Walter E. Williams: Who May Tax and Spend?

Constitutionally and by precedent, the has the exclusive prerogative to originate bills to appropriate money, as well as to raise revenues. The president is constitutionally permitted to propose tax and measures or veto them. Congress has the authority to ignore the president’s proposals and override his vetoes…

Seeing as a president cannot spend one dime that Congress does not first appropriate, what meaning can we attach to statements such as “under Barack Obama, government has increased 21 percent” and “under Barack Obama, welfare spending has increased 54 percent”?

Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection an...

Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Williams makes an extraordinarily important point. There is misdirection doing on here and we are wise to make note of it.

By blaming Obama (or Bush or Reagan or…) for the that is bankrupting (has bankrupted?) the country, focus is directed away from the very folks who are responsible for it.

As Williams notes:

No matter how Obama’s presidency is viewed, if we buy into the notion that it’s he whose binge is crippling our nation through massive debt and deficits, we will naturally focus our attention on the White House. The of the matter is that Washington has been on a binge no matter who has occupied the White House…

Believing that presidents have taxing and powers leaves Congress less politically accountable for our deepening economic quagmire. Of course, if you’re a congressman, not being held accountable is what you want.

He makes an excellent point regarding Obamacare. That monstrosity is funded with the concurrence of the House. Accordingly, the House may also eliminate the funding. To rail against Obamacare while continuing to fund it is hypocrisy of the highest order. As Williams points out:

Most members of our Republican-controlled House of Representatives say they’re against Obamacare. If they really were, they surely would attach a legislative rider or some other legislative device to the Department of Health and Human Services‘ appropriation bill to ban any money on Obamacare; they have the power to.

But they don’t have the political to do so, and their lives are made easier by the pretense that it’s the president controlling the spending. And we fall for it.

Thank you, Mr. Williams, for the reminder.

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