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Who shut down the government?

Thomas Sowell's picture

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.

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 is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is www.tsowell.com.] COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM

Comments

G35 Dude's picture

Good article Mr. Sowell. The Republicans have fallen short lately in several areas. I think the shortage of people voting in the last election, almost 7 million less than 08 even with 15 million more registered, is evidence that people wanted to oust Obama but couldn't get excited about Obama lite. (Romney) So they just stayed home. Until Republicans get their act together or until we have a solid 3rd party the Dem's will be in control. At heart I'm really a Lib. I wish they could field a viable candidate.

You can't use logic with an illogical person.

Hurting the pubs.

They do not seem to want to stay out of folks bedrooms.

Agreed, Spy-man. Social issues are killing the Republicans because they are seen as the "Party of No." However, the tea party is the main culprit because they represent a shrinking base who require unflinching acquiescence to a narrow ideology that is at odds with the demographics of the broad American electorate.

And socially liberal. I usually vote Libertarian. Proud of it.

PTC Observer's picture

So you don't have many to vote for do you Spy?

Gort's picture

Spyglass, Republican politics doesn’t show any sign of abandoning social issues any time soon. The religious right is a dependable voting block and even the TeaParty acknowledges their power.

Example:

Take a look at this photo, Eric Cantor released, of GOP members at the ‘bargaining table.’

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/cantor-house-gop-invite-democra...

Notice how it resembles DiVinci’s painting of “The Last Supper?” Now take a close look at Eric Cantor sitting at the table?

Is he supposed to be Jesus or Judas Iscariot?

AaaaUuuuuuuGaa ! Trick question!

They are all Judas in Eric Cantor’s picture!

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

Gort's picture

G35 I think many Republican voters stayed home because Romney would have let the Republicans kill Social Security and Medicare.

It seams to me, many Republicans don't like 'right wing social engineering' as much as their donor class hoped.

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

G35 Dude's picture

The numbers don't back up your theory Gort. Obama's vote total was 10 million lower in 2012 vs 2008. Looks like a lot of democrats choose to stay home too. In contrast Romney's total was only 2 million lower than McCains. In fact Obama's vote total in 2012 was 100k lower than McCains in 2008. And all of this with 15 million more registered voters. I stand by my earlier comment that people wanted to oust Obama but the republicans dropped the ball by not being able to field a candidate that the people could get excited about. It's also a statement about people in general being fed up with politics.

You can't use logic with an illogical person.

Gort's picture

G35, you can say anything you want but in the end some Republican voters did stay home and Obama got elected.

Low Democrats turnout was because of the point shaving tactics performed by Republican controlled states. (Long voter lines and voter ID laws.)

When you say the Republicans “dropped the ball” what does that mean? They didn’t do enough point shaving?

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

G35 Dude's picture

Sorry. I forgot who I was talking to. I can say anything I want? Well so can you. But I try to use facts and data to back up my point of view. People like you and DM don't let facts get in the way of your opinions.

You can't use logic with an illogical person.

PTC Observer's picture

you have to admit Gort is entertaining.

G35 Dude's picture

[quote]you have to admit Gort is entertaining.[/quote]

Yes I will have to give him that!!! LOL

You can't use logic with an illogical person.

Gort's picture

PTC_0 and G35, Aw shucks, I find you guys entertaining too!

Did I ever tell you about the time I was invited to a TeaParty meeting?

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

PTC Observer's picture

No, I've never been to one or even invited to one, did you go?

Gort's picture

PTC_0, heck yeah, I went. You must have been sleeping, like Rip Van Winkle back in 2009, if you didn’t get invited to a TeaParty meeting!

They were just getting warmed up in 2009, they called themselves the Southern Crescent Tea Party Patriots. (When I first saw the name I thought it was some sort of Saudi Arabian oil company. ; - )

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

PTC Observer's picture

Did you learn?

Come on Gort, these are softballs here.

Let's hear it!

BTW, I guess I was sleeping, no one invited me, nor did I go to one.

Gort's picture

PTC_0, I’ll take your word for it about the ‘softballs,” anyway here we go, Gort goes a TeaPartying,..

