View Poll Results: Is shutting down the government unconstitutional?

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Thread: Is shutting down the government unconstitutional?

  1. #21
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    Re: Is shutting down the government unconstitutional?

    Quote Originally Posted by fredmertz View Post
    wow... I didn't say at all that we should ignore the supreme law of the land. I love the constitution. My point is that the constitution doesn't say that the federal government must use the taxation power that the constitution provides it with. It simply says that the government has the power to.
    Mayor Snorkum, like everyone else who will read this passage, doesn't have the faintest idea what it is supposed to be saying.

    The looming shutdown isn't about failure to tax. Oh, no, the government won't stop taxing, not at all. No, the shutdown is about the government's inability to come to an agreement on what shall be spent and what shall not be spent. And if no agreement is reached, that means no agreement to spend has been reached.

    If no agreement to spend is made, no spending will be allowed. THAT is exactly what the Constitution says.

    Likewise, I'm telling you that you have the power to go into a theatre and scream "FIRE" - but I'm not telling you that you should or that you must. Just that you are able.
    Well, that was informative. When next the Mayor has the urge to command a firing squad, he'll be sure to do it at a showing of a James Cameron movie. That'll wake up all the bored movie goers.

    No idea what executions have to do with the failure of the Democrats to parse simple little items from the budget, but you were just trying to entertain.

  2. #22
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    Re: Is shutting down the government unconstitutional?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mayor Snorkum View Post
    No. That's completely wrong.

    The Constitution grants Congress the authority to:




    And THAT IS ALL.

    The Tenth Amendment forbids an unlimited unrestricted Congress. Period.

    Congress can only write laws the Constitution allows it to.

    If the Congress fails to write a budget or the President refuses to sign it, then the budget doesn't exist and the government does not have the authority to spend money.

    It's that simple, and it's what the Constitution requires. So, if the Democrats don't desire a government shut down (they want one, and they want it BAD), they have to stop being such complete idiots and start recognizing that they don't control the House, that the House is where the spending bills originate, and that the country can't afford their bull**** unconstitutional programs anymore.



    No.

    Mayor Snorkum notes the wonderful cutting edge discoveries from the Super Conducting Super Collider never materialized.



    You really, REALLY REALLY must read the Constitution some day. It can be found on line if you're curious about it. Here's what the Constitution says about HR 819:



    They get paid what they get paid. Period. Certainly Madison meant it to mean that the sitting Congress can't vote themselves a pay raise. It also means their pay cannot be reduced in-term.



    Certainly doesn't look that way. So the nation should stop funding all those unconstitutional programs, which comprise something like three quarters of the budget.



    No. Mayor Snorkum means really, really start obeying the Constitution. You mean, ignore those inconvenient things like the Constitution that forbids the laws and programs you desire.



    Mayor Snorkum knows what the Mayor expects those elected to REPRESENT him are supposed to do. You shouldn't use the pronoun "we" when your uncertainty isn't shared. Those people are held to task by writing them when they err and not voting for them when they really mess up. There's always someone else out there who can read the Constitution.
    Your commentary, IMO, is rather disturbing. For starters, I haven't advocated support for any particular program in this thread. I've merely asked a straight-forward question. You, however, have made assumptions as to what you think my motives are. I would think my motive is obvious, but I'll rephrase the question for those who still may not understand what I'm asking:

    If our elected representatives, who have taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution, do not approved a budget as Art 1, Sect 9, Clause 6 of the Constitution requires them to do per appropriations as outlined in various laws which Congress has passed, is it unconstitutional for the federal government to shut down?
    The question isn't partisan. I'm not trying to lay blame on one side or the other. I'm merely asking a straight-forward question.

    Sidenote: Oh, and Mayor, as I said in the OP, I have read the Constitution several times.
    Last edited by Objective Voice; 04-02-11 at 01:33 PM.

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    Re: Is shutting down the government unconstitutional?

    Quote Originally Posted by Objective Voice View Post
    The taxing power of the government (Congress) isn't the issue here nor is free speech (re: yelling "FIRE" in a crowded room). The question is is it unconstitutional for the government to be shutdown if Congress cannot agree on a budget to fully fund the government as outlined in the Constitution (Art 9, Sect 1, Clause 6)?
    Ok... We're clearly on the same page, but I don't seem to be getting my point across.

    What I'm telling you is that the articles and clauses you have referenced do not say anything about the government needing to be run or spending tax payer dollars. It simply states that the government has the power to tax and must report it's financial situation. No where does it state that it MUST tax and that it MUST spend. I'm explaining my answer to your question. The answer is NO. It is not unconsititutional. The constitution explains that it can tax and how it must report and how it can spend. It gives it the POWER to spend. It doesn't FORCE it to spend. Unless you quote wording in the constituion stating otherwise, if the government 'shuts down', it will do so within the realm of the constitution.

    This is why I am continuing to try to explain the difference between being granted the POWER to do something vs being FORCED to do it.


    Your question is a rather simple one. Is it unconstitutional? Well, does it say ANYWHERE that it MUST continue running? no. (or at least not that I'm aware of and not that you have referenced)
    Last edited by fredmertz; 04-02-11 at 03:25 PM.

