How to cut $1 trillion in spending all at once, and without the consent of CongressSubmitted by NowOrNever on Wed, 08/29/2012 - 21:25
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.