Although I have been watching this “Defund Obamacare” thing unfold for weeks, I’ve not heard any talking heads explain the legal principles which govern the dispute. Instead, the blame game has devolved into stories about blocking veterans at the World War II Memorial and “Whose fault is that?” and how the Republicans are “anarchists” who are guilty of “shutting down the government”.
The prevailing accusation against House Republicans is that the deadlock between them and the Senate consists in whether to shut down the government rather than withhold funding for the Affordable Care Act.
The major premise is Congress has an obligation to provide funding for all federal programs, at all times, and under all circumstances.
The minor premise is that the 2010 Affordable Care Act is a duly enacted federal law;
The House of Representatives has a duty to appropriate funding for the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
The corollaries are urged (1) that if the House declines to appropriate monies for Obamacare, the House is in dereliction of its duty to fund all duly enacted federal programs; (2) that the Senate has a duty to reject any bills of appropriation for the remainder of government operations, in order to coerce the House to fund the 2010 Affordable Care Act; (3) that if this conflict between the House and the Senate results in a cessation of government operations across the board, or in a default of US government debts, that is a blameworthy event, attributable to the House’s “dereliction” of its duty to fund Obamacare. So they are saying the House is “dysfunctional.”
So: The Senators are the good guys, because they are trying to secure funding for a duly enacted law. The House Republicans are “anarchists” because they want to obstruct the will of the American people as reflected in that law.
This is a very clean piece of reasoning, except that the major premise of the argument is false and our media are either so ignorant of eleventh grade principles of government, or so up the leg “tingly” about Barack Obama that they have failed to put this dispute into an accurate context. And so the people are well on their way to deciding who the good guys and bad guys are based on demagoguery.
Now listen up, folks: I got a “B” in Government at Carson City-Crystal Area High School in 1976 and I know plenty:
Under our Constitution, the duties of the House of Representatives include to originate proposals for the appropriation of funds for government programs. The Senate can’t do that. Now: implied in that power is the discretion to withhold funding for disfavored federal programs. And the Senate can’t say: “Wait just a gosh darn minute. We’re going to fund cheese stick research, with or without you!” No, sir: Read Federalist #58. It’s all there: Just as the President has the power to “obstruct” Congress (actually, the word is to “check” Congress) by issuing a veto against any law he disfavors—the framers of our Constitution have balanced the presidential veto with a House prerogative to check the operation of a disfavored federal program by withholding funding. This is the power of the purse.
So how does that apply here? Well: To say that this deadlock is indicative of “dysfunctionality” is like saying that the mutual opposition of tectonic plates is dysfunctional. No, it’s not. That’s how God makes mountains. To say that the House Republicans who are opposing Obamacare are “anarchists” for denying funding is just wrong. This is not an anarchist impulse. This is a democratic impulse, expressly provided under our separation of powers.
Our media are so biased in favor of the totalitarian welfare state they can’t even recognize the responsibility which self government entails. Remember: Your government exists and operates by consent of the governed.
That’s you. When the House says: “No way” to a federal program, that’s an example of the representatives of the governed withholding consent. And that’s beautiful.
Is it always”dysfunctional” for the federal government to stop doing what it’s doing? Consider what the federal government has been doing:
In 2012, our government spent $3.5 trillion at a rate of $1.40 for every $1 it collected in taxes. At $17 trillion, our public debt exceeds 100% of or annual Gross Domestic Product, and that’s just the debts we show on the books: Our unfunded liabilities exceed our GDP by a factor of 7.
In 2012, our military “defense” budget was $689 billion, of which $214 billion of that was consumed by corporations which design and manufacture military hardware, drones and basically figure our more efficient ways to spy on us, blow stuff up and kill people. In fact, ‘[t]he United States spends 58 percent of the total defense dollars paid out by the world’s top 10 military powers, which combined for $1.19 trillion in military funding in 2011. With its unparalleled global reach, the US outspends China, the next-biggest military power, by nearly 6-to-1. See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/06/defense-spending-fact-of-the-da…
Ain’t that a shocker? Ain’t that outrageous? Not really.: US military spending was only 19% of the federal budget in 2012; so all that corporate welfare to the nasty, evil military industrial complex was 19% of the problem.