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    Re: Is shutting down the government unconstitutional?

    Quote Originally Posted by Councilman View Post
    If it were we would have heard about the last time is was shut down.

    But I for one will be very pissed and the stinking Liberals in the Senate who going to cause this so they can blame it on the Tea Party.

    Thing is they want to do that because they are going to do what ever they can to discredit the Tea Party because they know they are growing in strength as they are going down for the count with Obama leading the race to the bottom.

    I'm retired so a shut down will do me and plenty of others no good what ever the results would be.
    Correction to make. I was wrong thinking the the Shut Down would affect Social Security. I check and it turns out I was wrong, and it will not so I apologize for my error.

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    Re: Is shutting down the government unconstitutional?

    Quote Originally Posted by fredmertz View Post
    Ok... We're clearly on the same page, but I don't seem to be getting my point across.

    What I'm telling you is that the articles and clauses you have referenced do not say anything about the government needing to be run or spending tax payer dollars. It simply states that the government has the power to tax and must report it's financial situation.
    Then I'd say you have the wrong interpretation of what Art 1, Sect. 9, clause 6 says.

    No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.
    Breakdown:

    "No money shall be drawn from the Treasurey..."

    Clearly defines what repository Congress shall drawn funds to finance the bills it passes and are subsequently made law.

    "...but in consequence of appropriations made by law..."

    A clear stipulation that the only time Congress can "withdraw" money from the Treasure is when a specific law calls for such financing as per bills passed by Congress and subsequently made law by approval of the President.

    About the only thing I believe you got right in your post above is the periodic requirement for Congress to report on what they spend.

    No where does it state that it MUST tax and that it MUST spend. I'm explaining my answer to your question. The answer is NO. It is not unconsititutional. The constitution explains that it can tax and how it must report and how it can spend. It gives it the POWER to spend. It doesn't FORCE it to spend. Unless you quote wording in the constituion stating otherwise, if the government 'shuts down', it will do so within the realm of the constitution.

    This is why I am continuing to try to explain the difference between being granted the POWER to do something vs being FORCED to do it.

    Your question is a rather simple one. Is it unconstitutional? Well, does it say ANYWHERE that it MUST continue running? no. (or at least not that I'm aware of and not that you have referenced)
    I don't know where you get the idea that anyone has stated that the government is being forced to spend money. I AM, however, saying that if Congress passes a law that has appropriations (funding) affixed to it, Congress must, by law, fund that program. Now, maybe they don't fund such-and-such program 100% or perhaps not to the levels it once was a year or two ago, but where appropriations is required by law, I don't think Congress can ignore providing funds for it. Two examples of what I'm talking about:

    CPB/NPR. Right now, there's a battle in Congress not merely on how much to reduce funding for public broadcasting, but to defund public broadcasting entirely. If the law that ushered in CPB/NPR requires appropriations, then by law Congress cannot ignore funding it. Furthermore, unless there is a specific fixed amount the law states must be applied toward public broadcasting, Congress can reduce the amount of money that goes to it, but it cannot defund public broadcasting, not without changing the law.

    Medicare/SS/Medicaid. These programs are mandated by statute for two reasons: 1) Medicare/SS are "the people's safety net" programs. WE fund them via withdraws directly from OUR income. So, Congress must fund these programs. 2) Medicaid is a partnership between the federal government and the States. As such, Congress must also fund Medicaid by statute. How much goes to fund these permanent programs is also something that needs to be hashed out by Congress, but these programs must be funded by law. Congress can't ignore providing for them if they wanted to.

    Based on a strict interpretation of Art. 1, Sect 9, clause 1, I believe it is unconstitutional for Congress to shut down the government even partically if it cannot approve a budget. It can approve continuing resolutions via House rules until the next fiscal year if Congress can't reach an agreement on a spending bill (budget), but with every CR comes more unrest and uncertainty. Still, I'd rather they do that than to shut down government in whole or in-part.
    Last edited by Objective Voice; 04-03-11 at 03:46 PM.

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    Re: Is shutting down the government unconstitutional?

    I voted "yes" with a caveat: If a government shutdown meant that every single government function stopped, then it is absolutely not Constitutional.

    The Constitution undeniably obligates the Federal government to do certain things, so if certain functions are discontinued even temporarily it would be unConstitutional.
    I'm already gearing up for Finger Vote 2014.

    Just for reference, means my post was a giant steaming pile of sarcasm.

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    Re: Is shutting down the government unconstitutional?

    Quote Originally Posted by Objective Voice View Post
    Then I'd say you have the wrong interpretation of what Art 1, Sect. 9, clause 6 says.



    Breakdown:

    "No money shall be drawn from the Treasurey..."

    Clearly defines what repository Congress shall drawn funds to finance the bills it passes and are subsequently made law.

    "...but in consequence of appropriations made by law..."

    A clear stipulation that the only time Congress can "withdraw" money from the Treasure is when a specific law calls for such financing as per bills passed by Congress and subsequently made law by approval of the President.

    About the only thing I believe you got right in your post above is the periodic requirement for Congress to report on what they spend.



