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August 01, 2011

Comments

Craig Moore

Rob, the president does have a budget submission requirement: http://ncseonline.org/nle/crsreports/government/gov-24.cfm

The Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 (P.L. 67-13) established for the first time the requirement that the President annually submit a budget to Congress. The President's budget, referred to officially as the Budget of the United States Government, consists of estimates of spending, revenues, borrowing, and debt; policy and legislative recommendations; detailed estimates of the financial operations of federal agencies and programs; and other information supporting the President's recommendations. Initially, the 1921 act required the President to include in his budget information for the upcoming fiscal year, as well as for the most recently completed and current fiscal years.

Under the 1921 act, the deadline for submission was set as "the first day of each regular session" of Congress. The deadline was changed in 1950, 1985, and 1990, but always required that the budget be submitted either in January or February. Under current law (31 U.S.C. 1105(a)), the President is required to submit his annual budget on or after the first Monday in January, but no later than the first Monday in February.

As soon as the President's budget is received, the House and Senate begin working on the annual appropriations bills, revenue measures, and other budgetary legislation. The aim of the two chambers is to complete legislative action on the budget by the beginning of the fiscal year later in the session, but sometimes such action is not completed until weeks or months after the fiscal year has begun.

To that end Obama even boasts about his job to submit a budget: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget

The President's Budget for Fiscal Year 2012

Having emerged from the worst recession in generations, the President has put forward a plan to rebuild our economy and win the future by out-innovating, out-educating, and out-building our global competitors and creating the jobs and industries of tomorrow. But we cannot rebuild our economy and win the future if we pass on a mountain of debt to our children and grandchildren. We must restore fiscal responsibility, and reform our government to make it more effective, efficient, and open to the American people.

The President’s 2012 Budget is a responsible approach that puts the nation on a path to live within our means so we can invest in our future – by cutting wasteful spending and making tough choices on some things we cannot afford, while keeping the investments we need to grow the economy and create jobs. It targets scarce federal resources to the areas critical to winning the future: education, innovation, clean energy, and infrastructure. And it proposes to reform how Washington does business, putting more federal funding up for competition, cutting waste, and reorganizing government so that it better serves the American people.

Wulfgar

Yes, Craig, but he can't pass a budget without the will of Congress. What you've written is like saying that President can give an outline of a book, but when others write it, he's responsible for it's literary excellence.

Craig Moore

Actually what I'm saying is that you and others overlook Obama's responsibilities. He must produce a budget. When you quote Knapp who says: "All the Constitution allows is for the President to veto budget laws." it is technically correct but seriously wrong as the prez has duties bestowed upon the office apart from the constitution. The presidential budget is not merely "...a tradition of the President putting forth policy..." It is a requirement.

lizard

this is a very well written piece, Rob. you make some good points. finally.

Moorcat

Lizard,

You were doing great until you added the word "finally"...

Rob did a great job of pointing out the obvious that seems to have escaped most everyone. How many times at 4 & 20 have you guys railed about how the it's the President's job to fix the problem? How many times have you guys waxed eloquent about how Obama failed to fix the situation?

Craig's attempt at misdirection aside, it wasn't Obama's job to fix the situation. The Budget, the debt ceiling and the deficit are ALL problems for Congress, not the Executive Branch.

Rob has (once again) simply pointed that out. All this political Kabuki theatre to try to make Obama look bad is silly - except that it worked, even with the people who should be smarter than that.

lizard

i think domestically Obama has been deferential to congress not just because it's congress' job to address the budget, but also because it alleviates Obama from taking a stand for the progressive principals he's essentially abandoned (and that's not just "ego-blather). congress is broken, and without more visible, strong leadership, the tea party have successfully dragged the framing of this debate far too the right. Obama certainly does deserve some criticism for that.

now when it comes to foreign policy, Obama doesn't give a shit about what congress has to say, and he's much more willing to take strong positions, like using our scarce resources to pummel countries like Libya.

so the unitary executive does exist, it's just not as applicable to Obama's domestic policies as it is to how he choose to prosecute the Great War on Terror.

one thing Rob says i very much disagree with:

"There is no point to discussing how big money purchases our politicians."

really? this is the main reason why congress is broken, so as fatiguing as it is to discuss, that discussion needs to keep happening.

