OK

This is only a Preview!

You must Publish this diary to make this visible to the public,
or click 'Edit Diary' to make further changes first.

Posting a Diary Entry

Daily Kos welcomes blog articles from readers, known as diaries. The Intro section to a diary should be about three paragraphs long, and is required. The body section is optional, as is the poll, which can have 1 to 15 choices. Descriptive tags are also required to help others find your diary by subject; please don't use "cute" tags.

When you're ready, scroll down below the tags and click Save & Preview. You can edit your diary after it's published by clicking Edit Diary. Polls cannot be edited once they are published.

If this is your first time creating a Diary since the Ajax upgrade, before you enter any text below, please press Ctrl-F5 and then hold down the Shift Key and press your browser's Reload button to refresh its cache with the new script files.

ATTENTION: READ THE RULES.

  1. One diary daily maximum.
  2. Substantive diaries only. If you don't have at least three solid, original paragraphs, you should probably post a comment in an Open Thread.
  3. No repetitive diaries. Take a moment to ensure your topic hasn't been blogged (you can search for Stories and Diaries that already cover this topic), though fresh original analysis is always welcome.
  4. Use the "Body" textbox if your diary entry is longer than three paragraphs.
  5. Any images in your posts must be hosted by an approved image hosting service (one of: imageshack.us, photobucket.com, flickr.com, smugmug.com, allyoucanupload.com, picturetrail.com, mac.com, webshots.com, editgrid.com).
  6. Copying and pasting entire copyrighted works is prohibited. If you do quote something, keep it brief, always provide a link to the original source, and use the <blockquote> tags to clearly identify the quoted material. Violating this rule is grounds for immediate banning.
  7. Be civil. Do not "call out" other users by name in diary titles. Do not use profanity in diary titles. Don't write diaries whose main purpose is to deliberately inflame.
For the complete list of DailyKos diary guidelines, please click here.

Please begin with an informative title:

What can be said about the shutdown that hasn't already been said?  Not much.  But some simple facts should not be ignored.  

Intro

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

It used to be that conservatives claimed to be the protectors of the Constitution, the champions of "literal interpretation" and the "original intent" of the framers of the document.  It seems that at least a small portion of Congress no longer agrees with the strict interpretation of the Constitution.  For instance:

Article I, section 8  
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes...

It's pretty clear to me what the founders meant here with regard to paying debts, and borrowing money.  It's right there.  And it also clearly gives Congress the power to regulate commerce among the states, something that our supposed Constitutional champions always seem to forget.  But I digress.  At least I didn't read "Green Eggs and Ham" and prove that I lack the reading comprehension necessary to understand the message, in a children's book no less, about trying things before you decide whether you like it or not.

I also find Article VI of the Constitution interesting in light of the current manufactured crisis:

Article. VI

All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

So, the framers themselves refused to skip out on paying debts of a previous government even when proposing an entirely new structure of government to take its place.  Is there any question that they expected each Congress to honor the debts and obligations in place when a new Congress is elected, if they chose to pay the bills of a previous but soon to be defunct government?

And of course, everyone who's ever read the Constitution should know that Congress can repeal previously passed laws.  I've lost count of how many times the House has voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and the number doesn't matter anyway.  The Senate and the President - you know, two parts of the Constitution that make up the Checks and Balances we all learned about in grade school, refused to play ball.  Even the Supreme Court went against opponents of the ACA.  To a rational mind, that would signal that there is no Constitutional option to repeal the law at present.  So the guardians of the Constitution have turned on the document they claim to hold in such high regard.  I just wonder what's next after they've turned on the Constitution.  

And of course, there's the oft discussed 14th Amendment:

14th Amendment, Section 4  

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.

By not acting to raise the debt limit, Congress will be neglecting its Constitutional responsibilities while at the same time focusing attention on the debt limit vote itself.
Nowhere in the Constitution is Congress given the power to refuse to carry out its duties.  For members of Congress, there should be punishment when they violate their own oaths of office to uphold the Constitution.  Unfortunately, each house of Congress is granted the power to "police" its own membership, so justice for those responsible for this mess is highly unlikely.  But make no mistake:  this is not an abuse of power, it is the exercise of a power that is not in the Constitution, the power to not exercise a clearly enumerated power.  In a way, it is analogous to those who object to the individual mandate.  They are showing us how dysfunctional the ACA would be without the mandate.  Only they're getting paid for inaction, instead of penalized.

This has to be fixed.  I believe that a possibility would be a Constitutional amendment establishing a deadline requiring Congress to present a budget to the Senate and the President well ahead of the fiscal year, allowing a reasonable amount of time for negotiations before the next fiscal year begins.  Failing a timely agreement, if one House of Congress, or the President, refuses to deal, they shall be penalized daily until an agreement is made.  No more holding the nation hostage.

Then again, it would be poetic justice if all Congressmen were declared "at will employees" with no benefits, like their own gym, for instance, and required to pay for all their own expenses out of a minimum wage paycheck.  If the architects of the shutdown were employed at Wal-Mart, they would all have been fired.

Extended (Optional)

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.