Government Shutdown & Limited Spending According to Enumerated Powers of the Constitution
It’s time again for the politicians on both sides of the aisle to banter about who is spending more than whom, and who will force a government shutdown. However, the real issue at hand is will there actually be any talk from anyone in Congress or President Trump about the limited spending according to the enumerated powers in the Constitution?
When Congress returns from their break, they will have just a few days to pass a bill to fund the central government through the rest of the fiscal year.
The Hill reports on what it calls “Five hurdles to avoiding a government shutdown.” Here’s the list of things Jordain Carney says must be addressed to avoid such a thing.
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- President Trump’s threat to withhold ObamaCare insurance payments is throwing an eleventh-hour wrench into the negotiations.
- Trump wants a provision included in the funding bill allowing states to restrict federal grant money for cities that don’t follow immigration laws.
- GOP leaders had signaled they were preparing to leave a key Trump priority —money to pay for a southern border wall — out of the bill in order to avoid a shutdown.
- Rust-belt lawmakers are turning their attention to the end-of-the-month shutdown deadline as part of their latest push to get a “permanent” fix on the healthcare and pensions for miners and their families.
- Republicans and the Trump administration want to boost military spending, arguing the Pentagon’s capabilities have been undercut after years of budget cuts.
Some of these are good, like one and two. Number five, in my opinion, funds an empire, not national defense. We spend hundreds of billions of dollars every year to what is called defense, but as far more than that. We should eliminate much of the empire building we’ve been engaged in for the past several decades.
Numbers three and four are ridiculous. While questioning whether to put a border wall up would be better than eliminating welfare in this country is a debate that no one will bring up adequately, the fact is that it would have some impact on illegal immigration.
However, many things will never come up, like a lot of that stuff former Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) used to publish in his annual Wastebook. Remember all those things like:
- $516,000 to create a video game called “Prom Week” so people can relive their high school prom experiences;
- $15 million for recruiting scientists for Russia’s weapons institutes;
- $505,000 to a pet shampoo company;
- $13,000 to paint a large mural of a carrot in order to deter obesity;
- $10,000 for talking urinal cakes to deter drunk driving;
- $1.5 million to vineyards;
- $700,000 to develop beef jerky at the Pentagon;
- $20,000 on circus classes;
- $666,905 to research people watching reruns on TV;
- Professional athletes overseas vacations;
- School tax credits for prisoners who did not attend school;
- Medicaid audit program costs more than it brings in, $30,000;
- $939,771 to research male fruit flies’ attraction to younger female fruit flies;
- $74 million for an electric vehicle tax credit that will not reduce emissions;
- $750,970 to a brewery in New Hampshire;
- $547,430 for a dancing robot named Shimi to serve as a disc jockey for smartphones;
- $24,995 grant to develop a course entitled, “Should we want to be happy?”
- $49,990 to a potato chip company for advertising;
- $25,000 to promote the Alabama Watermelon Queen around the state;
- $1.2 million to study older people playing the video game World of Warcraft;
- $99,000 to a new distillery that will produce vodka and other hard alcohols; and,
- $548,731 to study whether young people who drink alcohol feel immature
- $325,000 contributed to the construction of robotic squirrels to observe their interaction with rattlesnakes and described it as “When robot squirrels attack.”
- $1000 Taxpayer Grants For Zombie Apocalypse Training At Resort & Spa
Well, here’s the thing, the Constitution is not to be ignored by Congress or the President. As Publius Huldah has succinctly pointed out, the way that we balance the federal budget is not via a balanced budget amendment, but restrict spending to the enumerated powers of the Constitution.
Article 1, Section 8, Clauses 3-16 itemizes the powers we delegated to Congress, and Congress may only spend money on the enumerated objects of its powers.
“Congress may spend money on operating a patent office because issuing patents and copyrights is an enumerated power delegated to Congress. See: Art. I, Sec. 8, cl. 8,” wrote Publius Huldah. “But Congress is NOT authorized to appropriate funds to teach Chinese prostitutes how to drink alcohol responsibly. That is not listed in the Constitution as an enumerated power of Congress.”
“Congress is NOT authorized to appropriate funds to provide medical care to old people or poor people,” she added. “That is not listed in the Constitution as an enumerated power of Congress.”
So, when Trump and his team point to withholding Obamacare payments and grant money to states that don’t comply with the law (or not be handing out grants, period), it is acting within the confines of the Constitution. When the defense of the country is at stake (again, defense, not nation building or empire building), that is also within the Constitution.
Funding miners’ healthcare and pensions is not an enumerated power. Neither are any of the things I listed above, along with billions of dollars that are spent by the DC criminal cartel.
I say, let DC shutdown till we get spending fully under control. This is also a time for President Trump to play the man and defund Planned Parenthood in the spending bill. If he and the GOP won’t do that, they have no business blasting those in the Freedom Caucus for standing up against a socialistic healthcare bill.