On shutdowns and ceilings
To the Editor:
Unfortunately today a lot of “stuff” gets thrown out there, and people who don’t know better just accept it as fact. Here’s the facts.
1. Congress controls the purse strings. That means they decide what to spend and when to spend it. The Debt Ceiling does not stop them from spending one trillion dollars more today than last year. It merely says that they cannot pay the debt once it’s incurred without raising the limit. It’s the stupidest of laws and like you buying a new car on credit this year and then next year deciding you don’t want to spend that much. If Republicans were REALLY against debt they’d institute a SPENDING Ceiling. They never have and never will.
2. When Congress reaches the end of its funds to pay its bills it either has to raise revenues or increase debt. Constitutionally there is no way around that since Amendment 14, Section 4 of the Constitution demands that our debts shall not be questioned. But never forget that it was Congress that ran up those debts to begin with. All of them. The President doesn’t have the authority to increase one dollar of spending. That has to be authorized by the Congress.
3. Closing the government to ‘kill Obamacare’ might have made great Fox News talking points, but the people who live in the real world, including many Senatorial and House Republicans admitted all along that it was a farce and could never happen. Defunding it was dead as well because the law came with its own funding guaranteed like Medicare which also did not shut down.
4. The President didn’t close the government. He has no power under the Constitution to do so. He can shout at Congress for all he’s worth, and Congress can keep paying itself and keep the government open. The Republicans did this. Ask John McCain or Susan Collins. It is more than hypocritical to shut down the government, then rush outside to insult National Park Rangers who are only trying to do the job YOU hired them to do (at no pay) and claim that the closed monuments are THEIR fault. Most of the veterans there weren’t that stupid.
You can fool some of the people some of the time. But the country is gradually coming out of its four-year stupor. The Tea Party has done us all a favor by teaching us a hard lesson. When the pendulum swings way too far right bad things happen. Propaganda trumps Journalism, belief trumps evidence, and we begin to have laws written or repealed not by majority vote but by blackmail. If the situation had been reversed and Democrats shut down the government until a law was passed making assault rifles illegal would that be all right? For years now the Right has made open war on women, minorities, the poor, and even the middle class. Now their chickens will come home to roost.