Abdicating Constitutional Responsibilities for Political Gain

While I certainly understand that for many it’s just talk for the sake of providing soundbites and appealing to casually attentive voters in home districts, on Capitol Hill, isn’t bipartisanship something most election officials claim to strive for?  Heck, for the better part of two years now, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama and Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer and seemingly everyone else on the left has been complaining to anyone who will listen that the Republicans just aren’t interested in bipartisanship at all.

Well, in a truly bipartisan fashion, 39 House Democrats sided with a unified Republican front in voting against adjournment after House Minority Leader John Boehner gave a phenomenal speech from the House floor. This came after a number of House Democrats sided with a unified Republican front in arguing that the Democratic Party majority extend the current tax rates by extending the Bush tax cuts.

“It is irresponsible for them to leave town without giving us a fair up or down vote,” said Boehner.  “There’s a bipartisan majority who want to extend all of the current tax rates. If Democrat leaders leave town without stopping these tax increases, they’re turning their backs on the American people … The idea that we are going to leave here and not extend all of the current tax rates to end the uncertainty is an irresponsibility on the part of this Congress. And how any member can vote to adjourn and punt this into a lame duck session I think is putting your election above the needs of your constituents.”

Instead of celebrating the bipartisanship, however, the Democratic Party leadership ignored its obligations with regard to powers and authority with which Congress is actually vested by the Constitution, and instead continued a pattern of delay, obfuscation and overreach by addressing a number of ancillary matters.  Through our founding documents, in our constitutional representative republic the federal government is provided with very limited and specific authority.  And yet Nancy Pelosi’s Congress decided to punt its constitutional obligations while injecting itself into realms beyond the scope of the authority granted in our Constitution.

The Constitution, for example, specifically charges Congress with the passage of a budget for the federal government.  This year, the Democrats refused to pass one because the astronomically out-of-touch numbers and policies exposed in the process of doing so would inevitably adversely affect the Democratic Party during an election year.

The Constitution also specifically grants Congress the plenary power to tax.  It’s right there in Article I, Section 8.  And yet, faced with the reality that January 1, 2011 could bring with it the largest tax increases in American history with the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, the Democrats chose to adjourn Congress in order to (a) save face with a dwindling base that would be displeased with any attempt to not soak the so-called “rich,” and (b) take more time to personally smear Republican challengers in doomed elections from coast to coast because the policies espoused by the Democratic Party just aren’t anything to run on.

And yet, despite being specifically vested by the United States Constitution with an obligation to pass a budget and the plenary power to levy taxes, and instead of taking time to investigate glaringly egregious ethics violations by folks like Charlie Rangel–who, by the way, sounds like an emphysemic muppet–and Maxine Waters, in the alternative the Democrats chose to address a number of issues which fall outside the purview of congressional authority.

Just yesterday, for example, Congress took the time to recognize the Washington Stealth as champions of the National Lacrosse League.  I’m looking and looking and looking through those 17 enumerated powers in Article I, Section 8 and, by golly, I just cannot seem to find the one which justifies congratulatory resolutions.  Damn.  My soon-to-be World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies are out of luck.

Also taken care of yesterday, by the way, was the passage of legislation which requires satellite and cable television providers to ensure that television commercials are kept at the same volume as the programming which they break into.  I have three problems with this one:

First, the new law would not go into effect until after the November 2 election, which means that despite the hurried congressional action yesterday, we’re still going to have to endure super-loud, merciless and tasteless attack ads by embittered Democrats completely devoid of legislative accomplishments to run on.

Second, I can’t seem to find anything about regulation of television commercial volume, either, in Article I, Section 8.

And, third … pardon the change in volume, but IS THIS REALLY MORE IMPORTANT THAN EXTENDING THE BUSH TAX CUTS?!?

And then, of course, there’s the matter of taking the time to arrange and endure the testimony of Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert a week ago.

All in all, we already know that the legislative priorities of this Congress are all sorts of out of whack.  What is perhaps most maddening and best able to be translated for the sake of those voters who only casually pay attention to the process, however, is that the Democratic Party leadership has abdicated responsibility for that which they are actually charged by the Constitution, and instead have unconstitutionally interfered in areas of American life which lie outside of the authority granted to the federal government.

