Political promises

2 Sep

As we move into the final days of the presidential election, it’s worth remembering:

No President can cut taxes.

The income tax rates and laws are written and passed by Congress.
The President can suggest but only Congress can make it happen.

No President can create jobs.

The job market is in a very complex dance with the economy.
The President can order certain agency changes that make things easier for a company, but true economic change comes from Congress.

No President can cut or increase the federal budget.

The President can submit a budget based on the administration’s goals and needs.
Congress then modifies it to reflect its wants and needs.
The President can veto the budget bill and that’s a common threat to get changes he wants.
The end result is frequently a compromise no one is happy with.

The President can not change a federal law passed by Congress.

He can have agencies charged with enforcing the law to ignore it, but that usually forces Congress to pass more laws to stop that.

The President can not clean the environment or expand the parks.

Congress writes and passes environmental laws and laws that govern the national parks.

While there are some executive orders he can give, the President basically can only offer an initiative to Congress which asks laws be passed to make that initiative happen.

Much of the end result will depend on whether it’s an election year and the relationship between the White House and Congress.

The President can veto a bill from Congress and this frequently forces Congress to make changes wanted by the President.

Congress can also override a veto forcing a bill into law over the President’s objections.

It’s part of the checks and balances provided in the US constitution.

The President is not much more than the CEO of the federal government.
There are certain things he or she can control, but major changes have to come from, or be approved by, the board of directors.

Never underestimate the power of the “bully pulpit” where the President takes his case to the American public and it forces Congress to bend to his will.

Why this civics lesson?

Because when a politician (city, state or federal) says he or she will cut taxes, change the laws, stop abortion, change Congress or save the planet – they are pandering to you.

They’re just trying to get your vote by promising to fix something that is important to you.

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