Saturday, February 7, 2009

Brief Civics Lesson

From time to time, we will use this space to offer you, dear readers, with some clarification on civics and our country's political system. We will do this in as non-partisan a way as possible.

And today's issue stems from the fact that everyone on TV is calling the stimulus bill "Obama's stimulus bill."

President Obama did request a stimulus bill. He requested it not be solely based on tax cuts, favoring a package that would spend money on infrastructure, putting blue collar people to work, giving them paychecks to spend, creating white-collar jobs to support that spending, etc. Basically, spend government money to create more taxpayers - which makes some sense.

All that aside, there's one thing he didn't do: create the legislation. That, friends, is what your legislature - the House and Senate - gets to do. Obama can state his view, but it's your elected representatives and senators that make laws here.

So, then, this stimulus people are discussing isn't Obama's - it belongs to Congress.

Now, follow me here - since we elected these representatives to represent us (not just a clever name we gave them), if you don't like the bill, you need to go tell your guy/gal in congress that you care and you vote. And, sure, the president can veto a bill he doesn't like, but we've forgotten that a veto is the president looking at you, my voting friends, and saying: "I don't care what you told your reps to create, I disagree, so there."

And, see, presidents don't always want to do that. They want to trust that their congress - the people's voice - is giving them what the people want.

So... long story short, if you don't like the stimulus package (something interesting since any stimulus package is going to need to be judged on its merits months after it has passed, but that's an entirely separate blog...), it's not on Obama. It's on Congress. And by extension... it's on you. Because you're the ones who are supposed to let your congresspeople know what you think.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, my dear. Americans never seem to take ownership of anything that happens in government, when we actually do have a lot of power.