Sneak Surrender

McConnell's "Plan B" is a humiliating abdication of legislative responsibility.


Only in Washington, D.C., would Mitch McConnell's Rube Goldbergian plan to capitulate on the national debt limit without admitting it be taken seriously. The Senate minority leader's "Plan B" is Exhibit A in the case against Congress, which dodges responsibility with the alacrity of a roach dodging a shoe. Like the congressional response to Barack Obama's unauthorized intervention in Libya's civil war, which has elicited disapproving noises but no decisive action one way or the other, McConnell's solution debases the legislative branch by letting the president do what he wants without officially endorsing it.

The problem, from McConnell's perspective, is that so many of his fellow Republicans insisted they would not vote to raise the debt limit, currently $14.3 trillion (nearly the size of the entire economy), without corresponding spending cuts. With Obama demanding tax hikes, which Republicans have sworn to oppose, they realized they were losing a game of chicken in which onrushing headlights were replaced by a fast-approaching deadline of August 2, when federal borrowing is expected to hit the limit.

McConnell's supposedly face-saving method of chickening out is to disguise one swerve with another: Instead of approving additional borrowing, Congress passes a bill that authorizes the president to initiate a series of three increases in the debt limit. Congress can still vote against each round of new borrowing, but Obama can veto those resolutions of disapproval, meaning a two-thirds majority of each house is required to make them stick. In effect, Plan B allows a minority to approve an increase in the debt limit that would otherwise require a majority.

The idea is that Republicans, who hold 240 out of 435 seats in the House and 47 out of 100 seats in the Senate, can avoid not only the blame for risking default but also the blame for raising the debt limit without commensurate spending cuts. Pretty clever, huh?

A little too clever. McConnell's scheme seems like a complicated way of fooling no one, since Republicans still would have to vote for the overall plan, a vote that would even include an initial, just-in-case authorization for $100 billion in new borrowing. Disclaiming responsibility for setting this process into motion would be like turning the crank in Mouse Trap, then feigning surprise when a cage drops on the little plastic rodent.

McConnell and his Democratic co-conspirator, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, have baited the trap with promises of yet another fiscal commission. Didn't we just have one of those, with 18 members appointed jointly by Congress and the president? After much sober discussion and serious debate, it delivered its report last December, directly into the national memory hole.  

This new commission will be totally different. According to The Hill, it will be "a special bipartisan committee" with only six members, all of them drawn from Congress. If four of them can agree on a package of spending cuts, Congress will have to vote it up or down, without amendment. This time for sure!

You may be thinking: Doesn't Congress already have "special bipartisan committees" that deal with spending? You may also be thinking: If a majority of Congress can agree on a package of spending cuts, what hasn't it already done that?

A balanced budget amendment, favored by many fiscal conservatives, likewise reeks of failure. If Congress can't muster a simple majority to balance the budget, how likely is it to muster a supermajority that (assuming at least 38 state legislatures eventually agree) forces it to balance the budget? The amendment sounds to me like a desperate whine: "Stop us before we spend again!"

Is it any wonder that the public has such a low opinion of Congress? According to a recent CBS News poll, only 31 percent of Americans approve of the way Democrats have handled the budget negotiations, while the approval rating for Republicans is just 21 percent. By continuing to abdicate their legislative responsibilities, both parties seem determined to see how low they can go.

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason and a nationally syndicated columnist.

© Copyright 2011 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

NEXT: Drinking Problem

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    1. Still don’t care.

  1. No alt text rating McConnell’s performance of the Little Bunny Foo Foo song?

  2. Fuck this guy in the neck. And the rest of these assholes that are willing to let a golden opportunity slip through their fingers to actually do something to reduce spending. Instead, they’re raising taxes which we all know will only encourage more spending. Fuck.

    1. Fuck…fuck

      I am so using that.

      1. Bookends for the kids.

        1. The kids need leadership.

          1. +++ the bum needs to go. Go Mitch, go … Away

    2. “willing to let a golden opportunity slip through their fingers to actually do something to reduce spending. Instead, they’re raising taxes which we all know will only encourage more spending.”

