preload

By Brendan Loy

“One of the most important things about this piece of legislation is that never again will any president, of either party, be able to raise the debt ceiling without being held accountable for it by the American people.” –Mitch McConnell, just now.

Translation: henceforth, members of Congress, of both parties, will feel even more freedom to pass irresponsible budgets, pretending that they are somehow unaware that they are requiring the president to borrow money, since it’s mathematically impossible to cover the spending mandated by Congress with the revenue allowed by Congress. They’ll do this because they know they can pretend to be “deficit hawks” when the president makes the necessary request to borrow the money that Congress has mathematically required him to borrow, at which point they can deny simple arithmetic and create a big f***ing months-long dog-and-pony show about “fiscal responsibility,” blaming the president for the arithmetic of the prior years’ budgets that Congress passed.

Didn’t the Tea Party require a reading of the Constitution at the beginning of this session of Congress? Apparently it didn’t sink in. Congress has the power of the purse. Not the President. Congress.

Our “leaders” are a disgrace to this nation. And because we allow them to be our leaders, so are we.

Ugh.

UPDATE: The bill passes.

Comments on "Quote of the day"

13 Responses to “Quote of the day”

  1. gahrie Says:

    Translation: henceforth, members of Congress, of both parties, will feel even more freedom to pass irresponsible budgets,

    Look on the bright side…even that would be an improvement over today’s practices….you know irresponsible spending without a budget for two and a half years…..

  2. Brendan Loy Says:

    I’ve said before and I’ll say again that I am not going to defend the Democratic Senate’s ridiculous failure to pass a budget.

    That doesn’t make McConnell’s statement any less wrong-headed.

  3. AMLTrojan Says:

    Brendan is seemingly not content with his Orwellian logic and inflammatory rhetoric — he compels himself to double down on his ridiculous complaints at every single opportunity.

    Look, aside from the “never again” aspect of the quote (it’s pretty banal to assume or predict that “never again” will the president not suffer a political setback from raising the debt ceiling), I don’t understand the complaint whatsoever. In modern times, the president submits the initial budget to Congress (via a congressional ally), and Congress makes adjustments and passes the budget. Congress can certainly choose to pass “irresponsible budgets” if they wish, but the requirement to cut $1 of spending for every $1 of debt ceiling increase will override those earlier “irresponsible” outlays anyway. Absolving the president of responsibility for the deficits in his proposed budgets just because they still have to be passed by Congress is absurd. Obama and the Democrats are both absolutely responsible for the rapid rise in federal spending the past 2-3 years, and this debt ceiling mechanism forces an end to that reckless behavior. And yet by your retarded Orwellian logic, the Republicans are the bad guys. I simply cannot take you seriously anymore — you’re completely off in la-la land. Either forcing the government to reconcile its fisc is a good thing, or it isn’t. You can’t have it both ways.

  4. gahrie Says:

    I’ve said before and I’ll say again that I am not going to defend the Democratic Senate’s ridiculous failure to pass a budget.

    You would have a lot more credibility as a centrist if you were willing to write a post attacking it, like all the posts you write attacking Republicans.

  5. Mike Marchand Says:

    They’ll do this because they know they can pretend to be “deficit hawks” when the president makes the necessary request to borrow the money that Congress has mathematically required him to borrow, at which point they can deny simple arithmetic and create a big f***ing months-long dog-and-pony show about “fiscal responsibility,” blaming the president for the arithmetic of the prior years’ budgets that Congress passed.

    What budgets, and which Congress? The 111th Congress, which passed the bills which have bloated the budget so much, is no more. It has ceased to be. It has rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. It is an ex-Congress.

    To state that this Congress must rubber-stamp authorize the spending of a previous Congress is tantamount to insisting that President Obama must maintain troop levels in Afghanistan at the level President Bush left them, simply because he left them there.

    Your rant about “basic arithmetic” and such is well-taken (or it least should have been), but you’re off here. In fact, the reason why the Tea Party has any authority at all is because of the stunning rejection voters gave the previous Congress for their actions while in office. To insist that they must be held to some other Congress’s vote is like saying that elections have no meaning.