Craig Moore

Dave Budge posted this chart on the "growth" in discretionary spending under the budget deal that Obama will rubber stamp: Disdcretionary spending under the debt deal

There is NO chance that he will demonstrate leadership and veto it.

Moorcat

Again, Lizard, I would disagree with you in the context Rob made the statement. Yes, our Congress Critters are definitely the pawns of Big Money - more so the current batch of Republicans than the Democrats, but even the Dems are fairly "bought". The point you missed is that "Big Money" has no leverage if we - as voters - remove the Politicians that are bought and replace them with more representative politicians.

In the last election, Tea Party darlings got elected to the very positions that caused (or at the very least made worse) the crisis in the first place. Blame "Big Money" all you want, they wouldn't have been in that position if we - as voters - hadn't put them in that position.

Now I will be the first to admit that "Big Money" and special interests are killing the country. They have far too much influence as it is and I have spent a lot of time talking about it both on my blog and in comments to others. That said, you took a statement of Wulfgar's out of context and attempted to weave a whole cloth out of it. I think Rob's point was more that we - as voters - need to take a little more responcibility for our own role in this mess.

Moorcat

Craig, I don't think you will find a single pundit - from either side of the aisle with even two brain cells to rub together that will defend the deal just made. It is crap, crap and more crap. The only good thing that came out of that deal was that the debt ceiling was raised and the US did not default. Period.

That said, I don't see how your comment has squat to do with Wulfgar's post. What point are you trying to make here?

Wulfgar
"There is no point to discussing how big money purchases our politicians."

really? this is the main reason why congress is broken, so as fatiguing as it is to discuss, that discussion needs to keep happening.

That the discussion needs to keep happening I don't disagree with. In the context of this post, there is no evidence that the discussion would have any value, exactly like I wrote. Besides twisted anecdote and pained logic, there is no evidence ever seen that this is the "main reason congress is broken". In case I was unclear, that would be none, nadda, zip, squat. If you really want to have this discussion, I suggest to you that an assumption on your part taken as fact is a very poor place to start.

Craig Moore

Moorcat, I thought that I was rather clear when I demonstrated how Obama failed in his obligation:

Actually what I'm saying is that you and others overlook Obama's responsibilities. He must produce a budget. When you quote Knapp who says: "All the Constitution allows is for the President to veto budget laws." it is technically correct but seriously wrong as the prez has duties bestowed upon the office apart from the constitution. The presidential budget is not merely "...a tradition of the President putting forth policy..." It is a requirement.

Also, where was he in pushing the debt increase back in 2010 when the Dems held a super-majority in the Senate, a majority in the House, and the presidency? On the golf course, again??? Even Krugman calls him out for this.

lizard

more context? ok.

I've no interest in having the same tired arguments about how corporations force every hand in the voting booth save our special digits, when we bother to bring them. There is no point to discussing how big money purchases our politicians. If all that caterwaul is universally true, then there isn't a damned thing we can do anyway, and all this smack talk about how Obama is dead to our principled selves is just ego blather. Our politicians will do what we want when ~we~ remember who they serve and why.

so if we want to shift blame from corporate controlled congress critters who "adapt" their priorities based on funding and lobbying efforts to apathetic, poorly informed citizens, then let's figure out why Americans aren't good stewards of their own democracy.

i wonder if it has anything to do with the corporate propaganda we are spoon-fed? no, then we're just back to how money buys influence that translates to political power.

i'm all for spreading the blame. voters get their fair share. and there is a concerted effort by the right to attack voter initiatives in lots of states, which need to be fought vigorously. that such an attack is happening proves to me that corporate money still sees voting as a threat, which is something the it's-all-rigged defeatists need to realize.

on a personal note, Rob, there has been a lot of nasty back and forth between us, but I don't recall ever going so far as to accuse you of not caring about the things you claim to care about. i find that baseless accusation even more insulting than calling me a sexist. if you want me to take you seriously, that kind of shit don't help. cheers.

