America Faces Another Shutdown?
When a commentator says that government spending is out of control and on autopilot, today’s reader becomes bored and moves on to a different article.
I’ve personally been pounding the table with this message since my commentary became a part of Wall Street Daily nearly two years ago.
But it’s different this time…
You see, Congress and Obama are venturing off into dangerous territory – leaving little time before America self-implodes.
I need you to read carefully to understand what’s happening…
Spending used to be the most significant part of government oversight conducted by the U.S. Congress.
But over the years, Congress has given up more and more authority and responsibility to the executive branch and the courts. Today, members of Congress have a mere shadow of the authority they once wielded.
The reason is simple: Members of Congress do nothing but campaign. The next election starts the morning after one election is won.
And in today’s high-stakes campaigning environment, issue management is supreme.
John Boehner is a master of issue management, which has made him extremely successful as Speaker of the House. Basically, John Boehner is good at keeping members of Congress from having to take tough votes.
Congress still has plenty of votes. In fact, Congress is always voting. But the votes involve secondary issues or measures that have no chance of final passage.
These are nothing more than feel-good votes – and Congressmen know that they’re just for show.
Think about it… you’ve surely heard a member of Congress say, “I’ve voted to repeal Obamacare 400 times.”
These were all stage-managed votes that everyone knew had no meaning. These are essentially a waste of time, but they make great theater and are part of an extensive issue management regime.
Every issue possible is pushed to the administration or the courts for the real decisions. If Congress makes no decisions, then it has no responsibility. If it has no responsibility, then it can look the voter in the eyes and say: “Isn’t it terrible what Barack Obama did on immigration, but I have no power to stop it. But if you send me back for another two years, I will do my best to stop it this time.”
Going in Circles
Now that you understand how Congress has been managed for the last decade, let me explain how this works with spending.
When I came to Washington 30 years ago, powerful committee chairmen ruled over government by passing spending or appropriations bills. These bills are a part of history.
Today, we’re ruled by the omnibus spending bill. This year, the bill was called the “Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014,” and it was signed by Barack Obama on January 17.
Like the Groundhog Day movie, it’s all set to start again. Another one of these monster bills (which no one really reads or understands) has to pass before December 11, or the government shuts down again. Our U.S. government has become so dysfunctional that only one significant vote is made each year.
A gun is pointed at the U.S. Congress’ head, and it’s told to repeat everything the way it was done last year, or “I [Barack Obama] will veto the bill… and you, Congress, will be responsible for the government going out of business.”
Obama doesn’t shut down government; Congress does (so says the media). So we have this impasse, and governance suffers. No changes can be made, no adjustments considered.
It’s just one gigantic bill from hell that will rule America another year.
Your eyes on the Hill,