Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cut, Cap, and the Balanced Budget Amendment

From: Tea Party Nation

“Why the ‘Balanced Budget Amendment’ is a Hoax and a Deadly Trap
Posted by Publius Huldah on July 13, 2011 at 7:13am

By Publius Huldah

You can not responsibly support a proposed Amendment to Our Constitution unless you have read and understand the proposal and how it would change our Constitution. You must look behind the nice sounding name! Will the Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) really ‘reign in’ the federal government? Will it really ‘show them’ that they have to balance their budget the same as we do?

Or does it actually legalize spending which is now unconstitutional? Is it actually a massive grant of new constitutional powers to the President and the federal courts—a grant which will cut the Heart out of The Constitution our Framers gave us?

Amending the Constitution is serious business—and you are morally bound to get informed before you jump on The Amendment Bandwagon.

So, lay aside your giddy joy at the fact that all 47 U.S. Senate Republicans are co-sponsoring the Balanced Budget Amendment, Senate Joint Resolution 10 (March 31, 2011).

Let’s go through it. What you believe the BBA will do, and what it will actually do, are two very different things indeed.

But First: How Did We Get a National Debt of $14.4 Trillion?

Congress gave us a debt of $14.4 trillion which increases at the rate of $4 billion a day.

Let us look at a few of the items which comprise this $14.4 trillion debt: Congress spent $2.6 million to teach Chinese prostitutes how to drink responsibly. Congress appropriates $147 million a year to subsidize Brazilian cotton farmers. Congress spent $3.6 million to fund a study of the sex lives of dope-smoking, menstruating monkeys. Congress paid $500,000 to paint a salmon on an Alaska Airlines passenger jet. Congress appropriates $6.9 billion a year for the National Science Foundation where they fund such research as that which revealed the amazing fact that sick shrimp do not perform as well on stamina tests as do healthy shrimp.” “Citizens Against Government Waste’s pig book shows Congress spent $16,547,558,748. on pork projects last year. In Sen. Tom Coburn’s Waste Book 2010, which lists 100 spending projects, he shows that $1.5 million was spent to spruce up apartments in Shreveport, La. before they were torn down.

All this spending—every penny of it—and trillions more which is not here listed—has one thing in common: It is all unconstitutional as outside the scope of the powers delegated to Congress in the Constitution. Congress has no constitutional authority to spend money on these projects.

So! It was Congress’ unconstitutional spending which put us in the mess we are in today.

What Does Our Constitution Permit Congress To Spend Money On?

WE THE PEOPLE ordained and established a Constitution wherein the powers WE delegated to the federal government are limited and defined—‘enumerated‘. Read the list at Art. I, Sec. 8! Basically, all WE gave Congress authority to do for the Country at large is international relations, commerce & war; and domestically, the creation of an uniform commercial system (weights & measures, patents & copyrights, a money system based on gold & silver, bankruptcy laws, mail delivery & road building.) Some Amendments authorize Congress to make laws protecting civil rights. That’s about it, Folks! The list of objects on which Congress may lawfully appropriate funds is short. The only significant authorized expense is the military. James Madison, Father of the U.S. Constitution, said in Federalist No. 45 (9th paragraph):

‘The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.’

Note that Madison contemplated that the federal government would be financed in large part by taxation on foreign commerce. That is because the constitutional powers of the federal government are so limited & defined! The States and the People are to handle everything else.

Do you now see that Our Constitution does not authorize Congress to pay for a museum for neon signs ($5.2 million), to archive memorabilia for a rock group ($615,000), or to post poems in zoos ($997,766.)? [See Senate Coburn’s Waste Book 2010]. Congress has no lawful authority to do most of what they do. They just do it because they want to, they have been doing it for a long time, and WE haven’t known enough to stop them (Not knowing, not being vigilant, not realizing the overall impact, and not caring are the keys to the spending problem. Frankly, if there were demand for all of these “purchases,” free enterprise could do it better and more efficiently than government could. These things are government created “demand” rather than free enterprise “customer” created demand—my addition). Our $14.4 trillion debt was caused by Congress' spending in thousands of areas where they have no constitutional authority to spend (And NO demand for it to occur!—my addition).

Is the BBA Really the Solution?

So! These 47 Senate Republicans (and some in the House) are showing you how much they now ‘care’ about fiscal responsibility by supporting the BBA. But think: Why don’t they control their spending now? The Republicans control the House—NO spending can get through the House unless the Republicans approve it. So if the Republicans really wanted to control spending and balance the budget, they could do it now. Why don’t they do it? Because they don’t want to. (I think some do. Part of the problem is political considerations. There are still way too many RINO’S in power and then, of course, the Democrats do still control the Senate and the Presidency. An old saying is: “Politics is the art of the possible.” The Democrats, for all their talk of fiscal responsibility don’t want to CUT spending at all! In fact, they want to significantly increase spending! Their “NEW” buzz word is “investing.” The real desire is MUCH GREATER SPENDING for even MORE CONTROL over the American people!!!—my addition)

Furthermore, the BBA they support with such broad smiles and glib promises of future fiscal responsibility, doesn’t make them control their spending. Instead, it would legalize spending which is now unlawful and would markedly increase the powers of the federal government. And it would do nothing to reduce spending. In short, the BBA is a Scam and a Terrible Trick. (However, as a political tool it may be beneficial for the Democrats will almost certainly not agree to even a cap of this sort at 18%. For indeed, the Democrats want to spend EVEN MORE!!!—my addition)

What Would We Get From the BBA ?