Wulfgar
so if we want to shift blame from corporate controlled congress critters who "adapt" their priorities based on funding and lobbying efforts to apathetic, poorly informed citizens, then let's figure out why Americans aren't good stewards of their own democracy.

Excuse me? What the hell is with you and this "blame" bullshit? Are you really thinking yourself in such a position of power that you can "blame" your fellow citizens for voting in ways that don't agree with your august self? By your rules, they are poorly informed and you are so very enlightened. Has it occurred to you, even once, that they have as much right to vote as you and your enlightened ideals may be abhorrent to others? How very arrogant you are.

i wonder if it has anything to do with the corporate propaganda we are spoon-fed? no, then we're just back to how money buys influence that translates to political power.

Why on earth would you use the word "we" when accusing others with your arrogant blame? Are "we" spoon-fed corporate propaganda? Or just those who don't agree with you? If it carries the weight of power you suggest, then how have you risen above the rabble?

Yes, money buys political power. Sometimes it buys votes. That's the very point, Liz. Not everyone we propaganda riddled mindless drones of corporate power think we know will behave in the way us propaganda riddled drones think they will. When people vote against our interest (or choose not to vote against any interest) perhaps it's time to think they do so for reason beyond the convenient brain-washing we use as an excuse.

on a personal note, Rob, there has been a lot of nasty back and forth between us, but I don't recall ever going so far as to accuse you of not caring about the things you claim to care about. i find that baseless accusation even more insulting than calling me a sexist. if you want me to take you seriously, that kind of shit don't help. cheers.

I don't care if you take me seriously, Liz. I don't care if anyone at 4 & 20 take me seriously. That's been the biggest insult to you folk all along. You folk care that I take you seriously, even when you've made it impossible for me to do so. Our governance isn't about "spreading the blame". It never has been, to me. It's about holding those folk who "represent us" accountable. That same bullshit you folk claim you actually care about and rarely do. You care about blame. I care about creating something better. Rehberg enthusiastically stood against the will of the Montana people. You "blame" folk will call him for it, but accept the 'both sides do it' crap and tell me that I worship the DNC. "Well Tester did X so he's just as bad as Voldemort!?!" ~sigh~ Give me a God-damned break. This isn't about blame.

lizard

wiggle wiggle wiggle, mr. goal post mover. can we blame the GOP? the tea party? are those not your acceptable targets? no, it's not about blame. thanks for setting me straight.

I don't care if you take me seriously, Liz. I don't care if anyone at 4 & 20 take me seriously. That's been the biggest insult to you folk all along. You folk care that I take you seriously, even when you've made it impossible for me to do so. Our governance isn't about "spreading the blame". It never has been, to me. It's about holding those folk who "represent us" accountable. That same bullshit you folk claim you actually care about and rarely do. You care about blame. I care about creating something better

here's a definition for blame: to hold responsible; to place responsibility

and accountability: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility

keep splitting hairs if it makes you feel better, but you're argument that it's "not about blame" is shit.

Craig Moore

Gee 'Pick me up' I thought it was "Thus endeth the lesson." http://pieceofmind.wordpress.com/2011/07/31/just-sos-ya-know/#comment-16946

Moorcat

I am assuming that "pick me up" is Mark, no? Thought so. I guess he missed the part where Obama can't force any issue relating to the Debt ceiling.

Craig, I know you think we should be holding Obama's feet to the fire (he is, after all, a Democrat) but beyond proposing a budget (which, BTW, he did), he has NOTHING to do with raising the Debt Ceiling. Nothing, Zero, Nada, Zip, Zilch. Get the point? This was Congress's problem, and instead of dealing with it, they tried to pawn it off an Obama, on us, on anyone other than themselves. Give it up. Your ceaseless efforts to pin this on Obama will continue to fail. It wasn't his problem (as much as the Republicans want to make it about him).

Craig Moore

Moorcat, when did Krugman et al. become Republicans?

