-- James Madison, Speech in Congress, 1790
"There is not a more important and fundamental principle in legislation, than that the ways and means ought always to face the public engagements; that our appropriations should ever go hand in hand with our promises. To say that the United States should be answerable for twenty-five millions of dollars without knowing whether the ways and means can be provided, and without knowing whether those who are to succeed us will think with us on the subject, would be rash and unjustifiable. Sir, in my opinion, it would be hazarding the public faith in a manner contrary to every idea of prudence."
-- James Madison, Speech in Congress, 1790
Debt Up $1.59T Under GOP House—More in 15 Months Than First 97 Congresses Combined
Provided courtesy of CTMSR.com
Terence P. Jeffrey
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives, which took office in January 2011, has enacted federal spending bills under which the national debt has increased more in less than one term of Congress than in the first 97 Congresses combined.
In the fifteen months that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives--led by Speaker John Boehner--has effectively enjoyed a constitutional veto over federal spending, the federal government’s debt has increased by about $1.59 trillion.
Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7 of the Constitution says: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” A law appropriating money cannot be enacted unless it is approved by the House.
The approximately $1.59 trillion in new debt accumulated since the Republican-controlled House gained a veto over federal spending legislation is more than the total increase in the federal debt between 1789, when the first Congress convened, and October 1984, when the 98th Congress was nearing the end of its second session.
Rep. Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania served as speaker in the first Congress. Rep. Tip O’Neill of Massachusetts served his third term as speaker in the 98th Congress.
When Boehner became speaker on Jan. 5, 2011, the federal government was operating under a continuing resolution that had been passed on Dec. 21, 2010 by a lame-duck Congress. That CR expired on March 4, 2011.
On March 1, 2011, Boehner agreed to a new short-term spending deal with [Alleged] President Barack Obama and Democratic congressional leaders to keep the government running past the March 4, 2011 expiration of the old CR. Since March 4, 2011, federal expenditures have been carried out under a series of CRs approved by both the Republican-controlled House and the Democrat-controlled Senate and signed into law by [Alleged] President Obama.
At the close of business on March 4, 2011, the total federal debt was $14,182,627,184,881.03, according to the Treasury Department's Bureau of the Public Debt. At the close of business on May 31, 2012, it was 15,770,685,085,364.14. That is an increase of $1,588,057,900,483.11—in just 15 months.
All of the debt accumulated by the federal government throughout the history of the country did not exceed $1.588 trillion until October 1984.
Under the Republican-controlled House, the federal debt has been increasing at an average pace of about $105.9 billion per month.
Frederick Muhlenberg served two non-consecutive terms as speaker--in the first and third Congresses. At the end of the first Congress, in 1791, the total debt of the federal government was about $75.5 million, according to the U.S. Treasury.
Tip O’Neill served as speaker in the 95th through 99th Congresses, from 1977 through 1986.
At the end of September 1984, during the 98th Congress, the total national debt was approximately $1,572,266,000,000.00, according to the Treasury Department’s Monthly Statement of the Public Debt for that month. At the end of October 1984, it was $1,611,537,000,000.00, according to the Monthly Statement of the Public Debt.
Provided courtesy of CTMSR.com
New York Magazine
The real news in Mitt Romney’s interview with Mark Halperin, as Charles Pierce points out, is that Romney openly repudiated the central argument his party has been making against [Alleged] President Obama for the last three years: that he spent too much money and therefore deepened the economic crisis. Indeed Romney himself had been making this very case as recently as a week ago (“he bailed out the public sector, gave billions of dollars to the companies of his friends, and added almost as much debt as all the prior presidents combined. The consequence is that we are enduring the most tepid recovery in modern history.”) But in his Halperin interview, Romney frankly admits that reducing the budget deficit in the midst of an economic crisis would be a horrible idea:
Halperin: You have a plan, as you said, over a number of years, to reduce spending dramatically. Why not in the first year, if you’re elected — why not in 2013, go all the way and propose the kind of budget with spending restraints, that you’d like to see after four years in office? Why not do it more quickly?
Romney: Well because, if you take a trillion dollars for instance, out of the first year of the federal budget, that would shrink GDP over 5%. That is by definition throwing us into recession or depression. So I’m not going to do that, of course.
Read more at nymag.com ...