In plain English, this is what the 10 Sections of the BBA mean [but read it yourself —it’s very short]:

Section 1: They won’t spend more than they take in unless they vote to spend more than they take in. (However, it takes super majorities to do so and frankly these provisions provide for emergency situations. This is true for each section where the author refers to the “unless” concept so I won’t repeat this addition after each one—my addition.)

Section 2: They won’t spend more than 18% of the GDP unless they vote to spend more than 18% of the GDP.

Section 3: The President will write the budget (As he does now but he DOES NOT PASS the budget!—my addition): He will designate the taxes, and what the money will be spent on. He won’t spend more than he decides to tax you for, and he won’t spend more than 18% of the GDP. The GDP is a computation made by the Bureau of Economic Analysis in the Department of Commerce, an agency under the control of the President. [Do you see? The President controls the agency which computes the number which limits his spending.] (Which is why one should NOT establish arbitrary limits into Amendments or Constitutions—my addition)

Section 4: Congress won’t make a law raising your taxes unless they vote to raise your taxes.

Section 5: Congress won’t raise the debt limit unless they vote to raise the debt limit.

Sections 6 & 7: Congress can waive the above provisions of the BBA (except for Sec. 4 which says they can’t raise your taxes unless they vote to raise your taxes) when there is a declared war or a ‘military conflict’ which they think justifies their waiving the above provisions of the BBA. (Because when one is fighting to save the country one doesn’t want to have artificial restrictions on what one can spend to save the country!—my addition)

Section 8: Courts can’t order your taxes to be raised. [But you can bet your life that this section, together with section 3, will be seen to authorize the President to order that your taxes be raised.] (Not necessarily. However, Constitutionally, Courts can’t order one’s taxes to be raised now!—my addition)

Section 9: I leave this to others to explain. But be assured the President’s minions will define stuff however he wants; make stuff ‘off-budget’ or ‘on-budget’ to fit his agenda.

Section 10: Congress can make laws to enforce the BBA, and can rely on numbers provided by the President who is to be given constitutional authority to order tax increases & decide how to spend the money. (Not by this Amendment! He already has Constitutional authority to propose a budget. Article II, Section 3, ¶ 1: “He (meaning the President—my addition) shall … recommend to their (meaning the Congress—my addition) Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient ….” i.e. budgets and proposed laws. He recommends. He doesn’t pass the laws and he doesn’t pass the laws with this Amendment—my addition.)

So! Do you see? You get no benefit from the BBA. But it will cause us irreparable harm.

How Would the BBA Cut the Heart Out of Our Constitution?

1. It would Transform Our Constitution From One of Enumerated Spending Powers To One of General (‘Unlimited’) Spending Powers.

Congress’ Powers are Enumerated. Thus, the objects on which Congress may lawfully appropriate funds are limited to those listed in the Constitution. Congress has ignored the limitations on its powers for many decades—but at least the limitations are still in the Constitution, to be invoked if We The People ever repent.” (The key is that we the people MUST wake up, MUST repent, and MUST restore the Constitution!—my addition)

But the BBA, by ignoring the unconstitutional objects of Congress’ spending, and by merely limiting the amount of such spending to 18% of the GDP & the taxes the President assesses, repeals the enumerated powers aspect of our Constitution.

Furthermore, if Congress limited its appropriations to its enumerated powers, they could not possibly spend a sum as vast as 18% of the GDP. Thus, the BBA is clear intention to repeal the enumerated powers, and transform the federal government into one of general and unlimited powers.

Congress’ idiotic spending is now unlawful & unconstitutional. But with the BBA, it would become lawful & constitutional, as long as the total spending doesn’t exceed the limits (unless they waive the limits). With the BBA, it will become lawful for them to appropriate funds for whatever the President (who will write the budget) says!

2. The BBA Transfers Control of the ‘Purse’ from Congress to the President.

The federal government didn’t even have a budget until Congress passed the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921. That ‘law’ purported to grant budget making power (taxes & appropriations) to the President.

But the Budget Act of 1921 is unconstitutional: The Constitution places the taxing & appropriations powers squarely in the hands of Congress—not the Executive Branch; and contrary to the beliefs of indoctrinated lawyers, Congress may not ‘amend’ the Constitution by making a law.”

“Article I, Sec. 8, clause 1, grants to Congress the Power to lay and collect Taxes; and Art. I, Sec. 9, next to last clause, grants to Congress the Power to make the appropriations:

‘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.’ (And they still do! I’ve been saying all along that it is Congress who passes the budgets and it is, therefore, Congress who is responsible for the budget. However, as quoted above, the President DOES HAVE the duty to propose measures to Congress!—my addition)

Accordingly, for most of our history, Congress made appropriations as the need arose; determined the taxes, and kept records of both. [See Bruce Bartlett’s excellent history of the appropriations process.]