      Not all Republicans actually want to reduce spending. Many Republicans, perhaps even most, only want to reduce spending on their political opponents pet projects – they want to spend like drunken sailors on their own pet projects. Most Republicans are not as principled as someone like Ron Paul.

      1. But come on, OUR spending is important, it is the other side’s spending that is wasteful!

      2. YA….THINK???

      3. Why you hatin’ on drunken sailors ? They only spend their own money.

    3. Since when have low taxes ever discouraged spending?

    4. You didn’t think it would be any other way….did you???

  3. McConnell is a coward of the first order. I sincerely wish I had the opportunity to say that to his face. To call him a lowlife bottom-feeder is an insult to crustaceans.

    1. Saying it on the internet is almost as good.

      1. You got that right!

    2. Bitch McConnell. That guy is such a bitch.

  4. First, it is unconstitutional. The Congress can’t give away its power like that. Second, it is a dumb idea. The thinking is that if you let the Black Jesus raise the debt as he likes, he still owns the economy and the debt. But that is wishful thinking. No one is going to let the Congress off the hook for that. And the Democrats are shameless enough to raise the debt and then lie about the Republicans being responsible for it.

    This shit is going to end sooner or later. It might as well be now. Pass a 500 billion debt limit increase with 500 billion in actual cuts in it, and tell the Democrats to like it or lump it. If the black Jesus chooses to default, it will be his choice.

    1. When nobody is paying attention, the government commits unconstitutional acts without facing repercussions, and nobody (in sufficient numbers or fervor) is willing to tell them it’s fucking unacceptable, let along a self-repudiation of legitimacy.

      Congress may only make law, not law-makers, but who gives a shit? After all, me and you, John, are just stupid, retarded neo-Confederates clinging to guns and medieval ideology. What could we possibly have to say about the schemes of the God-Emperor and his 535 little helpers?

    2. Congress willingly abdicates its responsibilities all the time. And no one came back at the Democrats who voted to authorize the Iraq war, did they? DID THEY?

      McConnell is a brilliant tactician.

      1. We should infiltrate the government of a sizable, influential state and secede from the Union. Congress and the dipshit-in-chief can suck it.

      2. Good point about the Iraq war. But the Democrats own most of the media and thus can set debate in ways the Republicans can’t. The Democrats can get away with levels of hypocrisy that the Republicans can’t.

        I see your point. And at first I liked the plan. But I am just pessimistic that it will work.

      3. the base realignment & closure commission is but one example of congress delegating responsibility.

        1. That still had to be approved by Congress. They just delegated the writing of the bill to a commission, not the actual bill. The problem with McConnel’s idea is the 2/3rds requirement. That is unconstitutional. The BRAC only required a single up or down vote. Basically the BRAC commission drafted a bill and then Congress voted on it.

        2. All regulatory agencies are examples of congress delegating responsibility.
          Every one is a violation of the constitution because it gives unelected bureaucrats the power to create regulation with the power of law.
          Congress loves this because they can throw up their hands and say “I didn’t vote for it!”
          Cowardly sacks of shit.

    3. This shit is going to end sooner or later. It might as well be now later.


    4. it will be his choice.

      You certainly have the spin down. You know Democrats would have been fine passing a clean bill, and Obama offered a huge deal that heavily favored Republican priorities, which they rejected because it was offered by Obama. Polling indicates that people will blame Republicans more than Obama if this falls apart, as well they should, since it’s only that a Democrat is in the white house, one GOP minions like yourself seem to think it fine to call derogatory racist names, that raising the debt ceiling has become controversial. But by all means do hang onto your desperate party spin, it’s probably all you have.

      1. Elections have consiquences. Looks like Obama is going to have to come further to the other side or not get his deal.

        1. Nobody was elected for the purpose of wrecking the economy. When their psychotic anti-American behavior gets Republicans booted from the majority in 2012, will you still claim that elections have consequences?

          1. Nobody was elected for the purpose of wrecking the economy.

            I disagree

    5. That is fucking bullshit! Congress gives away it’s power all the time. Like giving the President the leeway to start any of the wars you are so god damn fond of!!!

