The U.S. Constitution provides:

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.[i]

Only Congress can pass laws and appropriate federal expenditures.  Not a penny of federal money can be spent without the authorization of both houses of Congress—the House of Representatives and the Senate.  There is no escaping the fact that every dollar of federal debt, every failed subsidy, every bit of federal waste, was caused (or, at least, permitted) by Congress.  The fact that the federal government has entitled the recipients of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to benefits that are hopelessly underfunded is the fault of Congress.  The fact that, without passing a budget for years, Congress has permitted the president to run up trillion dollar deficits each year[ii] is undeniable proof that Congresses, both past and present, have been grossly negligent in their responsibility to control federal spending.  The fault is not so much that they don’t pass a budget, but that they have passed laws permitting trillions of dollars to be spent without a budget. This is true for both Republican and Democratic dominated Congresses, but more so for the Democrats.[iii]

It is surprising that any incumbent would claim his or her incumbency as a reason for re-election.  Incumbents who compromised with members of the other party to create the dismal financial future now facing the country should be ashamed, not proud, of what they have done.  Again, this is true of members of both parties.  It is more telling for Democrats, however, where in the Senate the Democrat majority simply refuses to permit bills to even be voted on.  The Democrats know that if they voted the party line on such bills, to prove their party loyalty, they would risk never being re-elected by an outraged public.  But refusal to permit votes is just as revealing as bad votes.  It proclaims how much their policies are against the will, and well-being, of the country.

In a Republic, as we so proudly proclaim, the public controls government—but only through the representatives, senators and presidents we elect.  Remember Lincoln’s “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”  It is true, therefore, that the faults of Congress can justifiably be laid at our door—the voters.  The fact that half the voters are excused from paying taxes and thus have little interest in the pending financial disaster is the fault of Congress.  The fact that the income tax laws are hopelessly complex and incomprehensible is also the fault of Congress.  But ultimately it is all the fault of the voters.  In a Republic, the voting public gets what it deserves.  Please do a better job of voting for Representatives and Senators than we have done in the past.  The Republic depends upon it.

[i]  U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7.


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  1. Cindy says:

    One of your best columns! Absolutely true.

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