The age-old question arises from its dark grim coffin once again. Who won the budget showdown last night? The answer is the same as it usually is, no one. At least, no red blooded constitutional thinking, American Patriot. Everyone who stayed up and watched the progress of this fiasco was witness to a thrilling example of incompetence.
Tea Party activists were betrayed by the Republicans they fought so hard to elect. Obama Care was not defunded. There was only 40 billion dollars of spending cuts (I'll get to that in a minute), Boehner failed to hold his ground on Planned Parenthood funding which will result in a continuation of the same and lawmakers will be pressured to add another 2 trillion or so to the debt ceiling in a couple of months because of it.
We have not yet seen the itemized list of spending cuts. Whether actual cuts, reductions in budget increase or a combination of the two remains to be seen. Either way, there are no victories here.
What does 40 billion dollars look like? A stack of 40 billion dollar bills would reach 2721 miles high. For the record, 2721 miles would take you from New York City to Los Angeles, and the international space station orbits the earth at an altitude of 218 to 221 miles. If laid end to end, 40 billion dollars would reach to the moon and back over 8 times! That's one huge spending cut...right?
Then again, let's consider this from a slightly different perspective.
- 40 billion dollars is only 4% of the amount we spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts to date.
- The Cash for Clunkers program cost Americans a cool 3 billion.
- One program of HUD, the Tenant Based Rental Assistance Program, alone cost over 19 billion dollars, almost half the amount of the spending cuts.
- Considering the unconstitutional Department of Education's 2012 budget request was over 50 billion, and they administer over 69 billion in unconstitutional discretionary appropriations, a whopping 40 billion in federal spending cuts just doesn't seem to be relevant.
- Do you remember the 800 billion poured into a failed stimulus program? Forty billion dollars is only 5% of that program.
Speeches and announcements by Boehner and numerous other Republicans echoed with the idea that we need smaller government. As I pondered these things last night, I began to question the wisdom of a quest for smaller government. Where is the standard? If it is smaller government we desire, that goal was obtained last night. The federal government will be spending less and we all potentially saved $133.33, our individual part of 40 billion.
Our lawmakers accomplished nothing of significance last night. Forty billion dollars is pocket change to them, relatively speaking. There was no victory, not to Republicans, Democrats or the American people.
We need a gauge by which to measure the successes of our lawmakers. What are really looking for? I suggest the U.S. Constitution is the only standard needed. The Constitution is the law that governs lawmakers. It is the governor of government.
The Constitution forbids the United States Government liberty to legislate activity, "not delegated to it by the Constitution". This budget agreement funds numerous entities not delegated to the United States Government. These entities are simply unconstitutional, making this budget illegitimate.
The 112th Congress, under the leadership of John Boehner, should have produced a bill defunding the Department of Education, Environmental Protection Agency, HUD, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Food and Drug Administration, Department of Homeland Security, participation in the United Nations, FEMA and the tens of thousands of other unconstitutional activities of the Federal Government. A refusal to cooperate in negotiations should have followed. Upon the event of a shutdown of the government, they would have succeeded in a properly managed constitutional government. It all begins in the House.
For purposes of clarification, a so-called government shutdown ceases only "non-essential" activity. The military, elected leaders and other essential operations remain fully intact.
Elected lawmakers wishing to leave a legacy of success must begin legislating in accordance with specific constitutional requirements and principles. Anything short will develop a perception of betrayal by present and future Patriots having reasonable levels of understanding.
The President took an oath to, "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States". Each Congressman took an oath to, "support and defend the Constitution of the United States". Every Congressman, regardless of party affiliation, who votes for this bill, should be removed from office as quickly as possible.
The American people must begin using our constitutional ruler to determine their elected Representatives' value. Budget reductions are woefully inadequate. Strict constitutional adherence alone will sufficiently address and correct almost every social and economic concern with which we currently struggle.