In weaving their story that Obama alone is the catalyst of our crisis, the Republican establishment counts on the constitutional illiteracy of the electorate. The inescapable fact, however, is that all taxing and spending bills enacted by the federal government must originate in the House. The GOP’s all purpose abdication mantra, “We’re only one-half of one-third of the government,” would be laughable if our straits were not so dire. When was the last time you heard the left-leaning bloc of Supreme Court justices say, “We can’t impose our policy preferences on the country. After all, we’re only one-half of one-third of the government”? When was the last time President Obama restrained himself from issuing executive orders conferring, say, privileges on illegal aliens, by explaining that he is only is only one-third of the government (a third, mind you, with zero constitutional authority to confer anything).
In constitutional law, the pertinent issue is never what percentage of total power is allocated to a branch. The question is: Which branch is given supremacy over the relevant subject matter. On the subject matter of taxing and spending – including the task of setting the parameters of the government’s authority to borrow and spend – Congress is supreme and the House has pride of place. It is certainly true that congressional Republicans cannot force President Obama to sign bills and cannot, given the number of Democrats in both chambers, expect to override presidential vetoes. Nevertheless, spending requires legislative authority that originates in the House. It is not a matter of executive diktat. President Obama would not have a dime to spend unless the House and the Senate agreed to give it to him. The government could not borrow more money for President Obama to spend unless the House and the Senate both authorized the borrowing.
It is not that Republicans are powerless to tackle our debt crisis. It is that they lack the will. Just as they are stuck politically in 1964 – having forgotten the Reagan landslides, they’ve convinced themselves that embracing conservatism leads inevitably to Goldwater thumpings – Republicans are frozen in 1995 when it comes to spending. Even though the national debt is now well over three times (soon to be four times) what it was when Bill Clinton and the pre-Fox media successfully demagogued them for shutting down the government, the Republican establishment clearly believes it lacks the competence to make a convincing public case that there is no more money left.
On that, perhaps, we should agree – it is time to explore other options.
The spendaholic government that the Republican establishment has colluded with Democrats to give us has created a debacle in which mandatory spending (entitlements plus interest on the debt) now outstrips revenues by a quarter of a trillion dollars (and rising fast). That is, we are already in a perennial, structural $250 billion debt hole before the government proceeds to pile on its enormous discretionary spending – including $700 billion in military spending and added tens of billions in other national security spending that Republicans would increase if given their druthers, along with another $600 billion and change spread over an endless array of matters that Republicans, in apparent agreement with Democrats, have decided that the states and the people cannot handle without federal instruction.
The Middle East, meanwhile, is aflame. A heavy contributing factor is the American policy of embracing and empowering the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamists allies, very much including al Qaeda. The Brotherhood is a committed enemy of the United States. In 2007-08, the Justice Department proved that it considers the destruction of Western civilization from within to be its principal mission in the United States.