  6. Brendan Loy Says:

    To state that this Congress must rubber-stamp authorize the spending of a previous Congress is tantamount to insisting that President Obama must maintain troop levels in Afghanistan at the level President Bush left them, simply because he left them there.

    No, no it’s not. It’s more akin to insisting that President Obama must pay those troops’ salaries, rather than declaring, “Well, I wouldn’t have sent them there if it were up to me, so screw ‘em.”

    In any case, I remain stunned by the utter disregard for the rule of law inherent in suggesting that one Congress can basically ignore a previous Congress’s enactments because that Congress “is no more.” The budgets passed by previous Congresses are the law, regardless of whether the current Congress agrees or disagrees with them. If the current Congress wants to repeal those laws, so be it, but otherwise they remain of legal effect. That includes bills requiring spending. And yet this Congress came within hours of preventing the Treasury from following the laws that the previous Congress passed, and that remain on the books. Countless conservatives argued that failing to raise the debt ceiling wouldn’t be that big of a deal, and certainly wouldn’t constitute a “default” on our national obligations, because after all, we could still pay back bondholders and pensioners, and all the rest of the federal government’s spending — all of which is pursuant to law — doesn’t really matter that much, apparently. Who cares whether the government follows the law, anyway?

  7. gahrie Says:

    Who cares whether the government follows the law, anyway?

    You mean like the law that says Congress must produce a budget?

    In any case, I remain stunned by the utter disregard for the rule of law inherent in suggesting that one Congress can basically ignore a previous Congress’s enactments because that Congress “is no more.”

    Then you’ll probably be even more stunned to learn that it happens all of the time…..

  8. AMLTrojan Says:

    The 111th Congress, which passed the bills which have bloated the budget so much, is no more. It has ceased to be. It has rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. It is an ex-Congress.

    Mike, that quote alone makes suffering all this off-base whining about Republicans and the Tea Party worth it. There is nothing in this world so depressing that a bit of Monty Python can’t fix. Thanks for that.

  9. Alasdair Says:

    Brendan #6 – “The budgets passed by previous Congresses are the law, regardless of whether the current Congress agrees or disagrees with them.”

    I’m *almost* willing to concede the point to you, except that, since the Senate Dems didn’t pass a budget in the 111th Congress (kudos to Mike Marchand for the Monty Python appropriateness), this 112th Congress doesn’t have to worry about following the laws that the previous Congress passed” cuz the boobs in the majority in the previous Congress didn’t pass ‘em, never mind put ‘em on the books …

    More importantly, as far as I know, what the Congress hath done, a later Congress can make undone … so, with the 111th’s non-budget, the current 112th Congress can, hmmmm undeem (?) it to have passed ?

    It’s sorta entertaining how, by brendanian ‘logic’, it was illegal for Congress to defund the Vietnam War, since Congress had passed bills to fund it …

    Brendan is a War-Monger !

  10. David K. Says:

    “It’s sorta entertaining how, by brendanian ‘logic’, it was illegal for Congress to defund the Vietnam War, since Congress had passed bills to fund it … ”

    Um, no you complete and utter moron, Brendan’s logic is that until congress passes a law superseding the previous one they can’t take action that woudl cause the government to violate the law.

    If congress passes a law establishing that liqour sales are illegal, they can’t then pass another law saying that all stores are required to sell beer which is still illegal! They’d be, by law, requiring the stores to break the law.

  11. gahrie Says:

    If congress passes a law establishing that liqour sales are illegal, they can’t then pass another law saying that all stores are required to sell beer which is still illegal! They’d be, by law, requiring the stores to break the law.

    Wow…the Executive branch is much stronger than the Legislative….they’ve been forcing gun stores to sell guns in violation of gun laws for a while now………

  12. Alasdair Says:

    David K # 10 – while your words might have intended to be flattering, in terms of “complete and utter”, I must defer to your greater experience being a truncated version of a LatterDay Saints’ Angel …

    Perhaps I can make the point more simply …

    A number of times, our esteemed blog-host (that’s Brendan) has averred (that’s stated) that this Congress is obligated to pay for those things to which the prior Congress committed … and my response to that is “Ain’t gonna happen, Brennie !” … cuz I know that Congress can and has chosen to withdraw commitments made by prior Congress(es) …