I'm not interested about pinning this all on Obama, but I find it quite the fairytale to suggest he was a mere blameless spectator from the bleacher seats. That simply is untrue. The president’s job is to lead the nation especially in times of crisis. I believe it was President Eisenhower who said that a leader can’t push rope up hill but must stand on the front end and pull others along. Obama has many tools at his disposal as the chief executive to persuade members of congress.

Whatever came from Obama's debt commission group? They made their recommendations and were promptly round filed. There has been no pawning off. Obama insinuated himself in several debt/budget discussions. Even going so far as to play golf with Boehner. Obama called the players to his office on several occasions to hash things out. All without success. The Boston Herald writes: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/us_politics/view/20110803obama_takes_an_image_hit_in_prolonged_debt-reduction_negotiations/srvc=home&position=recent

Some Democrats also question Obama’s negotiating skills, grumbling that he gave up weapons he could have used in the battle. In particular, many believe he should have left open the possibility that he would use the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which holds that public debts "shall not be questioned," to override the congressional limit on the federal debt. Even if Obama never actually used the 14th Amendment, the threat would have strengthened his negotiating position, Democrats say.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin said he had advised the White House to "assert" the president’s right to increase the debt ceiling using the 14th Amendment. It was clear that "they were contemplating that possibility," Durbin said. But the White House never used the amendment as leverage to improve its bargaining position.

"It was a mistake to publicly take that off the table," said another Democratic lawmaker, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the negotiations. "I don’t know why you would do that."

IMHO, what has been missing is for Obama to be a little more LBJ like and less the wistful law professor merely playing academic politics. Americans respect strength.

Craig Moore

Moorcat, it appears Obama has taken ownership of the debt deal: http://www.politico.com/politico44/perm/0811/jaytalking_1ca8e574-681a-41ea-9aaf-382642ae2290.html

Here’s what you need to know from Tuesday’s White House briefing with press secretary Jay Carney:

-- Carney announced in the middle of his briefing, as he was talking about the debt ceiling agreement, “The president has signed the bill and turned it into law.”

-- President Obama had a “substantial role” in negotiating the debt deal, Carney said. He added, “In the beginning, middle and end, this process moved forward because of the president's leadership.”

-- Carney poked at members of Congress who were strictly opposed to raising the debt limit, calling their position “untenable” and “nonsensical.” He said, “Imagine, of course, if you actually understand what the debt ceiling is and what raising it is about.”

Craig Moore

And in addition to Carney's boasting of Obama's leadership in the beginning, middle, and end of the budget deal, Obama's official press release characterizes this "victory" as “A Win for the Economy and Budget Discipline.” See: http://www.whitehouse.gov/fact-sheet-victory-bipartisan-compromise-economy-american-people

Moorcat eventhough,as you suggest that no one "... will find a single pundit - from either side of the aisle with even two brain cells to rub together that will defend the deal just made." apparently those pundits forgot to check with Obama.

Moorcat

Craig, as you well know, everyone will try to make a silk purse out of this sow's ear - even Obama. That doesn't change the fact that this "deal" was a pig's ear. I can claim that I have stepped on the moon but it doesn't make it so. This deal is crap - a blatant "kick the can" manuver that will blow up again in Sept when the legislators come back from their break. By the first of Oct, they have to come to some agreement on how to institute the law that just passed and come up with a budget before a government shutdown. Except the next installment of the Kabuki theatre that will probably end with yet another short term "continuing resolution" just like last year (you know, when they had to pass seven of these damn things in a year to keep the government running...). Blame Obama all you want but it just shows your ignorance of how our government is suppose to work.

Craig Moore

Moorcat, call it what you will, but I am comfortable in understanding how both govt. and politics work. As for blaming Obama, others, like Krugman, are far better at that than I am. As to Carney's claim of Obama's leadership OpEdNews disagrees on multiple levels and multiple issues: http://www.opednews.com/Diary/The-Real-Reason-To-Damn-Ob-by-Ed-Encho-110706-63.html

The Obama presidency has been one endless series of failures, cave-ins, half-measures, broken campaign promises, capitulations and pissed away opportunities for change. The only good moment for the man who failed to close Gitmo or even better yet send Lloyd Blankfein and the rest of the Wall Street criminals there was the hit on the bad assed bogeyman of the past decade Osama bin Laden, days after a blistering dressing down of the pompous ass that is Donald Trump. ..

