Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Germans on czars and a very interesting lesson on how the German government would treat a bill as big as HEALTHCARE OVERHAUL

From our friend Klaus Lewin who wrote the terrific piece on having survived the Berlin Blockade of the Russians.
"For me, the U.S. system is difficult to understand. That a government can delegate tasks whose execution has been entrusted by the voters in such a way as to have people (czars) acting outside of congress, particularly people with such flagrantly odd backgrounds as having started communist organizations or have other clouds over their heads (like Van Jones, Browner, Carrion), is outrageous. That means that the system there (independent of the government) overlooks, out of hand, the checks and balances it should have.

PHOENIX TV has reported today (heard on a German cable station) that the approval rating for Obama has gone down to 57%. Hopefully, that will continue to fall. He must cash more and more uncovered checks, and slowly even the biggest idiots will notice something."

This information from Mr. Z and Klaus Lewin might interest you: How Germany would handle such a huge overhaul of any part of their country's laws......

A lesson in democracy relative to passing laws in the Parliament (Congress) described for the case of Germany: (It might be worth noting that the U.S. had major influence on the German Constitution, aka BGB, which lays down the rules for parliamentary actions).

The “Bundestag” (or lower house) has a President (who normally comes from the largest party) and several Vice-Presidents. They agree about the agenda of the parliament, and about schedules for drafts of laws etc. Every party (or member) has the right to present draft laws. Obviously, the governing coalition has normally enough votes to get a law through the parliament or to refuse others – but that is done in a democratic procedure which intimately involves both houses, the “Bundestag” and the “Bundesrat” (which consists primarily of members of the States – so the States have substantial influence on the laws of the land). Here is the procedure:

After a draft of a law has been generated, it must be transmitted for a first review to the Bundesrat. The Bundesrat has several WEEKS time for the review. That means that States even if they are governed by the party which is in the opposition in the lower house, receive knowledge and influence on the laws BEFORE the draft law is brought to the parliament. The Steering Committee of the parliament (President and the Vice-Presidents) then agree on a schedule for the “Lesungen” (discussions) in the parliament. There are always several dates in order to allow changes to be made. Each member of the parliament receives a copy sufficiently before the readings in the parliament.

After having passed in the parliament, the law goes again to the Bundesrat. There are always both houses involved in the process.

A process as it is practiced in the U.S. (example: Stimulus Bill) would be illegal in Germany and would immediately be referred to the Constitutional Court, and/or there would be blocked in the Bundestag and/or the Bundesrat.

Laws in Germany are concentrated on the subject (no ancillary subjects (PORK)), and are generally very brief. One of the most voluminous ones (revision of the social system in Germany with very far reaching consequences, implemented by the Schröder government in 2003, called HARTZ IV) was 47 pages. That law would in its complexity be comparable to what Obama tries to do with the Health Care more than 1000 pages.

Our friend Klaus’ additional comment to Mr. Z: “The practice as described by you [how laws are run through U.S. congress] has very little to do with a normal parliamentary legislative, i.e. democracy. I cannot comprehend that something like that is possible in America which is here considered as the “beacon of democracy”.

Is he bashing America? Is Mr. Z? Heck no...they love America. They just don't get what's happening, how fast things are trying to be moved, how people aren't even reading the bills, etc. etc.

z (thanks, guys)


Always On Watch said...

The Bundesrat has several WEEKS time for the review.

One reason for all the checks and balances designed by our Founders was to make the process slower and thereby provide time for due diligence.

BHO and this Congress are doing an end run around our Constitution.

BHO is about to come on the air to tell Congress to speed up the process. I say, "Hell, no!" Give Congress time to hear from the constitutents.

Excellent post! And it's not America bashing. America today has drifted far afield from the founding principles.

Z said...

"HEAR?" I'd be glad if they're "READ IT!"!

Thanks, Always!! WELL SAID

FrogBurger said...


I keep saying to my wife that one of the good things about France's political system is the Constitution Court or Council that checks every single law against the Constitution. The US needs this big time.

Also, you cannot package something in a law if it does not pertain to the law. So you cannot negotiate and trade between parties. They either agree on the law or they don't.

