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Monday, March 06, 2006

Line-Item Veto

I know that, on the surface, this seems to be a very attractive concept, especially to those of a more conservative persuasion. Republican or Democrat, the sheer amount of pork in each federal budget in my lifetime and longer has been riddled with these little bits of poor uses of taxpayer money. I believe that's a very serious issue and one that must be addressed, not only for ourselves, but for the generations to come. However, the Founders of our great nation enumerated the powers and responsibilities of each of the branches of our government, and more importantly, codified a clear system for each of the three branches of government to act as a check on the powers of each other. The line-item veto would be a clear violation of the Founders' intent and the Constitution of the United States of America, as it would hand some powers belonging to the Legislative branch to the Executive. In addition, as a purely practical matter, this only seems like a good idea when "your guy" is in power, whomever he, or eventually she, is or which party, if any, he or she belongs. What happens when "your guy" is out of office, and someone from the opposition party is in the White House? Also, who exactly do you think would be on the receiving end most often of the President's line-item veto power, should this become a part of our nation's laws? That, perhaps more than anything else, should give pause to Congressional proponents of this idea.

As a side-note, if a line-item veto were to exist, Senator Kerry's proposal would be nothing more than a placebo and would further weaken the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches. I think I liked him better when he was lazy.


Snave said...

I tend to think legislation which differed with the philosophy of whoever was in power would be the stuff that would get the veto. One party could attach a rider that would demand accountability, and it could be vetoed by the POTUS whose party was in power. Some really senseless riders could get vetoed as well, which might not be bad, but...

I also think that it is natural that Bush would like to increase the power of the executive branch, so I see this as something of a power-grab on his part. I perceive the administration as gradually increasing its power.

Personally, I don't really care for the idea of the line-item veto at all, primarily because I agree with what you said above: it "would be a clear violation of the Founders' intent and the Constitution of the United States of America, as it would hand some powers belonging to the Legislative branch to the Executive."

Kerry? Looks from your linked article like he may or may not actually support the concept, but he does look like he's saying something to the effect of "I don't believe you'll really curb wasteful spending, so let's see you put your money where your mouth is." Such an attitude could backfire, of course, as Bush could actually begin vetoing certain items here and there, potentially including lots of stuff Dems might feel is important to them; this would of course get spun to depict the Republicans as actually wanting to curb spending.

I actually think Kerry is being very lazy for basically saying "Yeah, let's go ahead and do it." Either that, or he's being very cocky, anticipating some kind of changeover in the House and Senate come November that will basically neuter vetoes. He shouldn't be counting his chickens before they hatch!
Such a changeover is NOT in the bag. Even though the administration seems to be shooting itself in the foot in some new way just about every week, the Dems need to get on the ball and take advantage instead of sitting on their butts and laughing at Dubya's ineptitude. Otherwise, the anticipated changeover won't happen, and we'll have to endure two more years without checks and balances.

an american said...

Until five years ago I would have supported the idea of a line-item veto. But that would have been when I was more naive having the assumption that regardless of party each president would have some measure of honor and integrity. The current Tard of Tards puts the lie to that assumption.

Yep, his pen wouldn’t go anywhere near crossing out bridges to nowhere, eliminating $1.6 billion spent to date to put admin positive stories in the media, or millions in results poor abstinence-now programs administered by fundie groups promoted as the way to contain AIDS in Africa and here. But his eyes would narrow and the cap would whip off his pen for anything that didn’t help the A-list party and campaign contributors. So yeah, since recent history has shown it’s possible something of the caliber of a Bush 43 can get to office, leave out the line-item veto. Two entomologists got it right when they named two new species of slime-mold dung beetles after Bush and Cheney. lol

Actually, the line-item veto did go live briefly during Clinton’s term. He used it exactly once before it was challenged in court. The Supreme Court had the final say ruling it unconstitutional. Even Democrats in Congress hailed the decision. But these are different times. The current Repubs in Congress could start waving the flag, spinning they are fiscal conservatives which the past five years proves to be false, and this Supreme Court could let it fly. Or Plan B: Gonzales could write an opinion that the Bushtard as wartime CIC inherently has that authority.

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

This is actually one of the few issues that my stance has not undergone some form of refinement or change in the last five to seven years. This has nothing at all to do with the current president and everything to do with the nature of party politics, as well as a little scrap of paper upon which all of our laws are, in theory at least, based.

American, it seems your opposition is based, in part, on your party affiliation and its difference from that of the current president. I don't have that problem because I'm a libertarian-leaning independent. :)

Snave, your post got me thinking about yet another of my concerns: electoral reform and other questions fundamental to our democratic republic. I plan to post on that topic later tonight, but as a teaser, search for Condorcet.

Snave said...

AA... T of T. I love it!

Let's all sing along with Georg Friedrich Handel and the choir: "Tard of tards... hallelujah! Hallelujah!"