Granted that Obama inherited a disaster from his predecessor but his leadership skills quite frankly suck, and I am being diplomatic here, he is a spineless weasel and just another Ivy League educated elitist who couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the little people. The image makers really hit it big with Obama, it was like the Huxtable family goes to Washington and it was lapped up by schmucks across America including this blogger who held his nose and voted for Obama instead of Nader or Cynthia McKinney. It was more the image that I saw of Hitler standing next to German Chancellor Paul Von Hindenburg that was juxtaposed with one of John McCain and Sarah Palin that sealed the deal for me personally. I wasn’t expecting much but what I didn’t expect was an escalation of the worst abuses of the Bushreich including the domestic spying, government sanctioned sexual abusers feeling up children in airports, more wars, attacks on whistleblowers and the obviously disgusting green light given to the capitalist predators on Wall Street to continue to suck the marrow from the bones of the dessicated remains of the middle class with their revolving door between government and their New York casinos.

Wulfgar

Lizard, when a (given) master of the English language has to run to a dictionary in an attempt to bolster a weak point concerning a complex concept of interaction, it truly convinces me that I'm on to something. The very idea of responsibility implies that one who is blamed is "responsible" TO another. My complaint with your arrogance is very clear. Your fellow voters are not responsible to you. Only your own sense of importance can convince you that they are.

Craig, you've kind of jumped the rails again here. Krugman isn't blaming Obama for the Debt Deal. He Blames Obama for following a path of austerity, at a time when austerity stands against the real economic problems of joblessness and polarization of earnings. As regards the Debt Deal, Krugman blames Obama for "wanting" it. Wanting a deal, I concur and agree with. Wanting the deal that was passed is another matter of shear assumption, one you seem very married to along with many on the right and the left.

You don't like Obama? No problem. But you seem desperate to blame Obama for Congress' failures. That's exactly what my brother pointed out, and you've been avoiding. You've taken to posting stuff from others who blame Obama for anything else under the sun. Fine. It's off topic, but fine. Caterwaul at will ...

Craig Moore

Wulfgar, Krugman blamed Obama for not acting on the debt last December when he had a clear path to do so.

Wulfgar

I know. He's blaming Obama for a lot of things, many of which aren't so very clear at all. That doesn't change or alter anything I've written here.

Craig Moore

Wulfgar, Obama was not some innocent spectator in the bleacher seats cheering on his team. He was a player on the field. You seem to be oblivious to that fact. The Moderate Voice puts it focus: http://themoderatevoice.com/118385/barack-obama-lacking-the-leadership-character-for-the-job/

Wulfgar

Craig, answer a simple question. What do you want? What is your goal?

lizard

i'm no master of English, but you, sir, are a master of the logic dong, and i humbly defer to its wisdom.

you state governance is about holding those who represent us accountable.

but we don't do that at 4&20, no, we just "blame" people. and there's a big difference between the two, right?

sure you're on to something, Rob. tell me what that wild goose looks like when you catch it.

Wulfgar

Craig, not once have I disagreed with your thesis, but you still waffle. Answer the questions. What is your agenda? What do you actually hope to achieve?

Wulfgar

Lizard, there is no such thing as a "logic dong". WTF is the matter with you? Are you 12 years old, is that your problem in debating on the Internet? Aren't you adult enough to write "logic penis" or "logic dick" or anything else that clearly shows you sexualizing a concept of reason as a form of personal dismissal? That is, of course, being the closet sexist I know you to be, but still. Grow up.

you state governance is about holding those who represent us accountable.

Lizard, you weren't blaming those who govern us as our representatives. You were blaming your fellow voters, (assuming of course you bother to vote) who have the same authority you have in our governance. Like the tantrum prone child, you want to hold accountable people who owe you nothing. Good luck with that, Lizard.

but we don't do that at 4&20, no, we just "blame" people.

