Letter: Equal shares of the blame

I suppose we should be looking forward rather than back to the recent silliness of our elected leaders. But Evelyn Kerr’s letter in last week’s edition [“Who’s really responsible for the shutdown?”] requires comment.

Ms. Kerr quotes Dr. Thomas Sowell. Dr. Sowell is an economist highly regarded among conservative thinkers, but I trust his reputation is based on better material than this. Kerr paraphrases Sowell, saying “every spending bill has to originate in the House of Representatives,”  and “House members have a constitutional right to determine if, and where, they wish to appropriate monies.” The first point is true but irrelevant; the second is true but silly.

The force of the House threat to shut down the government and/or cause it to default on its debt came not from the requirement that it originate appropriations, but from the requirement that both House and Senate must agree in order for a bill to go forward for the President’s signature and become law. And as far as constitutional rights are concerned, the House has the right to pass just about any kind of foolish notion it wants. It can even pass legislation — and from time to time, does — that proves to be unconstitutional.

Kerr commented also that the Democrats “are exploiting the government shutdown for their own political gain.” She is right about that, but doesn’t seem to notice that the Republicans were pretty stupid for providing the Democrats the opportunity.

Mike Mahoney

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