The end of Congress as we know it?

Will Republican intransigence mean the end of Congress, at least as you and I know it, and the designers of checks and balances designed our government?

Unfortunately, too many Republicans see the hyped debt ceiling crisis as a way to slash the social safety net.  Republicans want to dos this, because what you and I see as a safety net, they see as “leechdom”.  To quote Paul Craig Roberts, President Reagan’s former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in 1980:

“To bring a number of Republicans onboard, the Reagan administration resorted to a non-economic argument that the tax cuts would starve the government of revenues and force the desired Republican shrinkage of government.  I opposed this tactic.  I argued that it would confirm the claim that Republicans wanted to take the tax burden off the rich and place it on the poor by curtailing the services from government.

I pointed out that House Speaker Tip O’Neil and the Senate Democrats were prepared to pas the Reagan tax rate reduction, and that there were enough House and Senate Republicans and Democrats to carry the vote.  But the White house Chief-of-Staff would have none of it.  He wanted a Republican “victory” over the Democrats.  Thus a necessary economic policy was misrepresented as a crusade against “big government.”

Republican concerns with creating a “leech class” do not take the realities of non-agrarian modern culture into account.  Large numbers of people in a market economy can find themselves without resources through no fault of their own.  To quote Dr.Paul Craig,

“No modesrn country can simply say, “OK, hard luck, go die in the streets with your wives and children.”

 For Craig’s entire article on this topic, go to:…

Craig postulates that:

“We are talking about a crisis beyond anything the world has ever seen.  Does anyone think that President Obama is going to just sit there while the power of the US collapses?  He doesn’t have to do so.  There are presidential directives and executive orders in place, but there by George W. Bush himself, that President Obama can invote to declare a national emergency, suspend the debt ceiling limit, and continue to issue Treasury Debt.  This is exactly what would happen.”

In fact, my legal analysis agrees with Professor Craig’s.  As I noted, when I provided a link to the Congressional Research Service (CRS) “Report for Contress [on the President’s ] National Emergency Powers, see full Memorandum of Law at this link:…  

The scenario fleshed out so thoroughly in Professor Craigs article is directly analogous to the situation facing the USA in payment for Civil War debt that led to the passage of the 14th Amendment to the US constitution, and the National Emergency Powers are both legal, and in place, in the situation created by the current intransigent Republicans who are placing a hollow victory for their party above the well being of the Nation.  Once this this has occurred, Congress risks losing its control over the power of the purse, even as it has already given up its control over the War Power.

Again, I agree with Professor Craig:

“A Congress that is willing to destroy its remaining power over a debt ceiling increase that is less than a Federal Reserve loan to one US bank is a Congress moved to folly by Republican intransigence.”

Cross posted at BlueMassGroup

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