  5. Black Jesus

    Also acceptable and just as witty: The Anointed One.
    I chuckle every time I hear it. When they let us have TV.

    1. I also like Magic Negro

    2. yea black jesus would only be relevant if one thought jesus was white to begin with. galilians are mid-east semite & are olive skinned.

      1. But Semites are not black either, so the joke still works. It only wouldn’t work if you thought the real Jesus was black in which case “black Jesus” would be a redundency like saying “the Jewish Jesus”.

      2. “olive skinned”

        when i was in Sunday School, i thought that meant Jesus was green.

        1. Only on Orion.

        2. Did He have a pimiento anywhere on Him?

    3. I like dear reader.

      it covers the creepy cultism surrounding Obama and his incompetence.

  6. The grand government of our little de facto unitary democracy keeps stooping lower and lower. I wish they’d all just suffer cardiac arrest and die already.

    1. There is a great counter history to be written where the plane that hit the Pentegon on 9-11 hit the Capitol instead killing a large majority of Congress.

      1. TomClancy already wrote it.

      2. Implausible. Have you ever watched CSPAN? They’re rarely there.

    2. You shouldn’t joke like that. Somebody will call you a bloodthirsty libertarian, and then you’ll have to explain that it was just a joke, and of course you don’t want your ideological enemies to die, because that would be childish.

      1. I want my “ideological enemies” to die, and rightly so, only when they’re bringing their ideology to rule over others. Your right to act according to immoral, tyrannical, unjustifiable bullshit ends once you swear your oath of office and acquire the power to govern people.

        1. People who are not immoral and tyrannical do not seek political office.

          Those who wish to have the power to govern are sacks of shit to begin with.

          The act of seeking political office should automatically disqualify a person from having it.

          1. Reminds me of the Arthur C. Clarke computerized constitutions, which operated on pretty much the same theory.

          2. What you say is mostly true, but there are a few modern counter examples: Ron Paul, Gary Johnson, and Rand Paul come to mind.

        2. Res Publica Americana|7.20.11 @ 7:45AM|#
          I want my “ideological enemies” to die, and rightly so, only when they’re bringing their ideology to rule over others.

          In other words, when they are part of a government. So, just to be clear on this, so I can quote you later with no backtracking on your part: you want all government employees to die. Is that right?

          1. Crickets?
            Never mind. I’ll just assume it’s another tough-guy, anarcho-libertarian violence fantasy.

            1. 1) I have a job.

              2) I’m not feeding the trolls anymore.

  7. Yeah, yeah, yeah but Mitch McConnell is a very attractive young lady.

    1. Yes, indeed I take her in the ass daily.

      1. I prefer the Gang of Thikth

  8. On CNBC, A R Sorkin (replacement administration cheerleading dweeb) just asked Mary Shapiro to tell the audience why her agency needs more money.

    Budget crisis? WHAT budget crisis?


    [EMPIRE-Cob Job Plan]

    It is not a matter as to if the American ? Israeli Military Industrial Complex ? the [EMPIRE], will default, as much as can it cob, some sort of Economic Plan that will not drag down the rest of the Geo-Economic Global Economy, as the [EMPIRE] will agree on some sort of plan, will ? the [EMPIRE] opinion-oligopoly, [THE BIG THREE] which is to say, they the few, controlled and held in their hands, as it were the fait of the many, the ratings agencies [S&P 500] Stands & Poor, Moody’s and Fitch which up to the present, all located in the [EMPIRE] laud it which you can expect to happen once again closing their eye’s, to the long term kick the can down the road policy, the [BIG-3] cannot be expected to stick their collective necks out against those that can and will rain terror down upon them, no, they will support the boss’s.

    [Passing Muster]

    The Larger question is will the plan pass muster with the independent [PDRC] Peoples Democratic Republic of China which has its own State Run and Funded Rating Agency Dagong Global Ratings Co., Ltd., and has previously down graded the [EMPIRE] ratings from an [AA] rating to [A+] on [November 9th, 2010] in response to the [2nd] round of the [QE-2$USD$] Quantitative Easing Two Dollar Devaluation Inflationary back door Tariff raising the cost of imports to the [EMPIRE] at the same time lowering the cost of products to be sold outside the [EMPIRE action, has now once again place the [EMPIRE] on a negative watch list as once again the [EMPIRE] raises the specter of a [QE-3$USD$] financial action, and then there is the soon too be established new German independent [EU] funded Ratings Agency, look to the interests of the [EU] and not those of the [EMPIRE] or would they continue to work hand and glove with the [BIG-3], Fool Me Once, Shame on Me, Fool Me Twice, Shame On You!

