It’s surprising and almost infuriating to me that Americans, in general, are quite ignorant of how their own government works. I see it every day as people blame the president, specifically, for things that aren’t necessarily his responsibility or under his control. For example, I was talking with someone earlier about how the bankruptcy laws had changed. He had made the observation that “thanks to Mr. Bush, no one can declare bankruptcy anymore.” I had to respond that he was incorrect. First, it’s not thanks to Mr. Bush, it’s thanks to the congress. You see, the congress is the branch of the government that actually makes the laws–that’s why it’s called the legislative branch of the government. The president’s job–as the executive–either approves the law or vetos the law. That’s the only thing the president can do as far as making laws, and if he vetos the law, he has to give a reason as to why he denies it. However, if the congress does not believe that the president’s reason is good enough to prevent legislation, they can approve the law with 3/4 consent anyway! It just bugs me how people don’t understand how that system works.
For example: spending bills and government spending. People blame the president on government spending when, in reality, it’s the congress that appropriates the money. Only after congress decides how to spend the money, does the president approve or deny the appropriation. Not to absolve the president from responsibility, as he does approve the spending, but it’s not the president that comes to congress saying “show me the money!” Of course, the president can suggesthow he would like money to be spent, but it is not entirely his decision. The point I’m making here, and what bugs me the most, is that instead of paying attention to the branch of government that they should be paying attention to, people choose to spend their time bickering about the president. Blame it on Bush, blame it on Clinton, whatever.
Another example: right now, the American economy is in a recession, and, of course, it’s blamed on Bush (W). However, the reality of the situation is that the only people to blame are consumers. You see, when Reagan was in office, he was heavily criticized for his trickle-down economic theory (which was introduced by Alan Greenspan), but because economics is a cause-and-effect science, things take time to come about, and from the late 1980’s through the 1990’s, the United States economy saw record exponential growth. Of course, who is credited with that boom? Why none other than the president of the 90’s–William Jefferson Clinton! People tend to only look around at what is happening to them presently, they don’t look at what processes were set in motion 10 and 20 years ago to provide for these changes–and I don’t blame them, it’s human nature. But people, instead of focusing on the president regarding legislative issues, start focusing on your congressmen. Focus on your senators and representatives–if you have a problem with something going on, take a look at how they voted, and go from there. Remember, the president can only persuade–congress does.