Democrats up the ante on default bill

It looked like Congress was close to an agreement on funding the government and avoiding default on Thursday, but negotiations fell apart yesterday.  And as Republicans abandoned their insistence on defunding Obamacare, Democrats made demands of their own, insisting that Republicans agree to end the sequester, the across-the-board cuts from last time we were about to go over the fiscal cliff that have actually worked to curb government spending. [Read more...]

Defund Obamacare or shut down the government

Republicans in Congress say they will agree to stop the impending shutdown of the federal government only if Democrats agree to defund Obamacare.  Does this strike you as a disastrous strategy? [Read more...]

Obama will ask Congress before attacking Syria

President Obama has agreed to ask  Congress for authorization before he attacks Syria.  I salute that, since the Constitution requires Congress to approve going to war.  However, I predict that a coalition of liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans will vote the proposal down.  What do you think Congress should do?  What do you think Congress will do? [Read more...]

The government efficiency argument

Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein  says that “How government is run, more than what exactly it does, seems set to be the main battleground of American politics in coming years.”  He then cites articles from the New America Foundation that say the government’s approach is to build a  kludge (“a clumsy, inelegant, difficult to extend, hard to maintain yet effective and quick solution to a problem”) and to function like “a giant coupon machine.”  Explains Klein:  “Think clunky Obamacare versus streamlined single-payer health care, or government’s tendency to deliver benefits via the tax code, through deductions, credits and exclusions, rather than by direct payments.”

Do you see where this is going?  But is there a valid point here? [Read more...]

Checking and balancing the President

The Constitution’s separation of powers and checks and balances at work:  A federal appeals court has said President Obama’s practice of recess appointments to avoid congressional approval is unconstitutional.  Presidents have had the authority to appoint people to office temporarily between Congressional sessions, but Obama has construed that to include holiday breaks and other pauses in the ongoing sessions. [Read more...]

The federal program that wouldn’t die

There is a line item in the budget that costs nearly a half million dollars.  Republicans oppose it.  Democrats oppose it.  President Obama wants to kill it.  The House Republican leadership wants to kill it.  And yet, this program has gone on for twenty years and NO ONE CAN END IT. [Read more...]


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