Friday, October 30, 2015

The Power Of The Purse

Is it just me or are ALL the stories on the “Liberal Media” missing one of the main points of the story of last night’s deal approving a raise to the budget ceiling? All the stories that I have heard and read talk about how “the President won” or how the Congress averted a fiscal catastrophe by passing a deal that raises the debt ceiling; all of them seem to hold the Congress as a blameless bystander in the whole sordid affair.

Once again the “Liberal Media” gives the right a pass on this blatant mischaracterization. Some have even lionized Senator Cruz for taking the “brave” stand of wanting to shut-down the government rather than allow another raise to the debt ceiling. The problem with this (and any such blatantly slanted) reporting is that it ignores one small but crucial issue. There is an oft ignored fact that gives the lie to their reporting: the Constitution of the United States vests in the Congress the power of the purse.

Reporting this as a battle between the Legislative and Executive branches of the government is disingenuous at best and downright dishonest at worst. I am no Constitutional scholar, but I seem to remember from my high-school civics classes that Article 1 of the Constitution Defines the Legislative branch of the government and gives the responsibility to appropriate funds to the Congress.

Article II defines the Executive Branch and its powers and responsibilities. Nowhere in there does it give the President the right to levee funds. So, if the Congress defines what they want to spend money on and pass that budget to the Executive, how is it the problem if the Executive if their budget outstrips the funds available!?

What would have been MORE newsworthy – in my humble opinion – would have been an agreement to budget within the projected income of the government. How is it that the Republicans (who, keep claiming to be the fiscally conservative party) don’t seem to understand that the ONE SURE WAY not to spend more than you have is NOT TO BUDGET TO SPEND more than you plan to take in!

But no! That would be too easy to do and too hard to justify to the rabid members of the right that they have to contend with. You know that faction of the right I mean: they take their name after a historical act of public dissent from Revolutionary times. They claim that we are Taxed Enough Already but don’t seem to understand that if you want to cut the income of the government, you have to cut its expenditures as well. But no! The same voices that want to cut taxes want to keep spending.

THAT is why we are perpetually having these discussions of the debt – not because the Executive branch cannot control spending, that is not their job… The Constitution (that the TEA Party seems so fervent about) gives that job to the Congress.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you will be an informed news consumer.


Don Bergquist – October 30, 2015 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

1 comment:

Don Bergquist said...

I cannot even type the phrase “Liberal Media” without chuckling somewhat maniacally to myself. They may have once been non-partisan (and therefore by today’s standards liberal) but those days disappeared when the consolidation of media into fewer and fewer hands started back in the eighties. These days the news is so capitalized that it no longer even remotely resembles what Dr. Morgan and my other professors back at UCF taught me it was supposed to be.

One has to work considerably harder these days to get an independent and purely factual assessment of the news of the day. Perhaps this accounts for the arise of the “Low-Information Voter” that both of the political parties depend on for their very existence.