    [Cut, Cap, and Balance–VS–Spend, Tax, and Bankruptcy]

    The Stool rests upon [3] Three Legs, and if one is not there your left with only two legs to support your backside. The fact is clear that the [EMPIRE] must Cut, Cap, and Balance. The days of that can’t be cut that can’t be capped, and that can’t be balanced, are long over, now its time to stop, the uncontrolled spending, and direct and indirect taxation which is leading an entire [21st] Century into Bankruptcy.


    The Military-Industrial Complex, overseas bases must be closed, all the plans for such items as Okinawa have to be scraped, and the concept of the containment of those nations within its Blue & Gold Nuclear Choke Chain Necklace running from the Black Sea Eastward to the Arctic Pacific Ended, its must mothball a major part of its fleets, both Carrier Task Groups and Trident Submarines, the entire size of the Military-Industrial Complex must be trimmed to the bone, the Wars of Economic Stimulus and Regime, under the cover of Wars on Terrorism must end. Cuts in Medicare and Medicate begin at the [1%] Rich of the Globe in the [EMPIRE] which must be to take care of themselves they can and should be required to pay for their own retirements, and healthcare without public assistance. Those earning [$30K$USD’s$] Thirty Thousand [$USD’s] must be exempt from tax.


    There has to be a cap at some point established were automatic tax’s increases begin not only on individuals but on corporations, the guy at the top has to be held to a certain [%Percentage%] above which he can not earn more than the guy at the bottom, in any form, cash or stock options, the guy at the bottom has a plastic show curtain from Wally World and the guy at the top has a [$5K$] Five Thousand Dollar shower curtain, made by some other rich guy. There has to be an automatic trip wire that stops the spending of any government entity that can not be supported by tax’s taken in, and not by expecting [QE’s] Quantitative Easing, start up the printing press, when Uncle Sam Money Bags is willing to Print [QE$UDS], what’s to lose, mentality.


    There has to be a new way of thinking, there has to be a balance stuck between the [1%] and the rest of the [99%] in the [EMPIRE], and then with the rest of the Geo-Economic developing Spheres of Parity, there has to be a balance struck between the Military Industrial Complex, between the needs for national defense only scrapping Imperialism for the pursuit of a Competitive Peace Time Geo-Economic [EMPIRE] Industrial Complex.

    [The Road to Economic Disaster ? Spend, Tax, and Bankruptcy]

    [Spend -QE’s] simply printing more [$USD’s$] and treasury certificates, devaluing the [$USD$] while it creates a backdoor tariff trying to protect the [EMPIRE] from competition it cannot defeat, [Tax] the population from top to well below the [1%] and leaving the [1%] untouched taking money need just to survive from the population, and [Bankruptcy], as their will be no Jobs, leading to higher unemployment less of a tax base and more of a dependent society without a social safety net.

    [The Geo-Economic Spheres of Parity Solution]

    The solution is in progress in the Communist Spheres of Economic Parity, Regional Spheres of Influence which are using combined economic regional [SDR’s] Special Drawing Rights, of Association Memberships, removing themselves from the [$USD$] Geo ? Economic World Based Economy, and any connections to the World Bank, [IMF] and Wall St., with caps and controls upon their Regional Spheres of Economic Parity, placing high priorities upon their regional Infrastructures [Roads, Bridges, Water Reclamation Projects, Railway, Transportation, etc.] , Healthcare for their citizens, Care for their Youth and Elderly, and Education for their citizenry. Uncontrolled Capitalism has proven to be the Roadway to World Global Economic Disaster, as it sinks it sucks everything down into its vortex along with it. This along with the creation of Regional Ratings Agencies ending the [Big-3 EMPIRE] choke hold, of one sided economic opinion, and creating new [21st] Century solutions in a new economic world, breaking all ties to the [EMPIRE] and its [$USD$] based Geo-Economic Structure in favor of Spheres of Economic Parity.



