With the budget, the President does not call the shots
To the editor:
I respectfully disagree with Lee Hamilton's position that the President calls the shots where the Federal Budget is concerned. Mr. Hamilton maintains that "Congress used to reign supreme in budget making. Now, the President has become the chief budget-maker." If that is true, then it is because Congress has abdicated its responsibility.
Our three branches of government were carefully designed to ensure a balance of power through a system of checks and balances. As such, the President is head of the Legislative branch with a primary responsibility of ensuring that existing laws are enforced. It is not the President's responsibility to either make laws or to write the budget. While the President can certainly propose suggestions for a budget, he should have never been allowed to become "the chief budget-maker."
The primary responsibility of Congress is to pass the nations laws and to allocate funds for running the federal government. As such, Congress has the power of the purse, and they bear the responsibility for writing and passing the budget. If Congress is merely rubber stamping 90-95 percent of a 2,000-page budget that was submitted by the President, then they are not doing their job, and we the people should not tolerate such a shirking of duty.
Much of the problem with our current government stems from the perpetual re-election of career politicians. When George Washington became our first President there were no term limits for his office. Yet he voluntarily stepped down from his position after eight years of service. Our government was never designed to be in the hands of a few people for a prolonged period of time. However, it is now common for career politicians to remain in Congress for the vast majority of their working lifetime. Unfortunately, the longer people remain in government positions, the more powerful they become, and this breeds cronyism, corruption and complacency.
If we want Congress to do its job and if we want the Constitution to be the law of the land, then it is our responsibility to hold our elected officials accountable. If Congress continues to rubber stamp the President's budget and continues to allow him to usurp power by making new laws that he does not have the authority to enact, then it is the voters' responsibility to remove those politicians from office. Name recognition should not be a qualification for winning elections. Voting is not merely a privilege; it is a huge responsibility. If we want a good and sound government, then voters must do their homework and stop automatically re-electing the same people year after year after year.
Sally Sidman, concerned citizen. informed voter