Our Framers gave us an elegant system of separated powers, where Congress commands the purse—not the Executive Branch and not the Judicial Branch! In Federalist No. 78

(6th paragraph), Alexander Hamilton outlines this separation of powers:

‘... The Executive not only dispenses the honors, but holds the sword of the community. The legislature not only commands the purse, but prescribes the rules ... The judiciary ... has no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society …’”

In Federalist No. 58

(4th paragraph from end) Madison explains why the House alone is granted power to propose taxes (Art. I, Sec. 7, clause 1): To protect The People from overreaching by the other branches of the federal government:

‘... 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 ... all the overgrown prerogatives of the other branches of the government. This power over the purse may ... 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 …’

Ponder Hamilton’s and Madison’s words. You must understand what they are saying if we are to restore our Constitutional Republic. Otherwise, the BBA will usher in a totalitarian dictatorship. (There is nothing wrong with quoting “The Federalist Papers.” It has some excellent material. However, “The Federalist Papers” IS NOT the Constitution. It was written to convince the general population to support and adopt the proposed Constitution!—my addition)

Pursuant to the unconstitutional Budget Act of 1921, the President has been preparing the budget. Since the Budget Act is unconstitutional, the President’s preparation of the budget has been likewise unconstitutional. Section 3 of the BBA would legalize what is now unconstitutional and unlawful.

But Section 3 of the BBA does more than merely legalize the unlawful. It actually transfers the constitutional power to make the appropriations and to determine taxes to the President. Congress will become a rubber stamp. (ONLY if they allow themselves to be! They STILL must pass the proposals!—my addition)

Now look at this pretty little snare: Section 8 of the proposed BBA says:

‘No court of the United States or of any State shall order any increase in revenue to enforce this article.’

Our Constitution does not grant to courts any power to ‘order’ tax increases. So why does Sec. 8 of the BBA say they can’t do it? (True! And this section confirms this. I’ve been saying all along the courts are usurping their Constitutional authority. This section demonstrates that some also recognize the same!—my addition)

It's a trap! There is an ancient maxim of legal construction which goes like this: ‘The Expression of One Thing is the Exclusion of Another’:

‘An implied exclusion argument lies whenever there is reason to believe that if the legislature had meant to include a particular thing within the ambit of its legislation, it would have referred to that thing expressly. Because of this expectation, the legislature’s failure to mention the thing becomes grounds for inferring that it was deliberately excluded. Although there is no express exclusion, exclusion is implied. …’ (A court’s rational!?—my addition)

Why does Sec. 8 of the BBA exclude the President? From this exclusion, one may reasonably infer that the intent of Sec. 8 is to permit the President to order tax increases. (I don’t think so! The above reasoning is perverted and WRONG! Whether or not it is a legal maximum!—my addition) If the BBA is ratified, you can be sure that Presidents will claim power under Sec. 8 of the BBA to order tax increases. (One may claim anything one wants to claim. That claim DOES NOT make it true!—my addition) That inference is strengthened by the fact that Sec. 3 of the BBA transfers constitutional power over the Budget to the President. (Not true!—my addition)

So! The BBA surrenders the purse to the President! (No it DOESN’T!—my addition) Our Framers understood the danger of having the sword & the purse held by one person.

That is why our Constitution provides for Congress to make the decisions on taxes & appropriations; and, as pointed out in Federalist No. 72 (1st paragraph), the President is to apply and disburse ‘the public moneys in conformity to the general appropriations of the legislature’.

With the BBA, Congress’ sole remaining constitutional function over taxing & spending will be to rubberstamp the dictates of the President.” (NOT TRUE! Unless they allow it to be true!—my addition)

There is some additional material but I am stopping here because the points being made are going off center. However, even if the Amendment is perfectly written, which, as was pointed out, may not be the case, this Amendment is a bad idea. Until and unless, we RESTORE the Constitution as written, this Amendment is just another piece of paper to go along with the other pieces of paper we now call the Constitution. And I think, ultimately, that is the argument. WE MUST RESTORE the CONSTITUTION. WE MUST OBEY the CONSTITUTION. Or, the Constitution is meaningless.

The truth is, if we restore the Constitution, this proposed Constitutional Amendment will be meaningless and unnecessary. If we don’t restore the Constitution, it is already meaningless and unnecessary because the government will continue doing whatever it wants as it is NOW doing!!!

It is time, it’s past time to RESTORE THE CONSTITUTION
It is time, it’s past time to RESTORE THE CONSTITUTION
It is time, it’s past time to RESTORE THE CONSTITUTION

It is time, it’s past time to OBEY THE CONSTITUTION
It is time, it’s past time to OBEY THE CONSTITUTION
It is time, it’s past time to OBEY THE CONSTITUTION

It’s time, it is past time to TAKE BACK THE NATION!!!
It’s time, it is past time to TAKE BACK THE NATION!!!
It’s time, it is past time to TAKE BACK THE NATION!!!