I recently received a post pointing me to an article in Forbes Magazine, 08/06/2011. The title of the Article was: "A Failed Presidency -- The American Problem." Written by John Mariotti. The person simply said "another opinion you may be interested in reading." The article is the usual Obama bashing, nothing really new. If it were written today it would probably blame the fact that Obama went to Martha's Vineyard for the hurricane that's about to nail the North East.
I read the entire piece and found many problems with it. The author said something about if he were to list all of the problems with the Obama presidency it wouldn't fit into a blog. Well, that's how I feel about the blog itself. I did notice something that really points out a major reason why we are in the pickle we are: the ability of writers like this to make totally false statements, that in the past most Americans would have known were false, and get away with it. It is NOT "another opinion" it is simply false, as in a lie. Not enough people seem to care enough to call these guys on these types of lies. It points out a major factor in why we are losing our democracy, a lack of basic education.
As I have written before and I am sure everyone reading this knows, our government is a tripartite system consisting of the executive (the president and his staff), the legislative (the house and the senate), and the judicial (the Supreme Court and our system of federal courts). Each with restricted and very specified powers. The idea is that this creates a system of checks and balances that allows our democracy to flourish. Our system, as Thomas Jefferson said numerous times, must have an educated electorate or problems like this one start to emerge. This being an excellent example of a major, respected magazine feeding misinformation to an uneducated readership and these readers simply take it at face value.
I am writing about a Republican, right wing article, but this problem is endemic. Both side share the blame and if we can't do something to educate the populace then this great experiment in representational government is doomed. (It is my feeling that we have already past that point, but I will write that piece later).
Here is the offending statement: Obama’s irresponsible Feb. budget, which was voted down 97-0 by a Democratically controlled Senate.
Here's the drill:
The President, according to the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, must submit a budget to Congress each year. In its current form, federal budget legislation law specifies that the President submit a budget between the first Monday in January and the first Monday in February. In recent times, the President's budget submission, entitled Budget of the U.S. Government, has been issued in the first week of February
The House and Senate Budget Committees begin consideration of President's budget proposals in February and March. Other committees with budgetary responsibilities submit requests and estimates to the Budget committees during this time. The Budget committees each submit a budget resolution by April 1. The House and Senate each consider those budget resolutions and are expected to pass them, possibly with amendments, by April 15. Budget resolutions specify funding levels for appropriations committees and subcommittees.
The next step is the drafting of a budget resolution. The United States House Committee on the Budget and the United States Senate Committee on the Budget are responsible for drafting budget resolutions. Following the traditional calendar, by early April both committees finalize their drafts and submit it to their respective floors for consideration and adoption.
A budget resolution, which is one form of a concurrent resolution, binds Congress, but is not a law, and so does not require the President's signature. The budget resolution serves as a blueprint for the actual appropriation process, and provides Congress with some control over the appropriations process. No new spending authority, however, is provided until appropriation bills are enacted.
Once both houses pass the resolution, selected Representatives and Senators negotiate a conference report to reconcile differences between the House and the Senate versions. The conference report, in order to become binding, must be approved by both the House and Senate.
Conclusion: It is not possible for the senate to vote down "Obama's irresponsible budget." Neither the house nor the senate CAN vote on the President's budget. They must vote on what their own committees on the budget have made of the President's budget.
Of course now that the statement: "Obama’s irresponsible Feb. budget, which was voted down 97-0 by a Democratically controlled Senate" has appeared in this article it will become more fodder for "The Failed Presidency." The fact that it is a lie does not matter and for the most part those that read that article now simply have another piece of information to use against the President.
I don't care if the President is Obama or Howdy Doody our system cannot function when we are flooded with this type of misinformation. It did happen under Bush and, unless we do something about it, it will only continue to get worse.
Thanks to my wife: Melinda, for the painting. It's of the Balinese God Layak Barak. I found it somehow appropriate.