Executive Intelligence Review
Subscribe to EIR


Senate Debate on Unconstitutional
Deficit Commission Set To Begin Jan. 20

Jan. 17, 2010 (EIRNS)—Under an agreement worked out between Harry Reid and Republican Senators right before Christmas, the Senate will take up raising the federal debt limit on Jan. 20, and it will also take up the Judd Gregg/Kent Conrad proposal for Peter Peterson's fascist budget-cutting commission targetting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—whose powers would supersede those of Congress. A similar proposal is also likely to be part of Obama's State of the Union address—whenever that occurs.

Yesterday's Washington Post reported that talks have been going on for weeks between the White House and so-called fiscal hawks in the Senate, typified by Conrad, who are refusing to support an increase in the debt limit without the creation of a budget commission. One issue is whether such a slash-and-burn commission would be created by law, or by Presidential appointment; a Presidentially appointed commission would have less power to compel Congress to accept its recommendations. The Post reports that many interest groups are lining up against the creation of such a commission, including the American Association of Retired People (AARP) and others opposed to cuts in Medicare and Social Security.

David Walker, the former U.S. Comptroller who now heads the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, was interviewed on National Public Radio (NPR) last week, where he was invited to push his commission proposal and repeat his mantra that the "regular order" (i.e. the Constitutional framework of our government) is broke, and that if we don't cut spending quickly, we will "lose the confidence of foreign investors."

George Will has a Sunday syndicated column attacking what he calls "errors of commission," and specifically attacking the Conrad-Gregg proposal. He says this proposal is the latest "iteration of the 'let's all hold hands and jump off the cliff together' school of government." He cites two objections—the first, which he calls "procedural," is actually the most substantive, in that it discusses the evasion of constitutional responsibility by the Congress for exercising control over taxes and spending. The second is what Will calls "substantive"—the fact that the Commission would likely lead to huge tax increases. He concludes with a Swiftian proposal that the legislation be amended to declare that the Congress, which has abdicated its responsibility, be put on unpaid leave—and stay there until 2050.