Friday, October 4, 2013

Democrats Chose the Shutdown

And Republicans are within their legal and constitutional rights to act as they have.

OCTOBER 4, 2013 12:00 AM

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 furloughed 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 for, 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 that 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.
by Thomas Sowell
Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. © 2013 Creators Syndicate, Inc.


  1. We're merely trapped in the Marcha Turka segment of the 4th Movement of Beethoven's 9th. ;)

  2. Thomas Sowell is a learned and wise man. Republicans would do well to pay attention to his closing words:

    "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."


    And just in time, this from AEI:

    The GOP is losing the shutdown battle in the court of public opinion, 22% supporting, 72% opposing.

    44% blame GOP
    35% blame Obama and the Democrats

  3. I understand, Thersites. ALL things -- bad AND good -- are temporary. All life has always been in a constant state of flux and will remain so for Eternity.

    The most magnificently satisfying aspect of the finest achievements in Musical Art lies in its capacity to present specific themes embellished by Variation, challenged by Conflict then brought to a Conclusion after energetic Rebellion, Celebration, serene often wistful Contemplation, Reflection and Resolution.

    Important Music -- Art and Literature too, of course, -- do what Life, itself, has been designed never to do. They provide not mere PRESENTATION but RESOLUTION of CONFLICT.

    This, of course, is but temporary, but it's not illusionary in that the best in Art gives us guideposts on the road toward an encouraging concept of what Perfection might be.

    This is why I fight endlessly and uncompromisingly against the cynical, destructive, pernicious ideologies and debased, perverted forms of artistic expression that took hold in the past century and came to full flower in the Sick-sties.

  4. Let nothing disturb thee
    Nothing affright thee
    All things are passing

    God never changeth
    Patient endurance
    Attaineth to all things

    In whom God pleaseth
    In nothing is lacking.
    Alone God sufficeth.

    ~ Saint Teresa - Lines written in her breviary
    As translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

    To understand what that means we must try to understand what the term "God" really means. Few who dismiss His existence as mere myth and legend have ever bothered making an attempt to get beyond the miserable habit of counting all the stupidity fed by ancient superstition, and the cruelty and horrible crimes committed by "organized religion," and probe more deeply to find sufficient insight to get to the heart of the matter.

  5. How did a country so carefully crafted as a constitutional republic by thoughtful men who had experienced tyranny up close and personal ever get to this point? Thats easily explained, this is exactly the effect of Progressive movement!
    What we need is for the House to hang tough. If nothing else, the standoff is revealing Obamás incredible pettiness and lack of concern about what is best for the U.S. Our Dear Leader is more concerned with his image than he is for the good of our nation., or for the will of the people. If they allow the president de-facto power of the purse, as in forcing them to pay for his Obamacare no strings attached, then we are more than halfway to a dictatorship.
    Boy will this cause a loud howl from the progressives who have their way with we the people for so long.
    Keep smiling all you Progressive Obama lovers, Remember, "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan"..Have fun with that.

  6. I think that the lyrics sung by the chorus "during" the marcha turca segment (9:30-12:30), just after the G_d reference, illustrate your point, as well. They represent a point in the 4th Movement in which "Unity" joyfully embraces specific "individualities", be they "in" or "out" of step with the overall rhythm and timing of the composition of the Whole.

    And what you see as a great tragedy, I see merely as proof that in every "earthly" resolution of conflict, the seeds for the next are inevitably sown. For as the philosophers say, there is "generation" from opposites. :)


  7. Hey Free Thinke this is for you and your crazy con friends:

    "The American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Surgeons, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the American Osteopathic Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American College of Cardiology all endorsed the Affordable Healthcare Act."
    All you folks whining about the big bad Government would be the first to complain about it not being there if it really was gone. Why don’t you go to Somalia and try living under their Government. Comparing the U.S. President to a socialist or Comparing the U.S.Government to Communist nation-state is stupid. And that’s what you ALL are! STUPID!
    You are all Commies The whole freaken bunch of you. And frankly I’m sick of you and your asinine posts.

  8. Sounds like George has been listening to FAR too much Mozart! :)

  9. We interrupt this Blog thread for the following...

    Shutnado Alert! REPEAT Shutnado Alert!

    Federal agency Twitter accounts are tweeting that they can’t Tweet


    Federal agency Twitter accounts are tweeting that they can’t Tweet

    This has been an ALERT of the Emergency Shutnado notification system. Had this been an ACTUAL emergency, the tweeters in question would have used their own personal Twitter accounts, which we would have ignored just as obstinately as we ignore their irritating official Government Tweets

    That is all. Carry on.

  10. Obama thinks that it's ALL about the people it is about him and big business. I don't think he understands the Constitution that tell us that the House holds the purse strings of the Government. This President thinks that the Constitution is getting in the way of his agenda.. This "bill" is a total fraud as is the person sitting in the oval office.

    End a crisis...NOT on your life...Remember, Obama's claim to fame is as a neighborhood agitator...The guy lives for this. How else can he pontificate freely to the welfare, entitlement society that he is reaching down to help the downtrodden. He will lie, cover-up, discount truth, and sacrifice anyone in his way to promote chaos. This is a narcissist, who does not want his policy followed, but his orders obeyed.