Besides: The presence of US armed forces all over the world is the primary factor in securing the flow of goods through the sea lanes all over the world. By protecting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia—thanks, Richard Nixon— the same US military insures that crude oil will be sold only in US dollars. By this noble covenant, the US is are able to insure that every other nation on earth will need our otherwise baseless fiat money to buy crude oil. That’s how we maintain our status as the banker to the world: We make the world’s reserve currency and that insures continuing demand for it, no matter how much we borrow for our entitlement programs.
That’s how we are able extract wealth from all the other nations of the world, every month, even though we are the world’s largest debtor nation; without contributing anything to the proliferation of goods and services other than our “protection”. See? We’re a regular Caliphate, and we don’t even have a religion anymore. Ain’t that great?
Yes, yes: Sometimes we have to gin up kids in the midwest and the south and maybe one or two hispanic non-citizens to “fight for freedom” in the unending series of dirty little wars we start for God and apple; but did you think Obama bowed down to the King of Saudi Arabia because he a secret Muslim? Think again: We are protecting the poppy fields in Afghanistan from the Taliban; meanwhile, we are also arming like minded extremists from Saudi Arabia who are fighting Bashir al Assad in Syria. Sure: We sent $3 billion to Israel in 2012. Between the fundamentalist Christians who think they’re special, and American Jews who know they are, that’s just a cost of doing business in American political landscape. Meanwhile, we’re to suppose it’s a complete accident that every foreign policy decision Obama has ever made in Israel’s neighborhood has left a Muslim Brotherhood style regime which has been inclined to march on Jerusalem—but who cares if they eat the organs of their enemies? They are the friends the Saudi King. Besides: We’re still bombing funerals in Yemen, and selling arms to third world warlords all over the planet! So kwitcherbitchin’.
American policy is schizoid to the point of nihilism until you consider that we have to please the Saudis to maintain the hegemony of our dollar as the medium of exchange for OPEC oil so we can continue to fund our entitlement state. That’s why we support these Islamist efforts at the same time we support Israel. It’s kind of like taxing cigarettes and subsidizing North Carolina tobacco. It’s not about a coherent federal policy. It’s about people wanting to go back to Washington so their kids can get into Yale. See? You’re supporting a royal political class.
Pissed off yet? I’m working on it.
At any rate: Are you a New Deal liberal? Don’t complain about US military spending. It’s the only thing keeping the plates spinning.
Entitlements consumed 66% of federal spending in 2012: $773 billion went to social security. Medicare, medicaid, and CHIP took another $732 billion, and $411 billion went to “safety net” programs that we really need to take care of our elderly and our infirm due to the “dysfunctionality” of the American family, and the absence of philanthropy, which has pretty much been taxed out of existence.
The traditional American family has been so far injured, economically and emotionally, by the onset of the two parent working household, and by the depression of household sustaining employment which our ridiculous debt to GDP ratio has wrought to private sector job creation, that people are not prosperous enough to do what families have done for elderly and infirm people since before the Pyramids were built. These economic and social injuries were inflicted by the a federal government which is captive to the belief that the government, not the family, is the fundamental social rudiment. Those are the people who are proposing to take over the health care industry now. According to the Government Accounting Office, the Affordable Care Act is going to add $6.3 trillion to the public debt over the long term. Now that’s dysfunctional.
People who aren’t alienated from their families understand that.
It was against this backdrop, in 2010, that Americans sent a lot of people to the House of Representatives on a solemn promise to fight Obamacare, tooth and nail. Do you remember that? Do you remember that Obama lost the House of Representatives in 2010? That’s why; and those representatives are sitting in the House, right now, with the same mandate to obstruct the Affordable Care Act as Barack Obama has to implement it.
Between 2010 and the 2012 election, the IRS colluded with the Federal Elections Commission to bully Tea Party activist groups into silence. The mainstream media, acting in aid of this conspiracy—yes, CONSPIRACY— between the IRS and the FEC to stifle First Amendment political expression designed to repeal Obamacare, made “Tea Party” a dirty word, and frightened the establishment republicans. And that’s why the party is fragmented to this day. The Republicans are cowards, and the Obama administration is a repressive third world totalitarian dictatorship.
Americans, you are in a uniquely favorable position to exercise real and immediate authority over the disposition of the matter. The solution to the deadlock between the House and the Senate and the President lies with the you. Are you willing to accept another $6 trillion in long term debt? If not, you better crank up the phone and let you representative know your views. If so, you’re living in a world which is hanging on a very slender thread; you are averse to facts which threaten your paradigm, and you haven’t read this far anyway.