    As the US electorate gains more and more experience of what it is like to live in a country shaped by Obama/Reid/Pelosi political decisions, they/we are coming to realise that it is not to the benefit of the US Electorate …

    A number of us said from way early on that the current First Occupant sadly seems to be channeling a progressive President (who, interestingly enough, was a Republican) who, by raising the tax burden on the rich during a deep recession, managed to turn that deep recession into The Great Depression …

    In doing so, our First Occupant is managing to make Jimmy Carter look like a skilled and competent Chief Executive …

  13. AMLTrojan Says:

    The nature of the issue at hand has been clearly defined already: One set of laws, already passed, set the current and future level of appropriations; a second set of laws, also already passed, require Congress to specifically authorize the Executive Branch to borrow against the full faith and credit of the United States. Here we have a situation where Congress does not have the will to do the latter, and this places it in clear conflict with the former.

    In the midst of this conflict, then, it seems to me a fundamental fallacy on the part of Brendan, David, and all others who demand a clean debt-ceiling bill process, to argue that Congress has no real say (philosophically or otherwise) in the second matter because they already made their decision by passing a budget. IOW, the already-passed budgets compel them to pass future legislation wholly consistent with those budgets. However, I don’t see the point of making that assertion — it’s purely a matter of personal opinion not based on any fact or constitutional requirement.

    As a matter of factual observation, Congress is absolutely within its constitutional scope to not pass a debt ceiling raise. If they refuse to do so, at some point they will need to alter the budget and appropriations to fit under that cap, but from a timing perspective, until that happens, the power to decide what gets funded and what doesn’t obviously passes to the Executive.

    Now, the other assumption on the part of Brendan, David, et al, is that it is inherently wrong for the Executive to be in a position to pick and choose which legislation to enforce and which to not enforce. This is comforting in the ideal sense of how things ought to work, but it is not and never has been how things actually work. Just think about the DOJ, FBI, and all of the criminal laws on the books — do you honestly think emphasis on enforcement (e.g. porn, drug trafficking, campaign finance law, illegal immigration, etc.) doesn’t change from one administration or attorney general to another? Going back in time, Congress used to more or less write the government a broad check, and the Executive Branch decided how the money was spent with very few strings attached. Sure, today things are very different and Congress may specifically appropriate money to buy 10 C-17s even after the USAF says they don’t need any more, but even in that specific case, the Executive can put plans on hold and use arbitrary administrative provisions to drag out acceptance of the planes from the contractor until certain provisions are met.

    The bottom line is, flexibility is inherent in the role of the Executive, and should the debt limit not be raised, it’s wildly overwrought to say that the Executive is not “following the laws” of Congress. Such a position completely ignores the reality of the space-time continuum. For example, would you say that the DOD is not “following the laws” as of 1:36pm on 3 August 2011 if at that very moment in time USAF acquisition officials announced they are changing the contract for the next 10 C-17s to require the contractor to install new winglets on each plane to reduce drag and improve fuel performance, and this will cause a schedule delay of up to 12 months? It’s a simple observation of reality that there exists a boatload more wiggle room when it comes to obeying a “thou shalt” law (e.g. go buy C-17s) than a “thou shalt not” law (e.g. don’t borrow any more money), and I’m guessing that Brendan learned this concept to some degree while in law school.

    As my final point, the inconsistency of passing a budget but not authorizing the borrowing necessary to execute that budget may seem like bad fiscal planning (ahem, it is!). Still, while authorizing the borrowing necessary to execute the budget would mean your fiscal planning is internally consistent, it does not mean that it is good fiscal planning. The debt ceiling legislation, then, is as good a place as any to resolve as a government that we are going to re-orient our path to be more fiscally sustainable than the previous baseline.

    In sum, claiming to be in favor of entitlement reform and fiscal sanity yet simultaneously working oneself into hysterics because one party of Congress used the debt ceiling issue as a forcing function to make the government rationalize its future outlays speaks to your own partisanship and cognitive dissonance far more than it does to the purported disgracefulness of the GOP’s tactics.



You must be logged in to comment. (Why?)

Please register with The Living Room Times, or log in using your Facebook, Google, OpenID, Twitter, AOL or Yahoo account, or your existing Living Room Times account.