In other words, not only are they not addressing what needs to be addressed, they simply are not even permitted to do the things which they do in order to waste time.

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Comments

  1. Gail B. says:

    Seems to me that the Progressive Democrats are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Now that it’s public knowledge that they care more about their own rosteriums than they do the American citizens and the economy, the voting public will keep this in mind on November 2. And, to double down, after taxes and the cost of living goes sky high after January 1, 2011, the Progressives will do well to find EVEN ONE Democratic Party member sitting under the Dome!

    Analyze THAT, NObama!

    Oh–and the Democrats call the Republicans the “Party of No.” Wellll, how many Democrats have entertained anything the Republicans have offered? Obama certainly hasn’t, even though the Republicans represent a great number of Americans, too. No, he wants the Republicans to cross the aisle, not the other way around. His regime is a one-way street–his way or no way.

  2. Gail B. says:

    P.S. That was another good one, Jeff. Thanks! I loved the way you unloaded all over their stuff with the U.S.Constitution!

  3. Sorry humans says:

    Oath breakers. Whatta ya gonna do?

  4. Herr Morgenholz says:

    This article is nonsense.

    The Reds will stomp all over the Phillies.

    Uh, other than that, you may have some good points.. ;-)

  5. Hardback says:

    That Pelosi book cover had to have been PhotoShopped. She looks human, and in a sick way, kinda hot.

  6. Monica says:

    Well-written, Jeff. My favorite:

    “And, third … pardon the change in volume, but IS THIS REALLY MORE IMPORTANT THAN EXTENDING THE BUSH TAX CUTS?!?”

  7. Whats_up says:

    Jeff,

    With all due respect their legislative session is not over yet. They will be back to take up these things after the election. Now you might not like the timing but please point to the area of the Constitution that states they must take up these matters before the election? I do agree with you on the ethics issue however, those matters should be handled right away and the delay is inexcusable.

  8. Gail B. says:

    I saw some pearls like San Fran Nan’s in Wal-Mart the other day. They turned my stomach because they reminded me of her. I wouldn’t wear them if they were given to me!

    And, if she opens her mouth like that many more times, her face is going to crack. She and I are the same age, except that she is 30 days older. Folks, Nancy’s is OLD!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Aren’t the oath takers, that are serious about the oath, have a responsibility, or moral obligation, to do something about those all around them, that are breaking theirs?

  10. whats_up says:

    @ Gail,

    Oh–and the Democrats call the Republicans the “Party of No.” Wellll, how many Democrats have entertained anything the Republicans have offered? Obama certainly hasn’t, even though the Republicans represent a great number of Americans, too. No, he wants the Republicans to cross the aisle, not the other way around. His regime is a one-way street–his way or no way.

    Thats a two way street Gail. How many Republicans have entertained anything that Dems and Obama have offered? You seem to want the Dems to reach across the aisle but exactly when have Repubs done that with Obama?

  11. John Buyon says:

    the entire democratic party of 2010 is exactly what the republican party was in 1975 so it is the left that is constantly compromising cutting deals and moving to the center. It is the right wing that has gone from a limited but powerful and respected federal government to NO GOVERNMENT and indefinite tax cuts to rich people… you people are the nihilist faction of Americanism.

    why do rich people deserve to have their taxes cut when average people who actually put money in these oligarchs pockets are losing their homes? answer that Mr. Bohner
    and don’t give me the usual BS
    about how we are running out of rich people, cause we aren’t and in fact their ranks have increased, while the ranks of the middle class have dwindled.
    why are you people trying so hard to obliterate the middle class?

  12. Gail B. says:

    @ Whats_up

    “Thats a two way street Gail. How many Republicans have entertained anything that Dems and Obama have offered? You seem to want the Dems to reach across the aisle but exactly when have Repubs done that with Obama?”