In the early days of the TeaParty, our neighborhood community organizer, (I call him Stars and Bars,) was going house to house, inviting folks to a local TeaParty meeting. I was curious so, I let my curiosity get the better of my judgment, and agreed to go.

On the big night I showed up at the parking lot of a small wooden church, with gothic style windows, and stone basement. I got out of my truck and was ushered to the basement stairs. Before anyone could enter, we had to rub our hand on a monkey paw. (Note: This wasn’t any old monkey paw you can buy in any convenience store, this monkey paw was the actual paw of Ronald Reagan’s co-star in ‘Bonzo Goes to College.’ Yes people, this is the paw that once held Ronald Reagan’s hand!)

With that out of the way, we descended the stairs, everyone was seated, and they began to chant in unison, what I can only described as, the Rush Limbaugh Prayer, a Hail Sarah Palin, (full of something,) and repeated Acts of Sedition!

I was not familiar with these chants so I just stuck out my tongue, blew air across it, and made a fart noise like this, “PPPLLLTTTT!” No one seemed to notice and if they did, they didn’t say anything, or maybe they thought it was just part of the show.

With the formal ceremonies over we were ushered up the stairs into the garden area next to the church. At the top of the stair was a man wearing a Glenn Beck mask, handing out lit sparklers. (It could have been SLindsey but with the mask on, I couldn’t be sure.) In the middle of the garden a large fire was burning, the flames reaching 20-30 feet into the air.

With one arm, the men hooked their thumb in their armpit while flapping their elbow up and down. The other arm was waving the sparkler in a counter clockwise circle as they danced around the fire, a hootin’ and a hollarin’ louder than Bonzo did when they cut off his paw!

That was enough for me, I hit the ground running, and you could hear me yelling a mile away, “Feet! Don’t fail me now!”

Now tell me PTC_0, do you think this is true or just a BS story I just made up?

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

NUK_1's picture

After enduring the misery of the Braves and Falcons last night, I needed a laugh. Touch that monkey paw!!!

Gort's picture

Nuk1, glad you enjoyed it. Panda Cams, monkey paws and now this.

http://www.thecitizen.com/articles/10-07-2013/poacher-discards-butchered...

Animal acts are catching on in “The Citizen.”

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

NUK_1's picture

Don't forget, there's always plenty of bull.... to go around too.

PTC Observer's picture

And was this just before the 2010 elections?

BTW, I don't think anything you write is "made up", why should I ever question your honesty Gort?

LOL

Gort's picture

PTC_0, well buddy in this case its all BS but Thomas Sowell started it!

; - )

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

Romney lost/ Obama won. Fact - not opinion.

Republicans are being blamed for the 'shutdown'.

So-called Intelligent/informed citizens are being interviewed and proudly stating that they are for AHC and against Obamacare. Most are from Red States. ( most American citizens, although confused about the Affordable Healthcare Law, are aware that Obamacare and AHC are one in the same.)

The Tea Party 'caucus' in Congress represents 16% of the population in the US. They are entitled to their opinions being represented in Congress, but they do not represent the majority of citizens in this country.

Facts.

G35 Dude's picture

Very good DM. Next time maybe you can even work on coming up with facts that pertain to the discussion at hand. LOL

You can't use logic with an illogical person.

Gort's picture

G35, you can’t fool Gort by posting a few numbers and pass them off as proof. Sorry buddy, all you got there is number salad, not proof.

BTW, did you know the G35, (and at least one owner,) has a wiring problem?

https://www.google.com/search?q=g35+wiring+problem&rlz=1C1CHKZ_enUS430US...

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

G35 Dude's picture

I did provide you with numbers that you can research and dispute if they're incorrect. But you don't have time to worry about that do you? LOL As for the wiring problem my car is an 05. I think this applies to the later models. At least I can say that I've never had a problem with this car. So far. Knock on wood. When I hit the lottery I'm going to get me a Q50. That's the model that replaced the G series this model year.

You can't use logic with an illogical person.

Gort's picture

G35, I wasn’t quibbling about the numbers, you were, and I didn’t want to play. I was merely speculating on the reason why they didn’t vote.

BTW, I was just ribbing you about the G35.