    1. Words move, music moves
      Only in time; but that which is only living
      Can only die. Words, after speech, reach
      Into the silence. Only by the form, the pattern,
      Can words or music reach
      The stillness, as a Chinese jar still
      Moves perpetually in its stillness.
      Not the stillness of the violin, while the note lasts,
      Not that only, but the co-existence,
      Or say that the end precedes the beginning,
      And the end and the beginning were always there
      Before the beginning and after the end.
      And all is always now. Words strain,
      Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,
      Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,
      Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place,
      Will not stay still. Shrieking voices
      Scolding, mocking, or merely chattering,
      Always assail them. The Word in the desert
      Is most attacked by voices of temptation,
      The crying shadow in the funeral dance,
      The loud lament of the disconsolate chimera.
      The detail of the pattern is movement,
      As in the figure of the ten stairs.
      Desire itself is movement
      Not in itself desirable;
      Love is itself unmoving,
      Only the cause and end of movement,
      Timeless, and undesiring
      Except in the aspect of time
      Caught in the form of limitation
      Between un-being and being.
      Sudden in a shaft of sunlight
      Even while the dust moves
      There rises the hidden laughter
      Of children in the foliage
      Quick now, here, now, always –
      Ridiculous the waste sad time
      Stretching before and after.

      1. The Moon and the Dead

        The road of the battle languished,
        The hate from the guns was still,
        While the moon rose up from a smoke cloud,
        And looked at the dead on the hill.

        Pale was her face with anguish,
        Wet were her eyes with tears,
        As she gazed on the twisted corpses,
        Cut off in their earliest years.

        Some were bit by the bullet,
        Some were kissed by the steel,
        Some were crushed by the cannon,
        But all were still, how still!

        The smoke wreaths hung in the hollows,
        The blood stink rose in the air;
        And the moon looked down in pity,
        At the poor dead lying there.

        Light of their childhood’s wonder,
        Moon of their puppy love,
        Goal of their first ambition,
        She watched them from above.

        Yet not with regret she mourned them,
        Fair slain on the field of strife,
        Fools only lament the hero,
        Who gives for faith his life.

        She sighed for the lives extinguished,
        She wept for the loves that grieve,
        But she glowed with pride on seeing,
        That manhood still doth live.

        The moon sailed on contented,
        Above the heaps of slain,
        For she saw that manhood liveth,
        And honor breathes again.

        1. There was a young whore from Kilkenny,
          Who charged two fucks for a penny,
          For half of that sum,
          You could bugger her bum,
          An economy practised by many

          1. No, I don’t care for that a’tall.

    2. “Bear in mind, Sancho, that one man is no more than another, unless he
      does more than another; all these tempests that fall upon us are signs
      that fair weather is coming shortly, and that things will go well with
      us, for it is impossible for good or evil to last for ever; and hence it
      follows that the evil having lasted long, the good must be now nigh at
      hand; so thou must not distress thyself at the misfortunes which happen
      to me, since thou hast no share in them.”

    3. “In England a king hath little more to do than to make war and give away places; which in plain terms, is to impoverish the nation and set it together by the ears. A pretty business indeed for a man to be allowed eight hundred thousand sterling a year for, and worshipped into the bargain! Of more worth is one honest man to society and in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived.”

    4. I’m surprised that the Tavistock Institute isn’t in there somewhere.

  10. I think there has to be a cap at some point established were automatic tax’s increases begin not only on individuals but on corporations and not all Republicans actually want to reduce spending.

