Category Archive 'Government Shutdown'
04 Oct 2013

The House of Representatives and the Power of the Purse

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Scene from the Constitutional Convention of 1787

Andrew C. McCarthy delivers a nice history lesson on why the framers accorded the House of Representatives the power of the purse and then explains why that power both can and should to be applied to defund Obamacare.

Let’s move directly to the 1787 convention in Philadelphia.

One of the major challenges confronting the delegates was to broker the competing claims of small and large states. As Franklin summarized, “If a proportional representation takes place, the small States contend that their liberties will be in danger. If an equality of votes is to be put in its place, the large States say their money will be in danger.” This resulted, of course, in the great compromise: equality among states in the Senate and proportional representation (by population) in the House. But this arrangement was inadequate to quell the large states’ fears; it was also necessary to tinker with the powers assigned to the two chambers. As Franklin put it, the Senate would be restricted generally in all appropriations & dispositions of money to be drawn out of the General Treasury; and in all laws for supplying that Treasury, the Delegates of the several States shall have suffrage in proportion to the Sums which their respective States do actually contribute to the Treasury [emphasis added].

When the Origination Clause was specifically taken up, a spirited debate ensued, with some delegates protesting against restrictions on the Senate. According to Madison’s records, however, what “generally prevailed” was the argument of George Mason:

The consideration which weighed with the Committee was that the 1st branch [i.e., the House of Representatives] would be the immediate representatives of the people, the 2nd [the Senate] would not. Should the latter have the power of giving away the people’s money, they might soon forget the source from whence they received it [emphasis added]. We might soon have an Aristocracy.

Mason’s concerns seem prescient in our era of mammoth national government presided over by an entrenched ruling class of professional politicians. He worried that

the Senate is not like the H. of Representatives chosen frequently and obliged to return frequently among the people. They are chosen by the Sts for 6 years, will probably settle themselves at the seat of Government, will pursue schemes for their aggrandizement. . . . If the Senate can originate, they will in the recess of the Legislative Sessions, hatch their mischievous projects, for their own purposes, and have their money bills ready cut & dried, (to use a common phrase) for the meeting of the H. of Representatives. . . . The purse strings should be in the hands of the Representatives of the people.

Yes, the purse strings, not just the power to tax. Concededly, the Origination Clause speaks of bills “for raising revenue.” In selling the Constitution to the nation, though, it was portrayed as securing in the hands of the people’s representatives the power of the purse. It is an empty power if spending is not included.

The relevant paragraph in Madison’s Federalist No. 58 is worth quoting in full (all italics mine):

A constitutional and infallible resource still remains with the larger states by which they will be able at all times to accomplish their just purposes. The House of Representatives cannot only refuse, but they alone can propose the supplies requisite for the support of government. They, in a word, hold the purse — that powerful instrument by which we behold, in the history of the British constitution, an infant and humble representation of the people gradually enlarging the sphere of its activity and importance, and finally reducing, as far as it seems to have wished, all overgrown prerogatives of the other branches of the government. This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.

To my mind, what Madison describes unquestionably transcends taxing authority. I believe a “complete and effectual weapon . . . for obtaining a redress of every grievance” must give “the immediate representatives of the people” the power to block funding for a government takeover of health care that was enacted by fraud and strong-arming; that was adamantly represented not to be the tax that the Supreme Court later found it to be; and that is substantially opposed by the people, and has been since its enactment.

03 Oct 2013

Liberals Find It Scary

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03 Oct 2013

Tweet of the Day

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03 Oct 2013

Odama Administration Spends Money to Shut Down Privately-Funded, Privately-Operated Park Costing the Government Nothing

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Claude Moore Colonial Farm, McLean, Virginia

The Obama Administration sent the National Park Service out to shut down McLean, Virginia’s 1771 Claude Moore Colonial Farm, a privately funded and operated park, which is federally-owned, but which has received no federal monies since 1980 and which is not actually costing the federal government a dime.

The park’s managing director writes:

The first casualty of this arbitrary action was the McLean Chamber of Commerce who were having a large annual event at the Pavilions on Tuesday evening. The NPS sent the Park Police over to remove the Pavilions staff and Chamber volunteers from the property while they were trying to set up for their event. Fortunately, the Chamber has friends and they were able to move to another location and salvage what was left of their party. You do have to wonder about the wisdom of an organization that would use staff they don’t have the money to pay to evict visitors from a park site that operates without costing them any money.

Every appeal our Board of Directors made to the NPS administration was denied. They feel that as “landlord” they have absolute control of their property. The NPS is quoted today in the Washington Post saying “The monuments are closed because, during a shutdown, there is no money to pay the rangers who staff them”, said the Park Service spokeswoman, Carol Bradley Johnson.” And the agency is worried about the security of the memorials and the safety of visitors at unstaffed sites. “It is not something we enjoy doing,” Johnson said. “But it’s important that we protect and preserve our monuments for future generations.”

We have operated the Farm successfully for 32 years after the NPS cut the Farm from its budget in 1980 and are fully staffed and prepared to open today. But there are barricades at the Pavilions and entrance to the Farm. And if you were to park on the grass and visit on your own, you run the risk of being arrested. Of course, that will cost the NPS staff salaries to police the Farm against intruders while leaving it open will cost them nothing. …

In all the years I have worked with the National Park Service, first as a volunteer for 6 years in Richmond where I grew up, then as an NPS employee at the for 8 very long years and now enjoyably as managing director for the last 32 years – I have never worked with a more arrogant, arbitrary and vindictive group representing the NPS.

02 Oct 2013

The Government Has Not Shut Down

Matt Walsh puts it into the correct perspective.

The world has never seen an entity as expensive, inefficient and wasteful as the American government. Never. Today I’ve heard people lament that they are “ashamed” of their country because of the “shutdown.” I think they ought to be more ashamed when the government is fully operational. The federal government is embarrassing on a historic scale. Our Founders fought to escape the crushing tyranny of the British crown. Do you think they envisioned establishing a new government that would soon dwarf, in size and scope, every other government in the history of mankind?

Read the whole thing.

02 Oct 2013

Consequences of a Government Shutdown

From Bill Kaplan:

The consequences of government shutdown:

10) Sandra Fluke will have to spend $8.95 at Walgreens.

9) Pages intentionally left blank will not have the phrase “Intentionally Left Blank” printed on them.

8) Light bulbs will remain incandescent.

7) The IRS, EPA, OSHA, NSA and TSA will no longer able to serve your needs.

6) Edgy outsider artists forced to fearlessly challenge society without society’s money.

5) Dallas police department forced to make do with only 6 tank divisions.

4) Lack of lawn mower warning stickers leads to widespread amputations, decapitations.

3) Strip club ATMs no longer accept EBT cards; results in lower income for single moms.

2) How will drug cartels get their guns now?

1) Second graders will get off scot free after chewing their sandwiches into the shape of a gun.

01 Apr 2011

Possible Government Shutdown

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All you need to know about government bureaucracy:

** Pythagorean theorem: ………………………………………24 words.

** Lord’s prayer:……………………………………………………66 words.

** Archimedes’ Principle: ………………………………………67 words.

** 10 Commandments: ………………………………………..179 words.

** Gettysburg address: ………………………………………..286 words.

** Declaration of Independence : ………………………..1,300 words.

** US Constitution with 27 Amendments : ……………. 7,818 words.

** US Government regulations on sale of cabbage: 26,911 words.

Hat tip to Theo Spark.

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