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

S. Lindsey's picture

... and every Progressive will repeat it.

Case in Point see the response from Gort...

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

Gort's picture

SLindsey, what do I care if a Libertarian Marxist like you calls me a Progressive? Heck, it makes me stronger and feels good too!

Progressives are for Social Security. You and your TeaParty represent Anti-Social Insecurity.

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

S. Lindsey's picture

It is only paying out more then it takes in.... Sort of like every Progressive
program. A loser to start with.

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

Gort's picture

SLindsey, I think it works fine, thank you for asking.

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

NUK_1's picture

It's not like the zoo cut-off its internet access and web-streaming is basically free, so let's PO people by doing something really stupid. Oh wait, let's barricade an outdoor park and monuments that are freely accessible 24/7 also, until now suddenly!

Anything to try and stir up the masses and blame someone else to "justify" and shift blame to how inept and incompetent both sides are.

Gort's picture

OMG! Not the Panda Cam!

Put 800K government employees out of work is okay but turn on the damn Panda Cam?

Nuk1, you're better than that.

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

NUK_1's picture

Why exactly turn off something you already have paid for? It's to irritate the people and make this ridiculous shutdown aggravate people.

It doesn't take anyone to run a Panda Cam or to NOT barricade a park, and then reinforce that barricade two days later. That's just asinine. That has absolutely zero to do with any "government shutdown" and is only being done to annoy people and try and prove a political point.

Gort's picture

Nuk1, it sounds to me like you're demanding more government!

How come the private sector doesn’t have a Panda Cam? Why does the government have to satisfy the lust of Panda voyeurs with my tax dollars? Besides, if the Panda has such a following, why not put it on cable “pay per view” and let the private sector handle it?

Then again, maybe they needed the extra bandwidth to sign up more people up for Obamacare!

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

NUK_1's picture

We don't need no stinkin' Panda Cams! :)

The fact that they shut them off in order to simply annoy people and make sure that they can find any way possible to annoy the general population about this "government shutdown" is the issue.

Cost savings of shutting-off the Panda Cams: ZERO. NONE. ZILCH.
When government and our elected leaders act like petulant teenagers: Priceless.

Gort's picture

Nuk1, okay, Panda Cams for everyone! No Panda Cams, No Peace! ; - )

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

Gort's picture

I heard the TeaParty lead Republican Party is no longer asking to defund Obamacare in their government hostage negotiations.

I think the last offer made by “Speaker John “BooHoo” Boehner was for a package of smokes from the commissary, a box of Kleenex from the GSA store room, and a promise by Sen. Ted Cruz that the Teaparty would not ‘kneecap’ his Republican members, (in the primaries,) that vote for a clean continuing resolution when he puts it on the floor.

Senator Cruz refused and the government stays closed. Representative Michele Bachmann says the Republicans have never been happier, everyone just milling around town, talking trash, mugging up for the cameras, and having a grand old time.

Well, not everyone. There are the 800K government employees put out of work, labor lost, and the Republican media propagandist, (like Mr. Sowell here,) tries like heck to put a positive spin on it.

I don’t know how they can even call themselves conservative and be so wasteful of time and labor.

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

PTC Observer's picture

Old separation of powers argument, aka the checks and balances argument, but we know that the Constitution has no merit when you're The President, or the Senate or the Supreme Court, clearly The House is simply "out voted"?

A very Progressive way of looking at the situation.

JeffC's picture

The fifth column extortionists in the House shut down the government. Everybody knows that and everybody knows why. Anyone who says different is either woefully ignorant or lying. Sowell is one of the liars.

G35 Dude's picture

Full of data and useful information to back up your position!!! LOL

You can't use logic with an illogical person.

JeffC's picture

Don't mind me. Nobody's mind is going to be changed by my interjecting data and useful information. The House Tea Party has been manufacturing a fiscal crisis every three months for the whole time they have been in office. They've been picking this fight for two years. Asking who shut down the government is silly.

PTC Observer's picture

Separation of powers is exactly what the Founders had in mind to minimize the likelihood that any one group or groups had the power to sieze freedom from the people. The social contract with our government is explicit, its role is to secure our Rights.