  11. Time present and time past
    Are both perhaps present in time future,
    And time future contained in time past.
    If all time is eternally present
    All time is unredeemable.
    What might have been is an abstraction
    Remaining a perpetual possibility
    Only in a world of speculation.
    What might have been and what has been
    Point to one end, which is always present.
    Footfalls echo in the memory
    Down the passage which we did not take
    Towards the door we never opened
    Into the rose-garden. My words echo
    Thus, in your mind.
    But to what purpose
    Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
    I do not know.
    Other echoes
    Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow?
    Quick, said the bird, find them, find them,
    Round the corner. Through the first gate,
    Into our first world, shall we follow
    The deception of the thrush? Into our first world.
    There they were, dignified, invisible,
    Moving without pressure, over the dead leaves,
    In the autumn heat, through the vibrant air,
    And the bird called, in response to
    The unheard music hidden in the shrubbery,
    And the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the roses
    Had the look of flowers that are looked at.
    There they were as our guests, accepted and accepting.
    So we moved, and they, in a formal pattern,
    Along the empty alley, into the box circle,
    To look down into the drained pool.
    Dry the pool, dry concrete, brown edged,
    And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight,
    And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,
    The surface glittered out of heart of light,
    And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.
    Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.
    Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,
    Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.
    Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
    Cannot bear very much reality.
    Time past and time future
    What might have been and what has been
    Point to one end, which is always present.

  12. McConnell’s move is dumb. It’s openly for political cover, and nothing else, it doesn’t solve the problem we’re facing (which is a potential issue right now due to rumblings from the ratings agencies), and, of course, what he’s proposing is an unconstitutional delegation of a core power.

    I disagree that the balanced budget amendment is a bad idea. In fact, Jacob’s mocking comments are exactly why we need it. A current Congress might be able to just get up the gumption to pass an amendment. And I think it would easily get ratified by the states. What Congress is incapable and will remain incapable of doing, of course, is restraining themselves in a consistent or long-term manner. Also note that voting for a balanced budget amendment by itself would likely be popular, which means no political courage required. Actually making the cuts required by such an amendment will be more politically risky, but that’s some other guy’s problem.

    1. On top of this, McConnell probably thinks he’s being “statesman” like in ending an impasse. However, it’s not always smart, right, or even prudent to settle a dispute just to settle the dispute. We’ve got a real problem on our hands that needs resolution. To put this in simple terms, we need more Normandy and less Munich.

      1. Fear and ignorance is never the right formula for statesmanship.

        I don’t know why at my age I am still shocked at how impotent these guys are. Why did they run for “public” office? For the perks?

        Don’t raise the limit and let Barry not pay the seniors for a couple months. Let’s see how long that lasts before they blame Barry, and not the other guys. Isin’t it worth a try?

        1. We all know that actual default isn’t in the cards unless the government decides to do it intentionally for some insane reason. Ditto my mom not getting her SS check. So I have no problem at all with the Republicans pushing this issue all the way. It’s time to fix things.

      2. McConnell ia as smart as he looks and a real ass kicker to boot.

  13. I wish the Repubs would at least consider an increase in revenue. If they were willing to put that on the table, then they would have some say in which loopholes and deductions are removed from the tax code. Lord knows the tax code needs to be cleaned up anyway. Why not do it now when everyone is apparently on board with the idea?

    1. I don’t agree, but what they could do is push for true tax reform. Like a flat tax or a fair tax or some other not-entirely bullshit tax.

      1. Ya that will happen.

        1. Whatever. It’s that kind of thinking that got us here in the first place. One thing in our favor is that members of Congress are aware that a significant portion of the population is, for once, concerned about the spending and debt problem actually getting solved. Or, at least, really addressed. The temptation to do bullshit as usual is there, of course, for the more idiotic people in DC (the president, McConnell), but plenty see the potential to lose their seats over non-action.

      2. The problem is that the Dems will never agree to a Fair or Flat tax in these talks. They aren’t willing to sign anything that doesn’t include tax increases.

        The best case scenario, given the power split, is probably that no deal is reached. Unfortunately, that gives Obama the power to prioritize spending based on his values. Fortunately, we can’t go into any more debt.

    2. Revenue, by this I assume you mean theft?

      Very few people willingly donate to the Federal Mafia.

      1. thats a nasty thing to say about the Mafia

      2. Yes, yes. Taxation is theft. I get it.

        My point is that the Repubs should use this opportunity to clean up the tax code and remove some of the market distortions that it creates. We’ll all be better off, even if we’re not living in your anarchist FantasyLand.

