise the debt ceiling subject to an override by Congress seems a bit constitutionally fishy to me as a legislative veto like the Supremes struck down in INS v.Chadha (of all agencies) some years ago (when I was still in law school!) Yet it does show that McConnell and Boehner seem to understand they have to figure something out. Cantor and the tea purists, I dunno what planet they intend to live on when this one blows up (financially not literally - see, "imaginary money"). And ya know what? the Supremes aren't likely to catch up to it on their docket until after this current crisis is resolved one way or another.
Supposedly Cantor and Obama went at it tonight and maybe, maybe not, the Prez walked out on Cantor daring him to call his bluff. We'll see . . . . The thing is while the Congress belongs to the people, each Congressman only represents the actual constituents of the home district. The President represents each and every citizen of the United States of America and especially ALL of us together. And he has TR's "Bully Pulpit." So I wouldn't count him out. Up to this point, the President has certainly seemed like the grown-up. Cantor's a smart guy but he has the lead foot of the tea party on his back. Obama, IMHO, is smarter than Boehner & McConnell put together. (At least he looks a lot smarter regardless of what the tea-partyistas will tell you.)
The Republican leadership and the Presidential candidates are running scared. Not of the financial crisis, but of the tea party wing of their own party which cannot be controlled and can wreck havoc, not in the nation as a whole (without total economic collapse which the cynics of that crowd could even be attempting to orchestrate) but with any conservative Republican they don't take a fancy to (e.g., Orrin Hatch, Bob Bennett). Any compromise in the current crisis is a loss for Republicans among their base and in their face and any compromise is a win for the President with the independents and moderates, as well as his own party because where else are they going?
Well, if it all goes bad maybe we can all move to Greece, Ireland, Somalia or any nation in "Socialist" Europe where the economies are all doing so fine. For me, it's a good thing I speak Brazilian Portuguese. And my son-in-law speaks Mandarin. Tchau! and 再見!