By Mark David Blum, Esq.
As I have been listening to the "debate" in the House of Representatives about the Debt Ceiling Bill du jour, and I have surfed through all news sites and talking heads on cable radio, my bullshit meter finally burst. I am choking down my own bile and resisting the urge to grab them all by the collar and tell them to stop the lies and rhetoric. They should at least tell the truth; regardless of their political posture on the issue. I cannot stand the gamesmanship being played. When I expect debate and discussion, I get hot air and falsehoods being passed off as substantive solutions.
As an aside: Why do they call what goes on on the floor of the House of Representatives a "debate". Speakers gets a minute to make their case; which 9 out10 times is a regurgitation of what was said by the last member of that party to take the floor. I want to meet the congressperson who heard a one minute speech, smacked themselves in the forehead having had a sudden epiphany, and changed their vote as a result? A debate is supposed to be a debate; an exchange of ideas; intellectual intercourse.
It is time to set the record straight on this whole drama unfolding in Washington. Everybody is lying to me and I have reached my limit. Everybody involved; including those nattering nabobs of negativity at the networks have a responsibility to be honest. Blame for it all falls squarely in the lap of Congress and especially upon the Republicans.
Here, let me explain:
FIRST, the debt and deficit are not the same. The debt is what we owe for sins of the past. By contrast, the deficit is what we are going to owe in the future if we do not stop it now. It is a lie to link the two.
SECOND, Article One, Section Seven of the Constitution puts the burden on the House of Representatives to orignate all spending bills. Spending bills do NOT come out of the Senate or the White House. Those who blame the President or the Senate for not having a plan are using a straw man lie to divert attention from their own failures.
THIRD, Article One Section Eight of the Constitution says it is the job of Congress to allocate monies. The President can only spend those monies given to him by Congress and only on those projects authorized by law. Stop calling the President a big spender when he lacks the authority to spend anything when he is not obligated.
FOURTH, stop blaming the President or this administration for the sky high debt. The huge hole in our finances comes from decades of Congress voting for pork projects and Xmas tree bills. A nickel here and a dime there and suddenly it has all added up to real money. The problem however is not the responsibility of the White House but instead belongs in the lap of the People's house and decades of binge spending on bridges to nowhere, two wars, creation of Homeland Security and TSA. In other words, a decade and a half of wasteful grotesque spending by legislators.
FIFTH, it is the responsibility of Congress to fix the problem. They are the ones to legislate down the size and scope of the federal government and debt. Instead of just tendering large checks, Congress should do their jobs and actually write into the legislation spending limits for agencies and eliminate all those oppressive rules about which legislators complain. Congress, do your job.
SIXTH, shame on Congress for wasting all the time, money, and resources for a false debate over the debt ceiling. This was valuable time that could have been spent on job creation and fixing systemic problems. The lies and jockeying for news show interviews has taken so much from the nation that can never be recovered.
SEVENTH, there is no choice but to either raise the debt ceiling or declare that we are just going to no longer honor our creditors. Americans are walking away from their upside down mortgages. Perhaps that may be the best way out of this mess. Reality dictates that taxes have to be raised, loopholes closed, and jobs created so as to raise revenues sufficient to meet our obligations. We also need to cut our government down to size and to reevaluate the role the federal government should play in the our political system. Just because Congress can do something, the question remains whether they should.
Let me say that it is about time Congress had this discussion; about debt and deficit. This is a good thing because our massive debt and deficit are serious problems. To tie these problems to the debt ceiling is a serious mistake and has caused tremendous harm to the nation and world economies. Settle the debt ceiling issue. Then get to the meat and potatoes of cutting spending.