SEATTLE, October 22, 2013 — Many articles online and in the media place blame for the government shutdown on the “extremist” GOP and the Tea Party. The left’s talking points accuse the right of having no policy behind their stand on the budget issues reducing the discussion to bumper sticker slogans and finger pointing rather than reasoned and substantive discussion.
The media onslaught overwhelms and drowns out the rational conservative reply.
The lopsided dialog precludes an honest discussion of some of the fundamentals of the problem, which include spending, national debt, and the Constitution, to which all elected officials have sworn an oath. Morality, integrity, and the desire to forge a public consensus have all been abandoned. Accordingly, every conservative contribution to this dialog helps to restore truth and balance to the issue.
Liberals castigate the GOP and Tea Party for “stupid politics,” protecting “a right-wing minority,” and treating Obamacare as “the greatest threat to our economy.” They say that conservatives reject a duly enacted and settled law which has the Supreme Court’s stamp of approval. The accuse Republicans of being uninterested in rising inequality, declining economic mobility, under-investment in our infrastructure, supporting a broken immigration system, and lack of concern for education.
America has a division of powers between the three major branches of government. It is not the duty of the Congress to give the president whatever he wants.
Under the Constitution, the the House of Representatives alone has the power to generate bills raising revenue.
President Obama has attempted to bully the other branches of government and pilfer their powers.
The job of the President is to enforce the laws the Congress has created, not to make his own.
The right has not “shut down” the government. The House has passed and sent multiple bills to the Senate to fund needed government services while trying to sort out Obamacare with true negotiation. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has not permitted the Senate to even consider the bills, and Obama has promised a veto if they do act.
So where does the true blame lie?
The Tea Party has been in the forefront of opposing the continued stomping on our Constitution. They see the Constitution as the keystone of citizens rights and freedoms.
The government shutdown is not the result of an empty “fit of pique” from the right. It is a result of power politics from the left, and a budget process over which the people have lost control.
Budget control needs four elements. It requires controlling spending, controlling revenues, balancing spending and revenue and controlling debt as a brake against over spending and under taxing.
The IMF recently compiled a database of 87 countries and the fiscal rules that they use in their budgetary processes.
The trend lines show widespread, increasing controls of the four types noted across nearly all nations. The U.S. currently has one fiscal rule in place according to the IMF — the no-one-believed-it-would-ever-be-used sequester law, agreed upon in 2011 which acts as an expenditure rule.
This broken budget development process, coupled with Obama and Reid’s failure in four years to pursue a bi-partisan national budget and stem the increasingly dangerous national debt level is the true root of the shutdown. This deliberately jettisoned budget process is a corruption of law, a corruption of integrity and a corruption of morality. But the left portrays it all as the result of GOP and Tea Party malice.
A deeper explanation is found in the progressive radical policies of Saul Alinsky, who dictated the recipe for political success as ignoring the real issues and focusing on ridicule of your opponents.
Some say the right is too enamored with an originalist view of the Constitution and that in today’s world, the president needs the authority to address dynamic problems in a less cumbersome way than working through the slower-acting Congress.
Rather than giving the president exceptional powers, the better way to deal with the problem is to reconfigure the congressional workload.
Reduce the congressional workload by mandating a maximum of 100 bills per session, and a maximum of 25,000 words per bill, with no further appendices or regulations that would have the force of law.
Move Congress to a biennial budget process so more time can be spent by legislators on creating well-written laws that can be understood by the citizens. Further, every bill passed must be signed by every senator and representative voting for passage, with the attestation that they have read the bill, understand it, and personally deem it in full accord with the Constitution. Moreover, non-legislative time can be spent by Congress looking over existing government programs and activities and enforcing better efficiency of execution, passing sunset laws to eliminate outdated bills and reduce waste, fraud and abuse.
Citizens and elected officials should consider a mandate that all duly authorized legislation must be passed with a minimum of of 15 percent affirmative votes from the two major political Parties based on the last presidential election. This would reduce the divisiveness of national political debate and action yet require forging a consensus between political views as reflected by the citizens’ expressed desires as voters.
There are other changes needed to improve national governance and ensure citizen control over government. These changes are necessary to ensure that elected officials do not try to put their self interests above those of their constituents.
Major changes are not an easy task, but the Founders never promised an easy process. Our republic will sink or swim only with the attention of an enlightened and active citizenry.
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