The latest inanity from Nancy Pelosi, as presented here by Ed Morrissey of Hot Air, weaves together several themes that have emerged during the budget battles: the Democrats’ dictatorial nature, their use of Congress as a scapegoat for overspending, their recharacterization of the debt ceiling debate as a debate over whether America will pay its debts, and their total ignorance of the Constitution.
Pelosi demonstrates the Democrats’ dictatorial leanings and disregard for the separation of powers by pronouncing that Obama should set his own debt ceiling:
[I]f I were president, I would use the 14th Amendment, which says that the United States will always be paying … I would just go do it, right.
This is in keeping with the Democrats’ desire to repeal the 22nd Amendment and let Obama serve forever. They simply want to arrogate all powers to the executive — and in perpetuity, it seems, or as long as Obama is in office, anyway — because they control the executive, while in the legislative branch they have to deal with that pesky House, which is always so annoying with all the talk of cutting spending and such.
Pelosi continues the theme, announced by Obama this past weekend, that we are where we are because Congress has spent irresponsibly — and that raising the debt ceiling isn’t about future debt, but paying our past debts:
But the Congress has incurred much of this debt. So what are we saying? We incurred it, but we’re not going to pay it? If you want to say we’re not going to do it so much in the future, well, that’s another thing, but you can’t say I’m not paying my past debts.
This is, of course, an echo of Obama’s remarks from this past weekend:
One thing I will not compromise over is whether or not Congress should pay the tab for a bill they’ve already racked up,” Obama said in his weekly address. “If Congress refuses to give the United States the ability to pay its bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy could be catastrophic.
This is, of course, remarkably dishonest. While is technically true that Congress’s participation is necessary to pass spending bills, the Obama/Pelosi claim airbrushes history by omitting the facts that Obama demanded a trillion dollar stimulus, and that he has piled up more debt in his four years ($6 trillion) than was ever thought possible for a single president in a single term.
The kicker to Morrissey’s post, of course, is Pelosi’a laughable ignorance of the Constitutional provision on which she claims to rely. Is it the Eleventh Amendment? The Fourteenth? Something something blah blah Constitution:
While it is tempting to end the post with a good laugh about Pelosi’s rank buffoonery, I want to make another pitch, as I did this past weekend, for Republicans not to make raising the debt ceiling the place where they take their stand.
They want to play the “no negotiation” game? Obama, Mr. Stimulus, wants to blame CONGRESS for overspending?
Fine. Here’s what you do.
You draw up a budget that has what you want. No more whining about what the other side will agree to. Just figure out what you want and then pass it.
And then approve nothing else. Whatsoever.
No continuing resolutions. Either pass our balanced budget, propose one of your own, or the government stops getting funded.
Yes, it’s risky electorally. But continuing the charade where nobody takes a stand is much riskier in much more important ways. And the last major publicized government shutdown, in the 1990s . . . wasn’t that a precursor to government surpluses? Does anybody believe the surpluses would not have happened without a Republican Congress willing to shut down the government on principle?
Here is the speech I would make if I were in Congress:
Recently, President Obama and Nancy Pelosi blamed Congress for racking up spending. And you know what? They’re right. Although the spending that got us in this mess was sought by presidents — first President Bush, then President Obama — it is ultimately here in the House that spending bills must originate. We are culpable for this debt crisis, just as they are. Because we went along.
I am taking the words of President Obama and Minority Leader Pelosi to heart. We are going to raise the debt ceiling, so that the government can continue to meet its past obligations in regular order. But now, we are going to step up and present a budget that is responsible. This new budget will not raise taxes any further than the increases that were requested by the Democrats earlier this year. But it will, for the first time, meet the same requirement that every responsible household has for its own budget: that there is enough money coming in to pay for the expenses we are incurring.
I don’t know if Americans realize that, under this president, we are now spending a trillion dollars every year more than we take in. I don’t know if people realize that our national debt has gone up $6 trillion under this president in four years. That’s more than the debt went up in 8 years of President Bush’s presidency.
This is a spending problem. You could impose a 100% tax rate on every millionaire in this country and it wouldn’t begin to pay off our $16 trillion debt. It would not close the gap. Only cutting spending will close the gap. And that is what we are doing today.
President Obama and Minority Leader Pelosi are right to blame Congress for overspending. Even though they asked for all that overspending, we gave it to them. Well, we’re not going to do it any more.
I want to stress that we are open to negotiation on how we pass a balanced budget. If President Obama wants to make a counterproposal that balances the budget in a different way, we will listen. But what we won’t do is consider any counterproposal that spends more money than we are taking in.
President Obama will say that balancing the budget hurts our ability to “invest” in various programs he thinks are important. “Investment,” of course, is the word he likes to use for “spending.” And we simply can’t afford to continue spending more than we take in, no matter how lofty or worthy the goals might sound.
If President Obama refuses to sign this budget, or propose an alternative that balances the budget for this year, then we will stop funding the government. The president and the media will say the Republicans are forcing a government shutdown, and I guess the polls say that the American public is going to blame us for it. I’d like to think y’all are smarter than that, but my colleagues and I are willing to take the political heat.
This is the moment. If not now, when?
This is a moral issue. By spending more on ourselves, we are raising taxes on our children. We are mortgaging their futures so we can spend too much today. That’s not right. Our children don’t have a vote. If somebody explained to them what is being done to their futures, they would probably stand up and scream: NO! But they can’t. So we have to speak for them.
Yes, taking that stand means Republicans might be blamed for shutting down the government, even though Democrats are the ones who refuse to pass a balanced budget. But that’s a risk we are willing to take. At a certain point, we all have to ask ourselves: why are we here? Why do we do this job? And it’s to make the country better.
But a nation that cannot get its financial house in order will crumble. Continuing this charade, ladies and gentlemen, is not why I was elected to the U.S. Congress.
Today, we are taking a stand. Today is the day that we say: we are only going to spend what we can afford, and no more.
Hey. A blogger can dream, can’t he?