Tag Archives: shutdown

The Tantrum

I was shopping at a Wegman’s grocery store a few years ago. In line ahead of me was a young mother with a cart full of food. And a 3 or 4 year old toddler.

As is often the case, the checkout lane was filled with those last minute items one tends to forget to buy. Like candy. And candy. And more candy.

I am not cynical enough (well, I am, actually) to think that grocery stores intentionally put loads of sweets right where little toddlers can see them. And demand them. And grab them. And cry for them.

Which is what this toddler did. He or she began whining. “I want..I want..I want”.

The young mother said “No.”

So, the toddler reached over and picked up candy bar and placed it on the counter.

We all waited to see what the mother would do. Would she give in? Would she let the toddler have his way? Would she yell? Would she slap him?

She picked up the candy bar and placed it back where it belonged. The toddler wailed. Louder and louder. Picked up another candy bar and placed it on the counter. He was making a scene. A power play.

What would the mother do? After all, what parent has not been in the position of having a little tyke act out in public.  We all waited. Would she crack? Would she give in? Would she yell?

The young mother picked up the candy bar and put it back on the shelf.

Again. And again. And again. The toddler wailed and cried. And cried. And wailed. Eventually they left. The youngster wailing all the way out of the store. Empty handed.

Psychologists tell us that when behavior gets rewarded it gets repeated. I am guessing  this young mother had taken a good Psychology course.

And so did Nancy Pelosi.

 

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Filed under Politics, Psychology, Trump, United States

Don’t Blame Trump

Polls show that most Americans blame Trump for the current shutdown. I don’t.

I taught Participation-in-Government classes for high school seniors for about 25 years. So, while I am not an expert I probably know more than most people about  the US Constitution. Which is why I do not blame Trump for the current shutdown.

The president does not make the laws. Maybe a lot of people think the president makes the laws, he doesn’t. He executes the laws passed by Congress. He may decide to prioritize some laws over others, which makes sense and is his right. But he cannot overturn a law or create a law.

That is the job of Congress. The powers of Congress are contained in Article 1 for a reason. The founding fathers put the representatives of the people first. Article 1. Only the Congress can make laws. And all laws requiring appropriation of tax dollars must originate in the House of Representatives. That is the constitution. Clear. Precise. Congress makes the laws.

Now, Mr Trump cannot sign a law unless Congress first passes it. For example, he recently signed a law which will give back pay to the 800,000 federal employees laid off through no fault of their own. Which is curious. That means when this debacle ends, all the workers will get paid. Even though they did no work. Both Congress and the POTUS agree that this is the thing to do.

The House of Representatives have passed a number of bills, 6 I think, to fund all of the government. None of those bills includes funding for a long, 2,000 mile wall. These bills were then sent to the Senate to act on.

So, the ball is in the Senate’s court. Even though the Senate passed the very same bills just last month, the Senate now refuses to even vote on these bills. But wait. Why are they refusing to vote on bills they just passed?

Because of one man. Mitch McConnell. Mitch McConnell is the virtual dictator of the Senate just as Nancy Pelosi is virtual dictator of the House. Whether you like that system or not, that is what it is.

If Mitch McConnell allowed a vote he knows that the bills passed by the House would easily pass. Then those bills would be sent to the president. The president can then decide to sign or veto any or all of them.  But, as of today, Trump is irrelevant.

Obviously the POTUS has some say in what the laws will be. He should. But ultimately it is not Mr Trump’s decision to pass any bill. He cannot sign something that has not been sent to him.

So, don’t blame Trump.

Blame Mitch McConnell. He has decided that he will not even allow a vote to open the government. He has said he will not allow any bill unless Trump gives him permission. Think about that for a moment. The leader of the Senate will only pass bills that the POTUS wants. Period.

That means that the president now controls not only the executive branch, but the legislative branch as well. Exactly the OPPOSITE of what the Constitution demands. A separation of powers.

The proper process is to pass the bills, send them to the POTUS and let the POTUS respond. Mitch McConnell has given all that power , which is supposed to be in the legislative branch, to the executive branch. One wonders why?

So don’t blame Trump for the shutdown. He has nothing on his desk to sign or veto. For some reason Mitch McConnell has decided it is not the job the the legislative branch to legislate.

Don’t blame Trump. Blame Mitch.

 

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