Tom Hoefling 2012
What if you went to a restaurant, read the menu, but every time you tried to order something you really want and need to keep body and soul together, they told you, "sorry, we're out of that"?
That's kind of the way it is nowadays for the conservative clientele of the Republican Party.
"Hello, welcome back to the Pachyderm-a-RINO Restaurant! I'm Mitt and I'll be your server today."
"Oh, hello again. Why don't you give me some of this 'Balance the Budget and Stop Deficit Spending Now' stew, please. I've always wanted to try it."
"Oh, that's really good stuff, you bet...but....sorry, Chef Boehner says that if you want that you're a big baby and just don't understand how the kitchen works."
"Oh my...well, okay, I guess...let's see...hmmm...then give me some of that 'Limited Government" salad..."
"Oh, the healthy dish that's in all our ads...well.....no....sorry, that's just too hard to make. The media critics would have a field day if we started cooking that up, and we'd lose our jobs, so no, you can't have that either."
"Wow. Hmmm...well...okey-dokey then...how about some of this 'Provide Equal Protection For the Right to Life' entre, with a side of 'Defend Marriage'..."
"No, of course you can't have that. Court order. What are you, a single-issue extremist?"
"Well, noooo...I like lots of things...uhmmm...do you have any 'Secure the Borders' succotash?"
"You are so heartless."
"Oh, well, gee thanks. So, is there anything at all I can actually order in this joint?"
"Well, no, but you can pay the bill, leave a big tip, and tell everybody in town how great it is that you didn't give your business to the Donkey Grill down the street - just like you always have!"
Tom Hoefling , March 25, 2012
PS ... if you want to eat at a place that actually provides everything that's advertised, and where the food is great, visit SelfGovernment.US!
Provided courtesy of Say NO to Socialism!
By Richard Wagner and Martin Gould
The gross costs of the national healthcare law rammed through Congress by [Alleged] President Barack Obama will reach an estimated $1.76 trillion over 10 years – nearly twice the amount originally projected.
The figure, which the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) revealed on Wednesday, is bound to cause embarrassment to the administration as it comes just as debate on “Obamacare” is starting to heat up again, two weeks before the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on whether the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.
Immediately the revelation stirred controversy among opponents of the bill.
“Both fiscally and for the sake of our health care system, Americans cannot afford the president’s healthcare law,” said Georgia Rep. Tom Price, chairman of the Republican Policy Committee.
“The longer the president’s healthcare law remains on the books, the greater the threat it poses to our nation’s healthcare and our fiscal well-being,” said Price, an orthopedic surgeon.
“The CBO’s revised cost estimate indicates that this massive government intrusion into America’s health care system will be far more costly than was originally claimed. The law’s true cost to American taxpayers is part of a series of promises [Alleged] President Obama and Democrats in Congress made that will be broken,: he said.
Healthcare expert Betsy McCaughey, the former lieutenant governor of New York State, told Newsmax that the original cost projections of the plan were “a shell game” and that the new report “inches closer to the truth” about the cost of the reforms.
Read this story at newsmax.com ...
The Committee for Tax, Monetary, and Spending Reform
Most voters continue to believe that no government program should be exempt when it comes to budget cuts.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 64% of Likely U.S. Voters say thoughtful spending cuts should be considered in every program of the federal government as the nation searches for solutions to the federal budget crises. Twenty-two percent (22%) disagree, and 13% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Read this story at rasmussenreports.com ...
America's Party Endorsed Independent Projects -> America's Founding Principles
America's Party News
Col. David Crockett
US Representative from Tennessee
Originally published in "The Life of Colonel David Crockett,"
by Edward Sylvester Ellis.
One day in the House of Representatives a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support. The Speaker was just about to put the question when Crockett arose:
"Mr. Speaker--I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the sufferings of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has not the power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I have never heard that the government was in arrears to him.
"Every man in this House knows it is not a debt. We cannot, without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as charity. Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much money of our own as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week's pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks."
He took his seat. Nobody replied. The bill was put upon its passage, and, instead of passing unanimously, as was generally supposed, and as, no doubt, it would, but for that speech, it received but few votes, and, of course, was lost.
Later, when asked by a friend why he had opposed the appropriation, Crockett gave this explanation:
"Several years ago I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. In spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made houseless, and, besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them. The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done.
