Thomas Sowell view

October 11, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

From: This is a piece written by Thomas Sowell,
who is also the author of "Black Red Necks and White Liberals".
He is also a Fellow at the Hoover Institute which is a "think tank" in Virginia.
He has taken the mystery out of the "Shut-Down Circus" in Washington.
Interestingly enough,
Dr. Sowell is a black man.

* * * * *

Even when it comes to something as basic, and apparently as simple and
straightforward, as the question of who shut down the federal
government, there are diametrically opposite answers, depending on
whether you talk to Democrats or to Republicans.

There is really nothing complicated about the facts. The
Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted all the money
required to keep all government activities going --
except for ObamaCare.

This is not a matter of opinion. You can check the Congressional Record.

As for the House of Representatives' right to grant or withhold money,
that is not a matter of opinion either. You can check the Constitution
of the United States. All spending bills must originate in the House
of Representatives, which means that Congressmen there have a right to
decide whether or not they want to spend money on a particular
government activity.

Whether ObamaCare is good, bad, or indifferent is a matter of opinion.
But it is a matter of fact that members of the House of Representatives
have a right to make spending decisions based on their opinion.

ObamaCare is indeed "the law of the land," as its supporters keep
saying, and the Supreme Court has upheld its Constitutionality.

But the whole point of having a division of powers within the federal
government is that each branch can decide independently what it wants
to do or not do, regardless of what the other branches do, when
exercising the powers specifically granted to that branch by the
Constitution.

The hundreds of thousands of government workers who have been laid off
are not idle because the House of Representatives did not vote enough
money to pay their salaries or the other expenses of their agencies --
unless they are in an agency that would administer ObamaCare.

Since we cannot read minds, we cannot say who -- if anybody -- "wants
to shut down the government." But we do know who had the option to
keep the government running and chose not to. The money voted by the
House of Representatives covered everything that the government does,
except for ObamaCare.

The Senate chose not to vote to authorize that money to be spent,
because it did not include money for ObamaCare. Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid says that he wants a "clean" bill from the House of
Representatives, and some in the media keep repeating the word "clean"
like a mantra. But what is unclean about not giving Harry Reid
everything he wants?

If Senator Reid and President Obama refuse to accept the money
required to run the government, because it leaves out the money they
want to run ObamaCare, that is their right.
But that is also their responsibility.
[Emphasis added; Earl J.]

You cannot blame other people for not giving you everything you want.
And it is a fraud to blame them when you refuse to use the money they
did vote, even when it is ample to pay for everything else in the
government.

When Barack Obama keeps claiming that it is some new outrage for those
who control the money to try to change government policy by granting
or withholding money, that is simply a bald-faced lie. You can check
the history of other examples of "legislation by appropriation" as it
used to be called.

Whether legislation by appropriation is a good idea or a bad idea is a
matter of opinion. But whether it is both legal and not unprecedented
is a matter of fact.

Perhaps the biggest of the big lies is that the government will not be
able to pay what it owes on the national debt, creating a danger of
default. Tax money keeps coming into the Treasury during the shutdown,
and it vastly exceeds the interest that has to be paid on the national
debt.

Even if the debt ceiling is not lifted, that only means that
government is not allowed to run up new debt. But that does not mean
that it is unable to pay the interest on existing debt.

None of this is rocket science. But unless the Republicans get their
side of the story out -- and articulation has never been their strong
suit -- the lies will win. More important, the whole country will
lose.

---Thomas Sowell


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