The bully politics of sequester
By Frank Salvato
In the end, at least in Washington DC – and specifically in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's chamber, it's all about the politics of elections and less about good government. If it weren't, the American people would have witnessed myriad debates on at least one of the over thirteen budget bills passed out of the Republican-led House of Representatives; bills left to succumb to the politicized death of Mr. Reid's unconstitutional "pocket veto." That's what makes the upcoming "crisis" of addressing the sequester – the result of an unconstitutional "supercommittee" budget agreement that produced last August's Budget Control Act – all the more a futile gesture for the sincere, even if the "crisis" is completely avoidable.
I say that last August's supercommittee-produced agreement is unconstitutional because all bills addressing revenue must – by constitutional mandate – originate in the US House of Representatives. Article 1, Section 7 of the US Constitution states, boldly: "All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills."
In that the "supercommittee" was engaged in examining not only areas were the budget was to be reduced, but revenue increases, including raising taxes; tax reforms, such as simplifying the tax code; and in that the committee was a bastardized mix of members of both houses – US Reps. Xavier Becerra (P-CA), Jim Clyburn (D-SC), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Fred Upton (R-MI), Dave Camp (R-MI), and US Sens. Patty Murray (P-WA), Max Baucus (D-MT), John Kerry (P-MA), John Kyl (R-AZ), Rob Portman (R-OH) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) – it can be successfully argued that the Budget Control Act actually emanated from a body other than the US House of Representatives. But then, in today's Washington DC, there is little credence afforded the US Constitution; the law of the land.
I also identify as unconstitutional Sen. Harry Reid's (D-NV), habit of refusing to bring to the floor legitimately passed legislation out of the House. Throughout his tenure as Senate Majority Leader, Mr. Reid has routinely "pocket vetoed" a plethora of legitimately and constitutionally crafted legislation passed out of the House. And while the US Constitution affords each legislative chamber to craft its own rules of procedure, Article 1, Section 5, states "Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member."
…the Constitution reserves the right of "veto" to the Executive Branch exclusively; for the President of the United States alone. Article 1, Section 7, states, clearly "Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States: If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it."
Again, given the short shrift that the US Constitution receives today, it shouldn't surprise anyone that the business of government includes procedures and tactics that can only be considered wholly unconstitutional.
That said, the sequestration looms.
Last week, many of the larger Defense Department contractors announced that, as Congress prepares to debate the sequester, they, too, are considering the moves that sequester would force them to make, namely, employee layoffs due to decreased federal funding to satisfy defense contracts.
Last week, aerospace giant Lockheed-Martin announced that it is preparing "pink slips" – notifications of layoff – to all 123,000 of its workers. News of similar preparations at Northrop-Grumman and Boeing was also present in the media. All in all, the number of defense contractor and subcontractor employees affected, should the sequester be enacted, is estimated by the non-partisan accounting firm of Deloitte to be 3.5 million people.
In addition, the Center for Security Policy estimates that the US economy will hemorrhage $59.4 billion in lost earnings and $86.4 billion in Gross State Product.
The other side of the coin, while also unattractive, secured the Progressive and Democrat sacrosanct programs of entitlement. Under the Budget Control Act, sequester would see cuts to mandatory and discretionary spending in the years 2013 to 2021, and the cuts would be equal to the difference between $1.2 trillion and the amount of deficit reduction enacted from the joint committee. But where entitlements are concerned the reductions would only apply to Medicare providers, not to Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare beneficiaries, civil and military employee pay, or veterans. No reforms are mandated.
Is there any wonder why Sen. Reid and his political cronies aren't beating down their counterparts' doors seeking to avoid the sequester? They get everything that they want – a devastated defense budget, long a quest for Liberal Democrats and Progressives, and the political security of being able to proclaim they preserved the entitlement system. One has to wonder if the Republicans on the "supercommittee" weren't drunk when they signed-off on this garbage piece of legislation.
Now, let's recall one of the big sticking points that facilitated the formation of the unconstitutional "supercommittee" in the first place: Democrats, led by the nose by their bully Progressive leadership, insist that taxes be raised on corporations and the dreaded "one-percenters."
For the record – and only a financial bubblehead doesn't recognize this – corporations, while they may pay federal and state taxes on paper, do not incur the pain of paying taxes. Their tax cost is always – always and without fail – passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices. Therefore, the idea floated – disingenuously – by the Progressives that those evil corporations must pay "their fair share"…well, they are simply advocating for a tax increase on those who actually have to pay taxes; federally, that works out to about 53 percent of the nation or, as Ayn Rand would call them, the "producers."
As to the massive amount of revenue gleaned for acquiescing to the Progressives demands for tax hikes for "the rich" – who they define as anyone making over $200,000 and any couple making over $250,000, according to Herbert Grubel, a Professor of Economics (Emeritus) at Simon Fraser University and a Senior Fellow at the Fraser Institute:
Which brings me to a critical point.
How is it that each and every Republican lawmaker isn't in front of a news camera, radio microphone or newspaper reporter screaming this message:
Again, I ask, why isn't every Republican elected to office – federally, as well as on the state and local levels – getting ahead of this issue and messaging cohesively and coherently?
Sometimes I wonder about the elected Republican class.
Frank Salvato is the Executive Director for BasicsProject.org a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) research and education initiative focusing on Constitutional Literacy and the threats of Islamic jihadism and Progressive neo-Marxism. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His organization, BasicsProject.org, partnered in producing the original national symposium series addressing the root causes of radical Islamist terrorism. He is a member of the International Analyst Network and has been a featured guest on al Jazeera's Listening Post and on Russia Today. He also serves as the managing editor for The New Media Journal. Mr. Salvato has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel, and was featured in the documentary, "Ezekiel and the MidEast 'Piece' Process: Israel's Neighbor States." He is the author of the series Understanding the Threat of Radical Islam, an educational pamphlet series. Mr. Salvato is a regular guest on talk radio including on The Captain's America Radio Show, nationally syndicated by the Phoenix Broadcasting and ABC Starguide Satellite Networks, catering to the US Armed Forces around the world. He is also heard weekly on The Roth Show with Dr. Laurie Roth syndicated nationally on the IRN-USA Radio Network. Mr. Salvato has been interviewed on Radio Belgrade One. His opinion-editorials have been published by The American Enterprise Institute, The Washington Times, Accuracy in Media, Human Events, and are syndicated nationally. He is a featured political writer for EducationNews.org, BigGovernment.comand Examiner.com and is occasionally quoted in The Federalist. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.