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FrontPage : Have powers wrksht on your desk. . The Last Word: No homework. Today, I will scare you…. The Powers of Congress. A Thought on the Powers of Congress. “The main lawmaking responsibility rests with Congress, and its powers under the Constitution are awesome.

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a thought on the powers of congress
A Thought on the Powers of Congress

“The main lawmaking responsibility rests with Congress, and its powers under the Constitution are awesome.

(what would be examples of these Expressed powers?)

Formally, it has the power to wipe out with a single law the entire executive branch, except for the president and the VP, and to abolish all federal courts, except for the Supreme Court, which it could reduce to a single judge with minor jurisdiction (area of control).

 Over the years the Courts have interpreted Congress’ powers in such sweeping terms that it can legislate in almost every aspect of American life.”

(What would be an example of these Implied powers?)

Lee Hamilton – Member of House of Representatives (1965 – 1999)

the power of congress
The Power$ of Congress

Which of the powers of Congress might be the most important?


Which powers of Congress are grouped under this category?

let s discuss the first power of the pur e
Let’s discuss the first “Power of the Pur$e”…
  • But first, let’s learn a bit of wisdom from a founding father…
the power of taxation
The Power of Taxation…
  • Congress has the sole power to levy (“set” or “apply”) many different national taxes…
    • Why would the Framers have given only Congress this power?
  • **Why does Congress tax the American people
    • What are revenues?
originally there was only one source of income for the national government
Originally, there was only one source of income for the national government
  • Tariffs:
    • What are tariffs?

…but this was not enough…

so what did the government do to fix this
So, what did the government do to fix this?

Passed the 16th amendment:

Created the income tax…

  • This has become a major source of income for the government…
pending power
$pending Power
  • When Congress allocates (spends, or gives) money to a program, agency or other part of the government, this funding is called…

**Where must all “appropriations” or “revenue” bills begin?

  • Why do you think this is the case?
the federa l budget

Where is all of this spending recorded so we can keep track of it?

The Federal Budget
  • This is an outline of how much the government will spend in a given year
the federal budget terms to know
The Federal Budget:Terms to Know
  • Budget Surplus
    • Occurs when government spends less in a single year than it brings in
  • Budget Deficit
    • Occurs when the government spends more in a single year than it brings in

**For example: In 2009, the US government took in about $2 trillion and spent about $3.4 trillion.

why would the government need to spend more than it brings in
Why would the government need to spend more than it brings in?

When this happens, Congress must use another “Power of the Pur$e”…

**Which power of Congress enables it to spend more than it has?

the power to borrow money
The Power to Borrow Money

But when Congress does this, it contributes to the…

National Debt

  • The total accumulated amount that government owes;
    • Occurs because more deficit years occur than surplus years.

The National Debt as of 12 Dec 2007 was:

The US National Debt as of 4 Jan 2010 is:

  • The estimated population of the United States is 307,592,396so each citizen's share of this debt is $39,542.84.

The National Debt has continued to increase an average of$3.81 billion per day since September 28, 2007!


we hear a lot about the deficit debt stimulus packages and bailouts
We hear a lot about the “deficit”, “debt”,"stimulus packages" and "bailouts"...
  • A billion dollars....A hundred billion dollars...

One TRILLION dollars… What does that look like?

    • Let’s try to get a sense of what exactly a trillion dollars looks like.
  • We'll start with a $100 dollar bill, which is currently the largest U.S. denomination in general circulation.
10 000 in 100 bills
$10,000 in $100 bills
  • A packet of one hundred $100 bills is less than 1/2" thick and contains $10,000.
    • It fits in your pocket easily and is more than enough for week or two of shamefully decadent fun.
1 million in 100 bills
$1 million in $100 bills

You could stuff that into a grocery bag and walk around with it.

Believe it or not, this next little pile is $1 million dollars (100 packets of $10,000).

100 million in 100 bills
$100 Million in $100 bills

While a measly $1 million looked a little unimpressive, $100 million is a little more respectable. It fits neatly on a standard pallet...

and 1 billion dollars
And $1 BILLION dollars...

Now we're really getting somewhere...

next we ll look at one trillion dollars
Next we'll look at ONE TRILLION dollars.
  • This is that number we've been hearing about so much.
  • What is a trillion dollars?
    • Well, it's a million millions. It's a thousand billion. It's a one followed by 12 zeros.

You ready for this? It's pretty surprising.

I give you $1 trillion dollars…

cary isn t it
$cary, isn’t it?
  • Should be…especially given that Congress and the President authorized nearly $1 trillion in extra “stimulus” spending just in 2009
  • What is the consequence of all this “deficit spending”?
    • How might we start to reduce our yearly deficit, and our national debt?