Hiding behind the collective again, I see. That wouldn't be so noxious (and repeatedly arrogant) if you didn't continue to do so while misstating what I've written here. Tell me, Liz, if you're going to hide behind 4 & 20 when I've used exactly what you've written here to show your arrogance and foolishness, does that mean you speak for 4 & 20 as if with one voice? Here's a hint. Logic, sans penis, isn't going to favor you regardless of the answer being "yes", "no" or "sometimes". Try "maybe", Mr. Principles ...

lizard

logic dong has a nice sound to it; the assonance (echo of vowel sounds to create internal rhyming) is alluring. i don't deny i try to keep a bit of immature fun in my use of language. that doesn't make me sexist, though, Rob. not like that will stop your baseless accusations.

the rest of your prods are pretty weak and worthless. you are the one who keep shifting things. anyone who voted for tea party asshats are part of the problem. anyone who stayed home and didn't vote is part of the problem (i do vote, Rob, and your assumptions make you look like a real douche). anyone who will blindly vote for Obama again because there's no other choice is part of the problem. corporate money is a HUGE part of the problem.

and i like your attempts to depict me as someone arrogant who speaks for others, when you use "we" to indicate you speak for some larger contingent than yourself.

you are such a hypocrite, it's sort of painful to watch. carry on.

Wulfgar

Lizard, you of all people I did not expect to use the defense of proud ignorance. Spend a couple of years reading Melissa McEwen, Amanda Marcotte or Jessica Valenti and you will learn that sexualizing non-gender concepts as a form of insult is exactly passive sexism. There is nothing baseless in my accusations at all. You just picked up that "logic dong" crap from Mark T and decided to run with it. You aren't even as good at it as he is; you're just more ignorantly persistent.

What's truly hysterical to me is your bold claim:

anyone who voted for tea party asshats are part of the problem. anyone who stayed home and didn't vote is part of the problem

They are part of the problem, but your arrogance gives you the right to "blame" them? The comedy is that you do such in a post where I point out that you, you personally, are also part of the problem. (And you might want to put down the pipe every now and again, Liz. I didn't assume about you. I wrote clearly "If".)

You *do* assume that a vote for Obama "because there's no other choice" is a blind vote. First, there is another choice, always. Second, people have reasons for voting you have no clue about. I can give you 2 reasons this very second for voting Barack Obama. Elana Kagan and Sonya Sotomayer. Or perhaps, Anthony Kennedy, Stephen Breyer, or Ruth Bader Ginsburg? None of those 3 are what would be called "spring chickens". While JC posts his whines about Molloy thinking that Tester's wolf rider is unconstitutional and refuses to do anything about it, and you loudly tantrum about Citizens United, the folk who have decided or might do so about these policies are proffered by the man you are so very disappointed in. Would you rather see what a President Romney or President Bachmann offers, given that Kennedy who ruled for CU is in poor health and very old? If you would, you are part of the problem, a much bigger part of the problem that those you dismiss with your false and arrogant judgements.

There are people who are in like classification to me (Democratic voters, moderates, Montanans, college graduates ...) You just picked up the "we" argument from Mark T as well, and you ignorantly run with it. You still aren't as good at it as he is, and he's pretty pathetic. There is no hypocrisy in using "we" in my writing. You, on the other hand, attempted to accuse me of "blaming" your website, your collective, for you personally behaving like an ignorant arrogant ass. I never did that. I've only pointed out that you do those things, and you still prove me correct.

carry on.

I'm so glad I have your permission. I have every intention of doing so.

lizard

the supreme court defense for voting for Obama, i've heard that one before.

so our wars will continue to expand, our economic depression will worsen, the environment will continue to be exploited and our climate will continue to get more volatile, and you will vote for Obama even though it's obvious he has thrown in with the Big Money against his own base...BUT at least he will select less worse candidates for the Supreme Court?

yeah, sounds great.

Wulfgar

You actually think you know what the base is, Lizard? You haven't proven it by me, or pretty much anyone else really. And I await with baited breath your argument that Sotomayer and Kagen are "less worse" as opposed to actually good. There's that arrogance of yours again. You might want to correct that problem someday.

lizard

thanks for the advice, Rob.

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