Tag Archives: President

Budget Control Act of 2011


It’s hard to not be cynical on this plan. Instead of putting my spin on this plan, it is now your turn. We have great thinkers who read this blog. Let’s here from you. Here is the .pdf legislative language (all 74 pages). Have a read, tell us who is the big loser politically is and give us your comments.

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The Constitutionality of the McConnell Debt Ceiling Plan


Isn’t it odd that the in the House of Representatives, the Republicans added a rule to read parts of the Constitution that justifies any new bill while the Senate Republicans want to defy the Constitution? Senator Mitch McConnell wants to allow the President to propose an increase to the debt limit in which Congress will vote on its “approval”. Unlike a bill that would come out of Congress and allow the President to sign it and therefore become law, the McConnell plan allows the President to veto a Congressional vote that is not in favor of an approval or “Disapproves” the proposal. According to the McConnell plan, this veto would then allow the president on his own power to raise the debt ceiling.

This is wrong on multiple levels. Politically, it is cowardly to see the desire to on one hand allow the debt ceiling to be raised, but on the other hand have a majority vote against it for political cover. Politics, however, has not always been the most noble profession and this is no exception. The big problem is with the Constitutionality of this this move. The framers of the Constitution were very clear about which branch has the ability to raise debt.  It is spelled out in Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution that the branch with such power is the Legislature:

Powers of Congress
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

The McConnell Plan would transfer this power, albeit with a time limit, to the Executive Branch by enabling the President to usurp Legislative power and rule of law with the use of a Veto. The Constitution is very clear about putting the purse strings of the United States in the hands of the Legislature.  They understood that the body to authorize spending must be separate from the body that actually spends. The concentration of both authorizing and spending power in one person’s hands is too great.

James Madison warned of this in The Federalist Papers #47. He wrote:

The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny. Were the federal Constitution, therefore, really chargeable with the accumulation of power, or with a mixture of powers, having a dangerous tendency to such an accumulation, no further arguments would be necessary to inspire a universal reprobation of the system.

Madison warns us of placing powers in the hands of one branch that are not subject to the checks and balances of the others. Congress should not be able to circumvent the Constitution and cede power to the President (even if they wish to). It is odd that the very party that wants to see the President ousted from office in the next election is so willing to hand over their own power to the very same President.

Our only hope, if this plan becomes law, is that the Supreme Court in short order declares this plan to be un-Constitutional. However, that in and of itself creates a domino effect of issues surrounding any of the debt related activities that the President under the plan.

Section 4 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution states:

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

If the Supreme Court were to rule on the plan as un-Constitutional, what would happen to any debts taken under that plan? Is there a Constitutional crisis when two sections of the Constitution would conflict?

Given the limited time before the United States has to raise the debt ceiling and the Constitutional issues with the McConnell plan, I have to question the judgement of the very people considering it on both sides.

Tax Cuts Win Passage, Debt Increases Another $850 billion


I like tax cuts. I really do. It feels like in general, we can spend our money better than the government. That said, this latest “bipartisan” deal to extend the Bush tax rates and unemployment makes me wonder what was actually compromised? Both parties got what they wanted. Nobody took a hair cut… nobody. Well that’s not completely true. The deficit took one on the chin to the tune of $850 billion. Why couldn’t we pay for this $850 billion in some way? Even a plan that would have payed for it over 5, 10 or even 15 years would show that our government is serious about the debt. Instead, we have more of the same… spend and cut taxes with borrowed money.

Is anyone else concerned?

Glenn

Obama Superbowl Day Interview


Part 1

Part 2

President Obama speaks with Matt Lauer on NBC prior to Superbowl XLIII.

Obama Economic Team Press Briefing


President-elect Barack Obama officially announces his economic team members:

  • Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury
  • Lawrence Summers, Director of the National Economic Council
  • Christina Romer, Director of the Council of Economic Advisors
  • Melody Barnes, Director of the Domestic Policy Council
  • Heather Higginbottom, Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council.

Obama to Have Laptop in Oval Office


I have a dream…

I just learned that President-Elect Barack Obama will have a laptop on his desk in the Oval Office. Duhhh, you say? Well, did you also know that Obama will be the first president in the history of the USA to use a laptop on his desk? Why is this important? It is a sign. A sign of a president who does plan on doing work on his desk and he will harness the productivity power of the computer. It also is an indication of someone that understands the tremendous power of the Internet. Think about this — as President of the United States, you are isolated. You are surrounded by security and staffers who shield the outside world. Your exposure to TV is probably filtered by people who identify critical news that you should watch. Your world view is viewed by the professionals that brief on world affairs, history and recommended responses. You essentially live in an Ivory Tower known as the Presidency.

Now we will have a President who hopefully will at least have access to a Web browser. Imagine that… a president who can read news, blogs, social media rants and even home made videos on YouTube. Do I dare think that the isolation of the Presidency that delivers President George Herbet Walker Bush did not know the price of a gallon of milk, will be shattered with the use of a laptop in the Oval Office?

Maybe I am dreaming. But maybe, just maybe, we will have a President who will solicit his own information leveraging the same tool that millions of us have come to rely on every day. – Glenn

Bailout Bill Signed Into Law


President Bush today signed the largest financial bailout bill in the history of the world. The financial bailout bill represents over $700 billion dollars that the US Treasury will have at its desposal to purchase bad debt from financial institutions with the goal of easing the ever tightening credit crunch that is currently spreading throught the world.