The shut down of government has not deprived anyone of their Rights or Freedom. It has protected them. Anytime "visionaries" that control the laws of the land decide to redistribute wealth from one class of individual to another, against their will, it is a violation of an individual's property rights. The power of the government to tax has its limits, it requires that an individual is willing to give up their property. It relies on a voluntary, compliant and faint-hearted populace that willingly gives up their property balanced against the potential punishment doled out by their representatives. It recalls past declarations:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it...

The history of the present King of The United States is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Senators to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws;
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Mr. Carter, which of these repeated injuries are we subjected to today by a government that derives it's power from the people? The only thing that stands between us and tyranny is the separation of powers. Mr. Obama, thank God, is not King.

The people running the bureaucracy are not in touch with reality or the nature of man.

[quote]The shut down of government has not deprived anyone of their Rights or Freedom[/quote]

You're right, just their paychecks and feeling of security. Guess what, in today's world , what do you think in reality comes first -Rights and Freedom or the paycheck to put food on the table and pay the rent/mortgage?

darrylwd's picture

Sorry to bust your bubble DM, but the Constitution comes first, hence why we have a national defense/military, and why soldiers, airmen and sailors have died protecting it. Food on the table... good grief. SMH

PTC Observer's picture

What's more frightening DM, is that you don't recognize which is more important.

No one feels happiness at the plight of the workers touched by this impasse but it is the House that decides what is funded or not funded, with the consent and approval of the Senate and President. This is how the Vietnam war was ultimately ended. The House continues to pass measures to help those impacted by the Senate's actions, and the Senate does not act. Why?

I think we all know why DM, ideology and power. It is not about pay checks or food on the table, it about politics.

The only question in the end is how will the outcome of this event impact the future of the American people? That remains to be seen.

JeffC's picture

This isn't about separation of powers. If the Tea Party doesn't like the ACA, let them win elections, pass their changes to the legislation through Congress and implement their agenda using the processes established by the Constitution. They can't do that because they don't have the votes so the Teas are trying to deliberately sabotage America’s economy and undermine the government because they cannot win any other way.

It's legislative blackmail and extortion by a minority of extremists in the House blocking implementation of laws approved by the Congress, signed by the President and vetted by the Supreme Court. The Affordable Care Act is the law. Which party has "... refused his Assent to Laws"? Which party is trying to "... abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments"? That would be your Tea Party, not Obama.

What would your position be if a small minority of Democrats in the House refused to fund the government until all illegal immigrants were granted amnesty? Wouldn't that be outrageous? It's the same thing.

G35 Dude's picture

[quote]What would your position be if a small minority of Democrats in the House refused to fund the government until all illegal immigrants were granted amnesty? Wouldn't that be outrageous? It's the same thing.[/quote]

I respectfully disagree with this statement. The ACA was passed by a democratic congress that admits that it never read the bill. Isn't that outrageous? Any elected official that votes for a bill that did not read it should be dismissed. The majority of the population does not want this bill. I personally feel that there should be a way for the people to recall a law just as there is a way to recall elected officials. The Tea Party, of which I'm not a member, only came into existence because of injustices like this. They are using extreme tactics because this is an extreme situation and there are no other recourses that can come in time to stop this law.

You can't use logic with an illogical person.

[quote] The ACA was passed by a democratic congress that admits that it never read the bill. Isn't that outrageous?[/quote]

90% of these representatives are Lawyers, in their practice do you think they would ever advise a Client to sign something with-out telling said Client to read the paper before signing? Then why would they do this to us, because it's not their Money, it's ours and they are throwing it away with-out a thought.
Sign something with-out reading it first, they should all be lined up against a wall and.....well you know, horse whipped, caned or something. Bastards!

JeffC's picture

This is all because of the collapse of responsibility by the members of Congress. We elect them to govern and the very, very least we should demand is that they produce a budget. Since we're talking about the Constitution, I want an amendment

"If during the course of two years, the Congress does not produce a budget, no sitting member of Congress during that term shall be eligible for further election to either the House of Representatives or to the Senate."

I feel like I'm giving them a break making it two years instead of just one.

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