It takes either someone with moxie, or an idiot, to propose what Mo Brooks, the Representative of Alabama’s 5th District, did on Monday. His proposal, the “Protecting America’s Solvency Act of 2013,” seems to have been written by someone who has no familiarity with American politics whatsoever and who has never taken a civics class.
Even worse, it would, in effect, eliminate the government’s ability to regulate virtually anything.
Section 3, subsection (a)(4) of Brooks’ bill outlines how the measure would effectively prevent the government (both state and federal) from levying fines against companies which violate regulations. The provision reads in part: “No court of the United States or of any State may order any increase in taxes or other revenue measures…” A fine or penalty is defined by federal code as a revenue measure, which means that the government’s ability to levy fines or penalties against corporations which pollute, injure or kill people through negligence would be eliminated. Since these types of legal disputes are typically processed through the court system, this portion of the bill would immediately render both state and federal governments impotent should any issues arise. Another Deepwater Horizon? Couldn’t do anything about it. Someone wants to drill on federal land? There’d be nothing to stop them, and the government couldn’t even charge them for the right to do so. A private company’s huge oil rig plopped down 500 feet off of Miami Beach? That would be allowed, no problem, all thanks to this bill…should it pass.
The bill also requires the President to slash the budget should Congress not pass a balanced budget, all while somehow retaining all revenue control in Congress. This is against the Constitution, which requires that Congress develop and pass the budget. The president traditionally has no clout or influence here, as it is not the executive branch’s job to draft a budget. This bill would in effect give all spending control over to the President, rendering Congress moot in all budgetary matters. All the Congress could do is to raise revenue or not, but they would have no say in actually executing the budget.
To make it even worse, if the president did not ignore Congress and draft a budget that his or her administration wanted, it would be considered an impeachable offense under Brooks’ measure. So, Congress–under this bill–would abdicate all responsibility for shaping or controlling the budget while forcing the president to do their job for them…or else. Well played.
To grossly simplify, our system of checks and balances means that our legislative branch (Congress) is supposed to make the laws, the executive branch (the President) is supposed to enforce the laws Congress makes, and the judicial branch (SCOTUS) is supposed to interpret the laws when there is a dispute. This bill is asking the executive branch to overstep its traditional rôle and take over a major and important chunk of the legislative branch’s work.
This bill is drafted by and for corporations, in an attempt to eliminate the government’s ability to regulate them through punitive measures. Forcing the president to handle budget control–the proposed bill being assumed to take effect in 2018 (if passed) under what conservatives like Brooks hope will be a solidly Republican president but what they expect will be a Congress with Democrats in control–this is a long-term aim to turn this nation into one of, by and for the Corporations. Combine this latest nonsense with efforts in multiple “red” states controlled by Republican state governments (that “went blue” and offered their electoral votes to Obama in 2008 and 2012) to eliminate The People’s voice in electing the President, and it’s obvious that this is a measure designed to kill off the Great Experiment, and impose on all citizens what is nothing less than a dictatorship of the corporate élite.
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