  14. There was never any doubt the little pussey would suck Democrat dick….the Republicans always do!

  15. Two words…Constitutional Convention.

    A Balanced Budget Amendment can be passed without the consent of the idiots in Congress. It may be the only way to save the Republic from its own government and I’d pay cash money to watch these buffoons squirm as the people took action to limit their power.

    1. Problem with that is that we might end up with a Constitution that actually etches in stone things we don’t want. In fact, I’d be terrified of a Constitutional Convention right now, especially if it were at all influenced by our current political class.

      1. You think continuing on this path is the answer?

        1. Of course not, but I don’t think there’s a silver bullet solution that doesn’t require getting a significant percentage of the population back to distrusting the government and demanding firm limits on its powers. Without that, a new Constitution would likely be a blank check.

          1. Not talking about a new constitution. I’m talking about amending what we have as provided in Article V “Convention for proposing Amendments”. (“Constitutional” Convention may not be the precisely proper term.)

            Talking ONE issue here…Balanced Budget Amendment.

            1. Okay, that’s a little different, but the last time we had a convention like that, the members of the convention went crazy and enacted something not at all on the agenda. Unfortunately, as great as that unexpected result was, I doubt we can expect anything like that this time around.

              I’m actually thinking that a set of amendments should be proposed to repair the damage. A repeal of the 17th, for instance, along with a balanced budget amendment, one reasserting the limits of the Commerce clause, and a couple of others to undo some damage done by court rulings. Something manageable that can restore some concept of limited government.

              1. That would be great. But we need 38 states on board. You think we have enough?

                1. Not even close.

                  Additionally, at least a massive minority of Americans are categorically opposed to limited, or just, government as you and I think of it, even in terms of paying it lip service. It’s not going to happen.

  16. Does anyone here think this crap will make it past the house?

    And it still has not made it to the senate floor.

    I give it under a 10% chance of ever becoming law.

  17. Why is it that the Republicans are always in the wrong if they don’t “compromise” by going along with the Democratic program?

    How about the Democratic intransigence? Doesn’t that count for anything?

  18. I don’t know. I think their may yet be enough rationality left that 3/4 of the states could ratify a BBA. I would shy away from Pro Libertate’s idea of trying to pass several amendments at once for fear of introducing agendas with less support, and perhaps diluting support that might otherwise have been given. I think if we stuck to a BBA-only agenda we could get 3/4. Even the far left realizes the mess we are in and it is the ability of the government to spend more than it takes in that’s responsible.

    The only people who are against a BBA are those who’s power would be directly diminished…those currently serving in office.

    Of course I may be drastically underestimating the rationality of the general populace…

  19. Don’t know. I think their may yet be enough rationality left that 3/4 of the states could ratify a BBA. I would shy away from Pro Libertate’s idea of trying to pass several amendments at once for fear of introducing agendas with less support, and perhaps diluting support that might otherwise have been given. I think if we stuck to a BBA-only agenda we could get 3/4. Even the far left realizes the mess we are in and it is the ability of the government to spend more than it takes in that’s responsible.

    The only people who are against a BBA are those who’s power would be directly diminished…those currently serving in office.

    Of course I may be drastically underestimating the rationality of the general populace…

    (Sorry about the double post, could have sworn I hit the reply link)

    1. I’d be okay just focusing on the balanced budget amendment for now, and attempting the full corrective slate later. Reducing spending and growth would help all by itself.

      1. Help what?

  20. In this political climate, a balanced budget amendment would be a gimmick by politicians who want to like like they’re doing something.

    That doesn’t mean such an amendment would be wrong – if only pure state(wo)men supported it, it would probably never pass.

    So long as it discourages tax increases and has a dispute-settlement mechanism which doesn’t involve the judiciary taking over the budget, then such an amendment might encourage Congress to do what it ought to be doing without an amendment.

    Congress passes unbalanced budgets far more often than it abridges freedom of speech or the press. There’s an amendment against Congress doing the latter – not always enforced, but that doesn’t mean we should have no First Amendment at all. Likewise, Congress would of course violate any Balanced Budget Amendment, put perhaps not as much as if there were no amendment at all.

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