Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2012, 1:41 pm

If presidents wants to run off the cliff, then let him

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By John Donald O'Shea

We are fast approaching the "fiscal cliff."

The president is playing hardball.

It is time for the House to play hardball, and to save the country. Here is the simple advice I would give Congressman Paul Ryan:

Dear Congressman Ryan:

Here is my plan to save the country by ending deficit spending.

1. Let President Obama "drive the bus" off the "fiscal cliff."
2. Then pass separate appropriation bills for only the things the House wants; e.g.:

a. A Social Security appropriation;
b. A Medicare appropriation;
c. A military appropriation;
d. An FBI appropriation.
e. Etc.

3. Make no appropriation for anything the House opposes. Agree to nothing else.

4. Force the president to accept or veto the things the country really needs.

The principle involved is simple. It can be found in the U.S. Constitution.

Article I, provides, "No money shall be drawn from the treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law." And before any bill (appropriation or otherwise) can become law, it must be passed by both the House and Senate. "

The principle, therefore, is that the president and the Senate cannot spend one penny, unless the House agrees to appropriate the money.

If the House decides to take control of the "purse" as it did in the early days of the republic, and as it did after the Civil War, all the president's grand schemes are checkmated. There may be adverse consequences. But the deficit problem won't be one of them. Nor will deficit spending.

And until we eliminate trillion dollar deficits, all other fixes are phony.
John Donald O'Shea of Moline is a retired circuit court judge.