|Hi. I'm a US Senator from NOLA. I guarantee that I can redefine anything to make you sound dumb and me sound superior, at least until some scary person who knows how to read calls me on my double-speak. (http://landrieu.senate.gov/about/bio.cfm)|
Mary Landrieu, a US Senator from the socialist outpost of New Orleans, recently made an interesting statement. She stated that our federal government's spending problem is with mandatory spending, not discretionary. She further stated that she would fight to keep that mandatory spending to keep on its current track rather than to reform it.
"I am not going to keep cutting the discretionary budget, which by the way is not out of control, despite what you hear on Fox News. It's mandatory spending that is rising rapidly. Because the greatest generation that gave us the greatest nation the world has ever heard is dying and they need hospice care, they need Social Security, they need hospitals. And if they want to cut them go right ahead -- I'm going to be a little more gentle," (From Fox News )According to the socialist definition of "mandatory spending", this is true. By their ideology, "mandatory spending" has increased six times faster than "discretionary spending".
Discretionary Spending, by their definition, is spending that requires an annual appropriations bill in order to spend it. They define mandatory spending as any spending that is automatic based upon previous legislation.
This confuses things for many people. She is correct, within her definitions. But, like most things, you need to pin people down to define their terms.
For your average American, "mandatory spending", when done by the federal government, would be those things mandated by our contract with that government. That contract is called the US Constitution. So, "mandatory spending" would be spending that is specifically mentioned in that supreme law of the land.
Landrieu specifically mentions senior citizens entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare. Yes, those individuals are entitled to those payments. The reason behind their entitlement, for the majority of recipients, is that they paid into those systems. Had they invested in series-I US Savings Bonds, they would be getting that loaned money back plus interest. In effect, that is what their payroll deductions into Social Security and Medicare were -- loans to the US Government.
So, Ms. Landrieu, let's twist this one around its one-point and look at the truth. Where did all of their money go? Well, it went into the general fund. While bouncing around the general fund during the 40+ years they worked, you and your predecessors used the money for government spending. Much of that was on discretionary spending. Now you owe those people their money plus interest. So, now it is mandatory, yes. However, had there been a balanced budget amendment 40 years ago, much of this shortage would not exist today.
In addition, no legislation supersedes the authority of the US Constitution.
You see, by Ms. Landrieu's
Using a more logical and reasonable (and correct) definition of "mandatory spending", we have to look only at the US Constitution to find those parameters.
Article 1 Section 8 grants (and limits through the enumerated powers) congress its authority. It specifically states that taxes, excises, and duties are to be levied to pay public debts, maintain national defense, and perform its enumerated powers and duties.
Food Stamps are not enumerated nor implied anywhere in the document. Even the term "general welfare" does not refer to food stamps, social security, or housing subsidies. It refers to insuring the opportunity for prosperity. However, corporate bailouts and other poor fiscal policies enacted by the Senate, the Executive Branch, and shoved down our throats through the PPACA have done nothing to increase prosperity. In fact, we never recovered from the last (double-dip) recession. Now we have found that the last quarter of 2012 showed a GDP shrinkage. Instead of a positive GDP, we have a negative 0.1% GDP for the quarter. That is another recession. So, Ms. Landrieu and her fellow socialists have done the exact opposite of "provide for the general welfare".
Article 1 Section 8 also mandates that congress apportion funds for postal roads, post offices, naval forces, and ground forces. The military forces must be apportioned and budgeted at least every two years if not more often.
Those are "mandatory spending".
The debts to those who paid into Social Security and Medicare are "mandatory spending".
Food stamps are not. Housing subsidies are not. Congressional salaries are not. Grants to study shrimp on a treadmill are not.
Stop misleading people. We see through your false rhetoric.