    The Republicans will work across the aisle on any proposal that does not lean towards Socialism and increased government control. Republicans have not done so because the conservative Americans represented by Republican Congressmen and Senators have flooded the phone and fax lines against Socialism. The elected officials under the Dome work for We the People, remember? The Constitution trumps Obama, supposedly. Did you miss civics in school?

  13. Gail B. says:

    @ Whats_up at 12:45 pm

    Make up your mind! You can’t have it both ways.

    They haven’t voted on the tax relief because the Dems don’t want to extend the cuts. If they wait until AFTER the election, they can let them expire and not jeopardize their chances of being reelected.

    It’s a MORAL issue, not a constitutional one. Why else would the Dems hang Americans out to dry? When taxes are raised on January 1, the Dems will be in DEEP DOO because any percentage of nothing is still NOTHING. Unless Obama does something to stimulate the economy (which he does not want to do), there will be no income for a great number of Americans to be taxed.

    I got to thinking about the 55% death tax, too. How can I MAKE the amount of my estate to be taxed if I’m dead? And, if the heirs of the remainder of my estate die, there goes another 55% for each. Sooner or later, the goverment gets virtually ALL of our money. How much will San Fran Nan’s RATS be taxed? Zilch!

  14. The Climb, by Miley says:

    9:30

    Those that don’t like being lower or middle class are free to work towards being upper class, this is America remember. Become the next Microsoft or HP and quit complaining.

  15. Dee says:

    I thought the budget for the following year was to begin on Oct. 1. It is now Oct. 3 and there is no budget. No one has any idea how much they will be taxed next year, including businesses. No one is able to plan on anything but it was more important to lower the volume on commercials. No wonder the economy is stalled. Unfortunately the campaign commercials will be at the highest volume.

    3:36pm, I agree.

  16. kj says:

    There are some in Washington that think that the Constitution is only important when they want it to be.

    Every time that the House and Senate Leadership violate the Constitution publicly, you know that they would violate it privately if they had something to gain.

    As far as extending the tax cuts, if the demos in Congress wouldn’t do it for an election, they sure as hell won’t do it after they have been shown the door by the voters.

  17. whats_up says:

    @ Gail,

    Please, passing tax cuts is now a MORAL issue. Spare me please, nothing to do with taxes either raising or lowering them is a MORAL issue.

  18. What's in a number? says:

    whats_up, say we taxed at 100%, would THAT be a moral issue?

  19. whats_upchuck? says:

    Anything is a moral issue when it gets to the point you wanna fight to the death, even over something such as whiskey taxes, as in 1794.

  20. whats_up says:

    @ 10:03

    So you want to fight to the death over the lowest tax rates in history? That is your argument. We in America arent taxed to much, we were taxed more under Reagan, where was your anger then? Do you understand that taxes rates are the LOWEST they have ever been in this country, let me repeat the LOWEST they have ever been.

  21. L. Banks says:

    People who have money will make more money. They have money to make it. The rich also have the money to invest in the country and create more jobs by allowing companies who have investors to expand their business. Also, many of these people are willing to invest their time and energy into a business. They eat it, sleep it and often to the exclusion of any personal life. They know how to make money and are willing to give up a lot for it.

    As a college student I worked for one of the biggest banks in Washington, DC during my summer break. Every day I saw this older man come into the bank in bib overalls with a paid shirt underneath it. He sat down every day in our waiting area and read the papers, magazines and when he finished, he left. One day I asked the investment manager who he was and he said “Dear, he is the biggest stockholder in this bank and worth millions of dollars.” He was so frugal he never bought anything he could get for free. How many of us are willing to do that just to make money?

    Right now the rich are investing in gold as a hedge against the coming financial crisis. They are also leaving this country because they have the money to do so. The government is printing money to keep the economy afloat -paper money that is worthless because it is backed by nothing. Instead of making things better for everyone, they are creating another crisis for all of us.

    Extending the Bush tax credits helps all of us. You see now the Socialists/Progressives can continue to level everyone down until we are all slaves. They can now tax us more since the Healthcare bill alone will require additional tax revenue.

    Starting in 2013, not only will you pay the closing costs and real estate fee when you sell your house but now you will pay a 3.8% Sales Tax. So, if you sell your home for $400,000, perhaps wanting to down size if you are a senior you will pay $15,200 in Tax and way houses are selling these days, you will be losing money.

