Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Those damned wily Democrats! (snort)

Well, no doubt about it, this economy is sicksicksick and it's all Obama's fault.

At least, that's what some people would like you to think.  Those people would be Republicans.  In fairness, the Democrats want you to believe that the whole mess is directly attributable to the GOP.  Is it a breath mint or is it a candy mint?  Indeed, it's both.

Don't believe me?  Observe:

Here's how the 'budget process' works:  the President puts together a budget and ships it over to Congress for its approval, House first, then the Senate because all revenue bills must originate in the House.  The two houses of Congress massage the budget then conference on the changes, if any, and pass the approved budget back to 1600 Pennsylvania for a signature.  The President signs the budget bill and then instructs the IRS to go collect the taxes authorized by the budget.

If the President doesn't like what Congress did to the budget (if they did anything) the President can veto it.  Congress can override the veto if 2/3rds of both houses insist on their version.  If the veto isn't overridden, there is no budget and the IRS has no authority to collect any taxes.  Everything stops for lack of funding.

So...  you can pass a budget with simple majorities in both houses if the President agrees.  If the President doesn't agree, you'll need supermajorities of both houses to get a new budget.

The flip side of that coin is this:  If you have a majority in even one house, you can force spending down to the level you will tolerate.  If the President is on your side, you only need 1/3rd of one house to sustain a veto.  That is, 'keeping things from happening' takes only a fraction of the power that 'making things happen' takes.

If your party has the White House and majorities in both houses of Congress, you can pretty much do as you please, except that the Senate can filibuster a bill to death with a mere 41 'nay' votes on cloture.  The last time the Republicans didn't have 41 votes in the Senate was 1979, the 95th Congress.  Since 1980, the GOP has had the ability to rein in spending in nine Congresses out of sixteen.  Add in 'enough juice to sustain a veto' and the Dems have only had an unassailable upper hand for something like seven years out of the last thirty-two.  Add in 'enough Senate votes to pull off a filibuster', and the Dems have never (since 1980) been able to get whatever they wanted.

Oh.  I hear you protesting that some Republicans regularly cast Democrat-ish votes and can't be relied upon to stand foursquare behind the party's goals.  That's a problem, but I'm not in your party, so it's your problem.

All I need you Republicans to do is stop complaining about how bad the Democrats are.

P.s.:  the same analysis applies to every law, not just the budget, and it applies equally to both parties.  The numbers might vary a little, but the overall analysis is identical.

1 comment:

  1. Publishing the above without mentioning the Gingrich-Clinton "shut down the government" fight, which the Republicans in the Congress felt they decisively lost, is a bit ... well, I suppose given that your posting is theoretical, it's OK. But the shutdown is a real world example in issues common in engineering (even if they call it Political "Science"), in going from theory to practice.