Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Debt Ceiling Silliness

Or, what is the other hand doing while we are being distracted.

An article on the "Super Congress" idea floated by John Boehner (RINO, OH) at American Thinker by Robert Eugene Simmons, Jr entitled Boehner's 12 Member Commission Political Game gives John Boehner the maximum benefit of the doubt with his insane idea. Unconstitutional doesn't begin to say it.  But it will do.  Boehner is proposing to disenfranchise each and every one of us from budget decisions.  The underlying assumption is that tax money belongs to the Government.  In fact, tax money belongs to each of us, and we each have to have a say in how it is used.  Otherwise, why do we need Congress.  Save the money and go with the "Super Congress."

In one narrative, Mr. Boehner is trying to avoid the opprobrium that will no doubt be heaped on him come election time if he does not succeed in both raising the debt ceiling (allowing his Social Security constituents to be paid) and securing spending cuts (as demanded by his TEA party constituents.) In other words, he it attempting with his idea of a "Super Congress" to avoid blame that will inevitably cost him his cushy Congressional job.

Or, there is another possibility. Who does Mr. Boehner actually work for?

Yesterday, as I was driving to work in morning rush hour traffic, I heard a talk show host make a remarkable statement. I will have to paraphrase because I didn't want to risk taking my eyes off the road, or pulling over. Even here in Raleigh, rush hour drivers are crazed. In any case, this individual said that after much study of the debt ceiling issue, we needed to raise the debt ceiling because of contractual obligations the Government had incurred during the last six months, which would be defaulted if we did not raise it.


Now, as I understand the process, money is typically appropriated by one committee,known as a Appropriation committee. There are many such committees.  All of the Appropriations committees' various appropriations combined make up the budget. This is passed to the Senate, which may tweak them. If so, the two sides negotiate, both pass the same bill, then send it to the President for signature. But, before the President can actually obligate that money, (for instance, let a contract) the funds also have to be Authorized by an Authorization committee. The Authorization committee should be fully aware of where we stand relative to the debt ceiling. It doesn't matter how much has actually been obligated by the Executive, because he can not spend money that has not been authorized. So, where did this process break down? Did the Authorization Committee allow the Executive to spend funds beyond the debt ceiling, or did someone in the Executive branch obligate money that was not authorized? Mr. Boehner surely knows this, so who is he trying to protect?  If you answer that question, you will answer who he is working for, because he is not working for us.  I have said for a while now that Boehner should tell the President to go pound sand, politely of course.  He should not be afraid of letting the debt ceiling stay where it is.  If the President decides to not pay Social Security, then it is on his head.  If the President decides to default, that too is on his head.  We take in enough in taxes to allow us to pay our debts, and pay essentials.  What not raising the debt ceiling does is force a debate on what is and is not essential.  We have needed that for a long time.

If I am wrong about this, I wish someone would tell me how.

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