  11. To George Whyte (whichever one he may be) who don't know Jack Shyte:

    I just did a word search on this entire blog post and commentary, and the only person who used the term communist was you, you liberal loon.

    What right-thinking people are concerned with is progressive statism and its lovely handmaiden, state-sponsored corporatism. That is what explains the enthusiasm of professional medical organizations as well as insurance companies.

    When government controls the entire game, they end up suborning everyone who wants their cut, and that is what this is all about.

    I understand this Geo. Whyte may not actually be the real one, but the issue he raises provides an opportunity to answer a common charge.

    -- Miniver Cheevy

  12. "Obama's claim to fame is as a neighborhood agitator."

    PLEASE! The term is Community Organizer."

    You wouldn't want anyone to think he was rabble rouser, would you?

    Sir Reebrall of Braintree, Lord of Liberty

  13. Mexico's The News wrote in an editorial.

    In the United States, however, government shutdowns - or the threat thereof - have become an accepted negotiating tactic, thanks to the quirks of the American federal system, which allows different branches of government to be controlled by different parties. It was a structure devised by the nation's founders to encourage compromise and deliberation, but lately has had just the opposite effect.

    That's right, the Mexican press understands our government and the threat from a rump group of fringe right wingers from safe gerrymandered districts better than Sowell.

    I hope this will give you insight into what a true mediocrity he is, FT. In fact I don't believe he does anything but preach to that choir which would be on life support but for gerrymandering.

  14. Where is the proof of the assertions regarding the medical community you've been spamming all over the place, "George?"

    And what would make you think sensible people would trust the AMA and the insurance Industry anymore than they trust any OTHER enormous power bloc?

    What you and your "cohorts" -- and too many RINOS in power -- don't not understand is that people such as I are not against government per se, we are against too much POWER concentrated in ANY one location, be it Government, Industry, the Enemedia, the Church, or any particular Pressure Group.

  15. " ... I don't believe he does anything but preach to that choir which would be on life support but for gerrymandering."

    Also sprach Kanardosta!

    You need to get some new material. Your act grew flat, stale and unpleasantly odoriferous years ago.

  16. I'm not familiar with all the details of Obamacare but if those who had medical care coverage previously to the enactment of Obamacare into law, and they were perfectly happy with the plan, are they forced to enroll in Obamacare? If so this does seem more than a bit heavy handed. Can those that are absolutely gung ho for Obamacare not just quietly enroll in this plan? They should all be happy if there is a choice.

    Since Obamacare is supposedly the crowning achievement of this Obama administration was the first person to enroll not the President? Second person on the list should be Mrs. Obama and the children. Has this occurred recently?

  17. I'm not sure about George or 'George', but in the interest of Fair & Balanced, to answer the query "Where is the proof of the assertions regarding the medical community?", we note-
    Paragraphs 2 and 10 here
    and Paragraph 6 elsewhere
    as well as numerous other sources.
    I come with out vilification, just

  18. I just wanted to THANK YOU, FreeThinke, for your delightfully entertaining, well reasoned, and well-written articles. It is a very great pleasure to indulge in the reading of your blog!

  19. Thank you, BB, for providing links to a source making those claims. The New Republic is a decidedly "liberal" publication, and the names of both authors are connected to highly liberal institutions. That does not mean they are not telling the truth, but from everything I've been able to gather over a long period of time publications identified as particularly liberal OR conservative harbor a bias. The "Parallel Universe theory" fascinates me, because it really does seem as though members of each of those camps live in two entirely different worlds.

    I am sure it is more-than-possible that many doctors hold liberal-progressive political views -- especially those who received an Ivy League education or went to the University of Chicago or Berkeley in California,. I know many committed liberals personally -- was even married to one once, ;-) and all I can say is that leftist ideology is MUCH more important to most self-described liberals than conservative ideology is to conservatives most of whom don't live, sleep, breathe and eat politics, but tend to have broader interests.

    The modern conservative movement is after all a fairly recent phenomenon. The Socialist-Liberal-Progressive-Statists have been organized and at it for more than a century.

    "George" -- either the real one or the counterfeit one -- doesn't matterp both are equally offensive. I regard each of them (frankly I don't believe they are two different people at all) as a troll and therefore equally undesirable. Neither is welcome at my blog, because I don't entertain troublemakers, if it can be helped, and I don't appreciate truculence and belligerence in anyone of any poltical persuasion.

    Thank YOU kindly, Lady Liberty. It's pleasant to hear conditional praise once in a while. It's rare. I promise to make every effort not to let it go to my head. ;-)

    Waylon, it's good to have a visit from you.

  20. "The "Parallel Universe theory" fascinates me, because it really does seem as though members of each of those camps live in two entirely different worlds." I find this fascinating as well and have almost come to the conclusion that
    folks are born with, if not a political outlook, the precursor thought mode/machinery. My very
    liberal sister and husband raised
    5 very conservative kids, I live in a very conservative state and in my experience, if one avoids the topic of politics, we all have much in common. Fascinating, indeed.

  21. George has decided to apprpriate my avatar (you can see him over at progressive Eruptions using it). He hasn't stolen the name yet, but I expect he might shortly.

    He don't know me very well... do he? :)

  22. would appreciate permission to re-post your wonderful article on my facebook, and click on SHARE.

  23. Of course you may, Lady Liberty. I am very flattered you would ask. Thank you again for such kind attention.



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