    We are not alone in this, Europe is a mess and continues to sink so expect that ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT to rise so then you will also be taxed to help finance other countries too!

  22. Anonymous says:

    12:33 until Jan. 1 maybe

  23. Anonymous says:

    Virtue is a choice.
    Morality is a standard.
    Character is what one creates from choices associated with moral standards. Choose…

    James M Pratt

  24. John Buyon says:

    @ whats_up

    taxes are a moral issue

    @conservatives

    how come you people worship your bosses? why do like your politicians to be senior business people? people who are good in commerce are not necessarily good at government
    why are you people only outraged at taxes that target wealthy people?
    where is your outrage at sales taxes, payroll taxes, SS taxes that are regressive and take more from poor people than rich people.

  25. whats_up says:

    Lets actually take a look at the proposals shall we? The Dems plan is actually better for the middle class and the poor than the Republican plan. So says the Tax Foundation:

    http://www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/26766.html

  26. Anonymous says:

    Taking my money, not a moral issue?, how sad.

  27. T.I.M. says:

    @what’s up:

    While I appreciate your attempted objectivity, I don’t read the tax foundation’s charts the same way. Putting our income figures in, we get precisely the same tax with both the Republican and Democratic plans, although “the Obama Plan” does save $800 via the Making Work Pay credit, which is due to expire at the end of this year.

    Did I miss something?

  28. whats_up says:

    @T.I.M.

    No you didnt miss anything. I was simply pointing out that the Dems plan and speicifically Obamas plan is not what the Conservatives have made it out to be and in some cases is actually better for the middle class and low income folks. I too would fare better under Obama’s plan.

  29. John Buyon says:

    Trickle down economics doesn’t work, never has…

    http://www.faireconomy.org/research/TrickleDown.html

    * In 1921 & 1925, major taxes cut were passed. In the following years a stock market bubble formed while working class wages stagnated, then in 1929 the bubble burst and the economy crashed into the Great Depression.
    * In 1981 a tax cut was passed. The economy sank deeper into recession and stayed in recession for nearly two years.
    * In 1987 major tax cuts were passed. By 1990 growth declined leading into the 1991 recession.
    * In 2001 a tax cut was passed, and another rebate was given in 2008. From 2001 through 2008 the economy grew slower than it did in the preceding 8 while a bubble formed in stocks, housing, and executive salaries. In 2008 the bubble burst, and now the economy in sinking into the worst recession since the Great Depression.

    - From 1945-1970 a period known as the golden age of capitalism, when the rich got richer, the poor turned into the middle class, and the middle class lifestyle became the american lifestyle, taxes for the top income earners were between 70%-94%
    if conventional thinking about lower taxes for the rich were containing even a grain of truth those years would have been years of misery and depression.
    the conventional ultra-free market thinking is dead wrong.

  30. Communism sucks says:

    1:23 “Trickle down economics doesn’t work”

    Spreading lots of money around the bottom doesn’t work either, eg. The Great Society.

  31. John Buyon says:

    Last time I checked

    the middle class was built by FDR’s GI bill which was proposed by liberal D and R
    and opposed by conservatives using the exact arguments modern conservatives use.

    and that in the great society, poverty was cut in half, education improved, crime went down, Racial discrimination was outlawed, Healthcare became available to the old and poor, sure Gov’t spending and size increased but so what? I’m not an ideologue if it works than I support it.
    its called facts check in on those sometime…

  32. Duh says:

    8:16, you need to check in…. The Great Society was Lyndon Johnson.

  33. John Buyon says:

    I know LBJ was the great society…
    I was just saying both experiments in big liberal government, FDR new deal and LBJ great society were successful.

  34. Anonymous says:

    7:58 absolutely dumbest assessment ever.

  35. John Buyon says:

    why is it dumb?
    if they were such failures why didn’t the 40 year conservative-GOP led government we have had for the last 40 years repealed any of the new deal ?

  36. Anonymous says:

    10:54 it’s coming

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