Congress, not the president, spends money


From reading the letters to the editor, and, some of the editorials, there seems to be some misconception in Montezuma County about who is spending the money in Washington.

Many letters are critical of the president for spending too much money. In our system of government, the president does not spend money. Only the Congress spends money.

To apply this in the context of the fiscal cliff and the debt ceiling requires an understanding of how our government works.

Congress passes laws that spend money. As an example, Congress passed a law to bailout the banks for $700 billion. There are only two ways for the government to acquire the money to pay for this bailout. First, the government can raise taxes. Second, the government can borrow money.

We incur a deficit when Congress spends money, but does not collect the amount of taxes necessary to pay for the spending.

Congressional refusal to raise the debt ceiling, and, to raise taxes, means that Congress is refusing to pay the bills that it incurred on behalf of the country. In order to spend money, or pay our government's bills, the president can only do what Congress instructs him to do. The president has no authority to spend money unless Congress orders him to do so.

Our current deficits can be traced to the following kinds of spending by Congress:

$3 trillion dollars for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

$700 billion dollars for bailing out the banks.

$1.2 trillion dollars per year to pay the interest on the deficit

$800 billion in unemployment benefits because of the 2007 recession

$800 billion in stimulus funds to correct the 2007 recession

This money was spent by Congress, not by the president.

If taxes are not raised, then our children and grandchildren will have to pay for this spending and the resulting debt. If we borrow the money to pay for this spending, thenour children and grandchildren will have to pay for what we borrowed.

Jim Preston



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