Mind the Pennies
Do you still pick coins up off the ground? Do you have a savings jar? Do you remember a time when people were taught that thrift is a virtue, and did your parents teach you the old folk saying, "Mind the pennies, and the dollars will take care of themselves"?
Having asked these questions, here is a bigger one: "What possible difference does it make anymore?" (Shades of Hillary Clinton!) As the president of the United States and his wife run around the world spending money not their own, one has to ask why any of the rest of us should even "save" a single cent.
When hosts of citizens don't understand how the tax system does or doesn't work – how they think "drastic cuts" to the rate of growth mean actual cuts, don't know that the government shutdown was contrived, don't know why we need "zero based budgeting" and a Balanced Budget Amendment – even the hardiest souls might quake at how to teach so foreign a concept as "real" government savings.
Let's begin with the United States Constitution. Section 7 says: “All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives[.]"
This means that the House of Representatives holds the purse strings and is charged with submitting a budget each fiscal year. The House considers the president's requested budget and tries to keep spending under a debt ceiling, which is, supposedly, not to be exceeded. The budget proposed by the House is then sent to the Senate, where that body adds its demands for funding, and on to a joint conference committee for resolution. Both Houses vote on the finished product, and once it is passed, they forward it to the president for veto or signature. At least that’s how things are supposed to work.
In reality, the budget forwarded by the House is loaded with pork by the Senate, and by both Houses during reconciliation, and is always higher than the year before. Thus, the politicians (and bureaucrats) can reward themselves and their cronies, and powerful voting blocs in each state get more funding for their pet projects. The longer members of Congress serve, the more powerful they become and the more pork they bring home, keeping their constituents happy and voting for them. They keep playing the same old game, year after year.
Other methods of increased spending include raising the debt ceiling, supplemental or "emergency" spending resolutions, and adding a desired unfunded program or project and cost as a rider to a completely unrelated bill. (Didn't the Senate promise not to do that anymore? Have they kept their word?) Everyone turns a blind eye to such shenanigans, and again the taxpayers are looted.
The president's proposed budgets make clear where his priorities lie. This president’s budgets have been unanimously rejected every year since he took office. Under President Obama the game has changed, and there is a method to his madness. He prefers to have no limits on his power, and with the budget and the budget-makers under his thumb, he manages to unconstitutionally drain the coffers via tools such as executive orders. That means that every time we reach the debt ceiling, another battle erupts. And almost no one in the House of Representatives ever has the courage to close the purse.
The passing of the fiscal budget is a constitutional requirement, but the government has operated without an official budget for almost all of this administration, thus both the House and Senate appear to have evaded their duties. However, the House has regularly forwarded budgets to the Senate where one man, the odious Senate president, Harry Reid, pronounced them DOA. Has he ever negotiated with the House or attempted to resolve the issues? Not Harry. He threw those budgets someplace (a drawer? a garbage can? who knows?) and just ignored them until he got his way.
Now that a budget deal of some sort has been brokered, Congress can pretend to follow it while everyone happily keeps spending, and the government faces a trillion-dollar addition to the “debt ceiling” to allow ever more spending. The supposed "cuts," of course, are way down the road.
And so, with no effective budgetary restraints, the Senate president and the president of the United States have proceeded to rape the Treasury and the citizens of this country, and each year, they increase their power exponentially. They now think they are so powerful that there’s nothing to be done to stop them, and they take whatever they want. You can always tell who the bad guys are – they are the ones who don’t care what happens to anyone but themselves, and they don't care if you know it.
Now we can go on to the next manufactured crises. Is it immigration reform or the minimum wage this week? Both plus racism? War on women? Or was that last week?
There are words – dishonorable, oath-breakers, liars, and sinners come to mind – for those who have no conscience. Those who have eyes to see and ears to hear have many times been shown President Barack Obama, Senator Harry Reid, and the House leadership for who and what they truly are. Hypocrites, every one of them.
Once again, we as a nation are faced with the cowardice and lies of the political class and almost everyone connected with it. Is it even possible to recognize any semblance of truth coming out of Washington, D.C., or from the fools who pass themselves off as the brightest among us? Our leaders in both parties seem to have forgotten their oaths of office, particularly that to protect and defend the Constitution.
What a shame it is that so few men stand on principle. And so this nation is led by fools and simpletons. Statesmen and oath-keepers need not apply.
Now here we are, another billion or trillion dollars in debt each time the president wields his pen. Add ObamaCare to this mix and try to guess the debt ceiling next time. After all, what's a few trillion among thieves?
We would do well to remember that if the devil had fingers, his prints would be all over the world, and since the devil is always in the details, that is where his fingerprints are to be found. Unfortunately, we know whose fingerprints help make the devilish details, but no political or moral fortitude exists to stop the carnage.
Anniel Winters writes from Anchorage, Alaska. She can be followed at stubbornthings.org and blogs at homespunhomilies.com.