"The next summer, when it began to be time to think about election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there, but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up. When riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came to the fence. As he came up, I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but, as I thought, rather coldly.
"I began: 'Well, friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called
"Yes I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine, I shall not vote for you again."
"This was a sockdolager...I begged him to tell me what was the matter.
" ’Well, Colonel, it is hardly worth-while to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in the honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it in that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the constituent to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting or wounding you. I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the Constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what, but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest.
…But an understanding of the Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is.'
" 'I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake about it, for I do not remember that I gave any vote last winter upon any constitutional question.’ “ ‘No, Colonel, there’s no mistake. Though I live in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say that last winter you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by a fire in Georgetown. Is that true?’
" ‘Well, my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing Treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just as I did.'
" ‘It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. 'No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this county as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week's pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life.' "The congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution.'
" 'So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you.'
"I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go to talking, he would set others to talking, and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, and the fact is, I was so fully convinced that he was right, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him:
" ‘Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it fully. I have heard many speeches in Congress about the powers of Congress, but what you have said here at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot.'
"He laughingly replied; 'Yes, Colonel, you have sworn to that once before, but I will trust you again upon one condition. You say that youare convinced that your vote was wrong. Your acknowledgment of it will do more good than beating you for it. If, as you go around the district, you will tell people about this vote, and that you are satisfied it was wrong, I will not only vote for you, but will do what I can to keep down opposition, and, perhaps, I may exert some little influence in that way.'
" ‘If I don't’, said I, 'I wish I may be shot; and to convince you that I am in earnest in what I say I will come back this way in a week or ten days, and if you will get up a gathering of the people, I will make a speech to them. Get up a barbecue, and I will pay for it.'
" ‘No, Colonel, we are not rich people in this section, but we have plenty of provisions to contribute for a barbecue, and some to spare for those who have none. The push of crops will be over in a few days, and we can then afford a day for a barbecue. This is Thursday; I will see to getting it up on Saturday week. Come to my house on Friday, and we will go together, and I promise you a very respectable crowd to see and hear you.’
" 'Well, I will be here. But one thing more before I say good-bye. I must know your name.’
" 'My name is Bunce.'
" 'Not Horatio Bunce?'
" 'Well, Mr. Bunce, I never saw you before, though you say you have seen me, but I know you very well. I am glad I have met you, and very proud that I may hope to have you for my friend.'
"It was one of the luckiest hits of my life that I met him. He mingled but little with the public, but was widely known for his remarkable intelligence and incorruptible integrity, and for a heart brimful and running over with kindness and benevolence, which showed themselves not only in words but in acts. He was the oracle of the whole country around him, and his fame had extended far beyond the circle of his immediate acquaintance. Though I had never met him, before, I had heard much of him, and but for this meeting it is very likely I should have had opposition, and had been beaten. One thing is very certain, no man could now stand up in that district under such a vote.
"At the appointed time I was at his house, having told our conversation to every crowd I had met, and to every man I stayed all night with, and I found that it gave the people an interest and a confidence in me stronger than I had ever seen manifested before.
"Though I was considerably fatigued when I reached his house, and, under ordinary circumstances, should have gone early to bed, I kept him up until midnight, talking about the principles and affairs of government, and got more real, true knowledge of them than I had got all my life before.
"I have known and seen much of him since, for I respect him - no, that is not the word - I reverence and love him more than any living man, and I go to see him two or three times every year; and I will tell you, sir, if every one who professes to be a Christian lived and acted and enjoyed it as he does, the religion of Christ would take the world by storm.
"But to return to my story. The next morning we went to the barbecue, and, to my surprise, found about a thousand men there. I met a good many whom I had not known before, and they and my friend introduced me around until I had got pretty well acquainted - at least, they all knew me.
"In due time notice was given that I would speak to them. They gathered up around a stand that had been erected. I opened my speech by saying:
" ‘Fellow-citizens - I present myself before you today feeling like a new man. My eyes have lately been opened to truths which ignorance or prejudice, or both, had heretofore hidden from my view. I feel that I can today offer you the ability to render you more valuable service than I have ever been able to render before. I am here today more for the purpose of acknowledging my error than to seek your votes. That I should make this acknowledgment is due to myself as well as to you. Whether you will vote for me is a matter for your consideration only.’"
