The Power of The Purse is a budget, not a willpower of House members to act decisively and not a willingness to “shut down the government;” but a budget. Without a budget a purse is almost always empty, useless, and defenseless. With a budget, an honest to goodness budget that balances (what other kind of budget can there be?) a purse remains solvent, generally ready to supply the needs of most any circumstance, expected and unexpected.
The Power of the House of Representatives is a budget. The House is only in control of its machinery, only shows organization of its members, only reveals itself effective, competent, and efficient when its efforts are reigned within the constraints of a budget. The power of the House is not its oversight and investigative duties. Those duties are merely government powers. The power of the House is not its power to legislate and pass resolutions. Again, those are simply powers.
As Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist 58:
“This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.”
The “immediate representatives of the people” are clearly the members of the House, not the members of the Senate. Since all spending bills constitutionally must originate in the House, the House has a singular, strong, deadbolt action lock on the Power of the Purse; that is if the thirteen committees whose duty it is to produce appropriations bills aren’t squandering their scarce resources conducting oversight investigations they have shown no competency to solve or prosecute.
We have Obamacare for only one reason. Congress, the House specifically, pushed the importance of a budget to a back burner and took upon itself the responsibilities of funding and running the healthcare industry. Only a couple House members had ever practiced medicine. None knew free markets sufficiently or en masse they would have admitted immediately they knew nothing about how to run an industry, any industry. The Grubering of healthcare took place when Obama was President, Pelosi was Speaker of the House, and Reid was Majority Leader of the Senate. New leadership was chosen by the House in 2010, if we must deign to honestly consider it leadership. That set the scene for what came next, a highly predictable, no surprises here old movie.
Anyone who has watched sports movies will recognize key ingredients shared by most of them: new leadership; disgruntled hangers-on old leadership; a fantastic new playbook written by a child under ten; a grandfather figure who favors the new leadership; a disadvantaged player that only “shows up” as a great player in the very last play of the very last inning or quarter, of the very last game of a championship series; and finally the last ingredient: the new leaders game plan which is always back to the basics. Those ingredients, the players involved, pretty much sum up what’s been going on in Congress, the House in particular since 2010, after Obama and his crew destroyed the healthcare industry which was the moment in time when they effected a made up from thin air right to healthcare the Founders had failed to recognize or forgot to mention.
So the movie elements of the sports-obsessed House go something like this:
Oh, almost forgot the love triangle:
So predictable. As it turned out Ryan only flirted with Budget. Then when he thought no one was looking ran off with Continuing Resolution for the purpose of Saving Obamcare. The movie was a box office smash because Budget won with voters. But later, in real life, The Daily Mail reported Ryan's girlfriend's real name: Opioid; which drives home for us the point Ryan really is, always was just an actor. So sad, the continuing resolutions, drugs, and all.
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About The Pundit
This retired window washer now provides instruction on the benefits and perils of time travel through focusing an allegorical lens on the present.