5 votes

How to cut $1 trillion in spending all at once, and without the consent of Congress

Suppose that President Smith comes into office, and his close allies control 1/3+1 of the Senate. President Smith wants to balance the budget through spending cuts. He knows that Congress will never agree to this. But then it comes time for a debt ceiling increase. The federal government cannot borrow another cent unless the Congress authorizes it. Suppose the Congress passes the debt ceiling increase legislation, but President Smith vetoes it. And now the Congress wants to override his veto, but they need 2/3 majorities in both houses of Congress, and they can't get it in the Senate because President Smith's allies control 1/3+1 of the votes in the Senate. The deadline expires, and it is now illegal for the federal government to borrow another cent. And the Congress cannot impeach and remove President Smith, since that too requires a 2/3 majority in the Senate, which his opponents don't have.

Suppose that when this happens there's an annual budget deficit of $1 trillion, so that when the deadline expires without an increase in the debt ceiling the federal government is forced by law to make $1 trillion in spending cuts overnight. Who decides how these cuts are made? Suppose Congress attempts to make law to specify which programs are to be cut and which are to be maintained - but President Smith vetoes this law, and, again, the Congress doesn't have the numbers to overturn his veto. In the absence of any law reducing spending, what we have is a situation where the federal government has more financial obligations than is able to meet. So who decides how to ration funds, and prioritize programs?

I would think President Smith decides, no? If not President Smith, who? It can't be the Congress, since anything the Congress does Smith can veto, and the Congress can't overturn his veto. And in the meantime, during this stalemate, spending must be rationed. And surely it can't be the Supreme Court. And there's no other branch of government. And the executive is the one charged with executing the laws, so I would think choosing which laws to execute and which to not execute when there isn't enough funding to execute them all would fall under the executive's prerogative.

So now President Smith has the power to make $1 trillion in spending cuts however he pleases.

...pretty sweet eh? And all you need is the Presidency and 1/3 +1 of the Senate to do this. Whereas, to reduce spending through legislation requires majorities in both houses of Congress, and the Presidency, or 2/3 in both houses of Congress.

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Cyril's picture

I'll trust your words on the

I'll trust your words on the specifics, re: the respective portions of "Yea"s vs "Nay"s in both houses.

I think it is a nicely positive post and totally honorable wish to have.

Sadly, though, as someone else commented already, I'm afraid only Ron Paul as a president would go for it.

As for the others ... despite what they can claim on the MSM :

I'd bet my right arm they HAVE NO INTENT TO DO ANY SIGNIFICANT spending cuts.

It is, strictly speaking : a pure RHETORIC strawman for them.

To get votes.

Then to get power.

And continue to screw EVERY ONE of us all.

And them smiling inside that the strawman worked so well.


"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius


I don't mean to be flippant about it, it's not as if gaining the Presidency and 1/3+1 of the Senate is an easy task. My point is only that it is a substantially easier task than gaining the Presidency and 1/2+1 in both houses, or gaining 2/3 in both houses.

Maybe it's just me, but I like having concrete goals. I mean, we were all focused on getting Dr. Paul into the White House. But that's not the end of it. The country does not suddenly become libertarian when our man becomes President. We need to think about broader strategy. And I think what I've outlined above is, at least in theory, the easiest way to push our agenda through the federal government. And the concrete long-term goal is:

1 President + 34 Senators = Victory

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

Well, we dont even need a

Well, we dont even need a president, just enough senators. If you can have them block voting, you can stop everything.

To climb the mountain, you must believe you can.

"enough senators"

...you mean enough to prevent the Senate from passing bills?

If so, then yes, that would allow us to stop the debt ceiling increase, and force the government to balance the budget, and no new legislation could pass without our approval, but we wouldn't be able to control how the spending cuts were made (the President would). But if we don't care about that, then indeed we only need 41 senators.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

Yea...all ya need... The

Yea...all ya need...
The problem here is that Ron Paul is the only one who would ever do that.

To climb the mountain, you must believe you can.