"I went on to tell them about the fire and my vote for the appropriation and then told them why I was satisfied it was wrong. I closed by saying:
" ‘And now, fellow-citizens, it remains only for me to tell you that the most of the speech you have listened to with so much interest was simply a repetition of the arguments by which your neighbor, Mr. Bunce, convinced me of my error.
" ‘It is the best speech I ever made in my life, but he is entitled to the
credit for it. And now I hope he is satisfied with his convert and that he will get up here and tell you so.'
"He came upon the stand and said:
" ‘Fellow-citizens - It affords me great pleasure to comply with the request of Colonel Crockett. I have always considered him a thoroughly honest man, and I am satisfied that he will faithfully perform all that he has promised you today.'
"He went down, and there went up from that crowd such a shout for Davy Crockett as his name never called forth before.'
"I am not much given to tears, but I was taken with a choking then and felt some big drops rolling down my cheeks. And I tell you now that the remembrance of those few words spoken by such a man, and the honest, hearty shout they produced, is worth more to me than all the honors I have received and all the reputation I have ever made, or ever shall make, as a member of Congress.'
"Now, sir," concluded Crockett, "you know why I made that speech yesterday.
"There is one thing now to which I will call your attention. You remember that I proposed to give a week's pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men - men who think nothing of spending a week's pay, or a dozen of them, for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased--a debt which could not be paid by money--and the insignificance and worthlessness of money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $10,000, when weighed against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it."
James Madison: No constitutional authority for Congress to spend money on benevolence
"I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents..."
-- James Madison, the Father of the United States Constitution
_America's Party Principles In Public Policy -> Committee for Tax, Monetary & Spending Reform
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have already cost US taxpayers over $200 billion. If Obama gets his way on mortgage writedowns, the GSEs estimate it would take another $100 billion.
Since such estimates are always overly-optimistic by a factor of 3 to 10, I estimate the cost to taxpayers would be $300 billion minimum.
Please consider Fannie, Freddie writedowns too costly: regulator
The regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac told lawmakers that forcing the two mortgage firms to write down loan principal would require more than $100 billion in fresh taxpayer funds.
In a letter sent on Friday to the Republican and Democratic leaders of a House of Representatives government oversight panel, the Federal Housing Finance Agency explained why it has long opposed principal reductions for borrowers who owe more than their homes are worth.
It said it had determined that such reductions would be more costly for the two firms than allowing those troubled borrowers to default.
"Principal reduction never serves the long-term interest of the taxpayer when compared to foreclosure," FHFA's acting director, Edward DeMarco, wrote in the letter to lawmakers dated January 20.
About 22 percent of U.S. homes have negative equity totaling about $750 billion, according to CoreLogic.
"Given that any money spent on this endeavor would ultimately come from taxpayers and given that our analysis does not indicate a preservation of assets for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac substantial enough to offset costs, an expenditure of this nature at this time would, in my judgment, require congressional action," DeMarco said in the letter.
Another barrier to principal writedowns, aside from pushing losses at the two firms even further, DeMarco said, was the costs associated with new technology and training to servicers that would be needed to launch a program that offers principal forgiveness.
The Federal Reserve, in a white paper to Congress earlier this month, said write-downs "had the potential to decrease the probability of default" and "improve migration between labor markets."
However, the Fed stopped short of endorsing such an initiative and noted concern that writing down loan balances would create a moral hazard -- the concept that rescue efforts breed further behavior that exacerbates the existing problem -- and could prompt other borrowers to stop making timely loan payments. Calculating the Maximum Cost
At least we know an approximate maximum cap. Negative equity totals $750 billion. Add in cost on implementing the program, graft, fraud, etc. and the cap (right now) is a conservative $760 billion or so. Factor in declining property values and a conservative cap is $800 billion or so.
Obama Seeks Vote-Buying Opportunity
Notice the ridiculous comment by the Fed: write-downs "had the potential to decrease the probability of default". Of course they do.
Write off the entire loan and there would be no chance of default. That does not mean it's a smart thing to do. Unless of course you are [Alleged] President Obama seeking to buy votes in November.
"Every man, and every body of men on earth, possesses the right of self-government."