    I don't know where you get the idea that anyone has stated that the government is being forced to spend money. I AM, however, saying that if Congress passes a law that has appropriations (funding) affixed to it, Congress must, by law, fund that program. Now, maybe they don't fund such-and-such program 100% or perhaps not to the levels it once was a year or two ago, but where appropriations is required by law, I don't think Congress can ignore providing funds for it. Two examples of what I'm talking about:

    CPB/NPR. Right now, there's a battle in Congress not merely on how much to reduce funding for public broadcasting, but to defund public broadcasting entirely. If the law that ushered in CPB/NPR requires appropriations, then by law Congress cannot ignore funding it. Furthermore, unless there is a specific fixed amount the law states must be applied toward public broadcasting, Congress can reduce the amount of money that goes to it, but it cannot defund public broadcasting, not without changing the law.

    Medicare/SS/Medicaid. These programs are mandated by statute for two reasons: 1) Medicare/SS are "the people's safety net" programs. WE fund them via withdraws directly from OUR income. So, Congress must fund these programs. 2) Medicaid is a partnership between the federal government and the States. As such, Congress must also fund Medicaid by statute. How much goes to fund these permanent programs is also something that needs to be hashed out by Congress, but these programs must be funded by law. Congress can't ignore providing for them if they wanted to.

    Based on a strict interpretation of Art. 1, Sect 9, clause 1, I believe it is unconstitutional for Congress to shut down the government even partically if it cannot approve a budget. It can approve continuing resolutions via House rules until the next fiscal year if Congress can't reach an agreement on a spending bill (budget), but with every CR comes more unrest and uncertainty. Still, I'd rather they do that than to shut down government in whole or in-part.
    I do see what you are saying. You are making assumptions that I was not.

    I was answering the question directly: Is shutting down the government unconstitutional? No. No it is not. Nowhere does the constitution obligate the federal government to do certain things (T.E.D. - if you disagree, please show me where it obligates the Federal government). I was not assuming that the government would continue appropriations for anything since they would not have the budget for it and it WOULD be unconstitutional for them to fund any programs from the treasury if it was not specified in the law itself (as you clearly explained).

    You are assuming that the spending must go on because the laws were passed and need to be funded. And so it's not the actual shutting down that is unconstitutional, but rather you are arguing that the highly probable consequence of shutting down (the spending from the treasury) is unconstitutional. But the act of shutting down isn't unconstitutional itself.

  8. #28
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    Re: Is shutting down the government unconstitutional?

    Quote Originally Posted by Morality Games View Post
    If it comes to the point a government shuts itself down rather than deals with problems, I'd say the governing articles no longer apply. At that point it's time to wonder whether you can have any sort of society whatsoever, let alone one conforming to the specifications of a constitution.
    The last time the Govt shutdown there was not loss of continuity. We didn't get a new govt or constitution or anything.
    Why would we this time?
    I may be wrong.

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    Re: Is shutting down the government unconstitutional?

    Quote Originally Posted by fredmertz View Post
    You are assuming that the spending must go on because the laws were passed and need to be funded.
    As a consequence of specific laws passed by Congress that require appropriations, you are correct.

    And so it's not the actual shutting down that is unconstitutional, but rather you are arguing that the highly probable consequence of shutting down (the spending from the treasury) is unconstitutional. But the act of shutting down isn't unconstitutional itself.
    And again I ask, why isn't it?

    Congress creates these agencies, i.e., FDA, FCC, FEC, EPA, USDA, CDC, FBI, CIA, DHS, DHHS, etc, etc, and with each agencies comes required appropriations. Now, I understand that there is a difference between programs mandated by statute and programs whose budgets are not static and have provided examples of such above. As such, I understand that for some programs/agencies their funding fluctuates from one fiscal year to the next. However, my argument is that if Congress fails to fund ANY program/agency which current laws requires them to do AND in not doing so (i.e., passing a budget) causes a government shut down, even partically, it IS unconstitutional because Congress hasn't upheld their oath to provide appropriations for such programs/agencies.

    Art 1, Sect 9, clause 6 (summarized) states that Congress can spend money from the U.S. Treasury to fund those programs requiring appropriations as set by law - laws which Congress writes and the President approves. Your argument is that no where in the Constitution does it mandate spending. My argument is:

    If Congress is the only legislative body authorized by the Constitution to write laws (which create programs and/or agencies) and these laws require appropriations and the only entity authorized to withdraw funds from the Treasury to pay for such appropriations (by virtue of passing a budget or a continuing resolution) is Congress, yet Congress fails to pass a budget, then IMO they have violated the Constitution. As such, a government shutdown is in direct violation of the Constitution.

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    Re: Is shutting down the government unconstitutional?

    Well, I voted no it's not unconstitutional, however it is a very sad state of affairs isn't it? In a parlimentary system, the government would be abolished, and a new one would be voted in.

    All academic really, since even if we cut 100 billion from the budget, we're still screwed.. The country's debt is unsustainable, not a chance in hell we can ever pay it all back.. Not a chance! There MUST be a world war, and the financial systems will need to be reset for everyone, and hopefully this time round people will learn the lessons that the credit bubble has taught us.


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