I think the US need to learn from that to protect its democracy. Especially at a time where the fed gov becomes too big and abuses its power.

Always On Watch said...

Oh, this is rich! Excerpt:

As the prospects for passing health reform by the time Congress leaves for its August recess look bleaker, Democratic grumbling about President Obama is growing louder. One Democratic senator tells CNN congressional Democrats are “baffled,” and another senior Democratic source tells CNN members of the president’s own party are still “frustrated” that they’re not getting more specific direction from him on health care....

Z said...

Thanks, Frogburger, makes very good sense to me. This is SO UNAMERICAN and it just STINKS.

Always..don't TEASE Me.

Since the inauguration, I've been saying "It'll take Democrats to finally stop Obama's plans because the media and our schools have completely demeaned all the good from Conservative values and slam and insult anything any Republican says........SO, it's only DEMS the public will listen to"...and the DEMS ARE WAKING UP!

Hello, HELEN THOMAS ("you're not transparent, you're the least transparent WH ever!") Hello, Robert Byrd ("TOO MANY CZARS, what's WITH YOU!?") and Mike Ross and others on healthcare...
You GO, Dems...I never thought I'd be rooting for you so much.

shoprat said...

One of the strengths of the Confederate Constitution was the requirement that nothing not directed to the title of the bill could be in a proposed law.

Anonymous said...

I don't get it either, Mr. & Mrs. Z. We are living history, but this is what happens when American voters have no more idea about the candidates, as they do about the consequences of high credit card debt.

Warren said...

Excellent Post!

I agree with AOW word for word.

Professional politicians are the bane of the American political system.

Sue said...

Wow, it is hard to believe that we have fallen below Germany on the democracy scale...


Ron Paul in 2012. Wishful thinking. I am fearful we are too far gone to ever pull ourselves out. But I am NOT giving up!

Law and Order Teacher said...

Imagine that a legislature would use due diligence to contemplate the making of laws. Whoda thunk it? Is this really America we're seeing here.

If Obama is so quick to compare himself to FDR he's making a good run at it. It took the Supreme Court to put the brakes on FDR's alphabet soup legislation.

Incidentally, the congress was so far in the tank for FDR, he signed legislation within eight hours of taking office. Obama would love that!

What was FDR's reaction to the Supreme Court declaring several pieces of his legislative agenda unconstitutional? He attempted to pack the Supreme Court by adding six more handpicked justices.

The congress kind of thought that was a bridge too far. Is this congress finding this health care debacle (47 pages, over 1,000 pages, wow) a bridge too far?

Maybe. I guess the Germans have to show us how government should work. Beacon of democracy, indeed.

Z said...

Shoprat, who was the president who declared "NO PORK?" (ya, right)!

Mustang, the teachers unions and sleeping parents have raised Americans without a CLUE.

Warren, isn't it awful? Germany, by the way, also has plumbers and electricians, etc., in their parliament. I believe NON lawyers and NON pro politicians are the answer for America, too..if we could just find 500 young Americans who knew who Geo Washington is (other than the fact that they were sure to have learned that he OWNED A SLAVE! if you get my drift)

Sue, TRUST me, Mr. Z isn't pleased about Germany surpassing America, either.

L&0...thanks for that; Germans are UPSET that we're not the 'beacon of democracy'..HOW THE HECK DID THAT HAPPEN SO QUICKLY? They are SO on to Obama..remember our media telling us THEY LOVE OBAMA IN EUROPE? MAn, THOSE DAYS ARE SOOO OVER. they didn't last more than 3 weeks, anyway, tell you the truth; Germans were saying "What, he comes here to CAMPAIGN? Can WE campaign next election at the Statue of Liberty?" Ya, we didn't hear that in the American media. THE LIARS.

beamish said...

Any legislation that doesn't fit on a single 3 x 5 inch notecard likely exceeds Constitutional authority and should be rejected on general principle.

christian soldier said...

The ed system was systematically taken down piece by piece --the young have no knowledge of the true history of this country -and don't get me started on the lack of the basics...
Great post--thank you...

JINGOIST said...

Thank you Mr. Z and Mr. Lewin for a very interesting thoughtpiece. I heard Dick Morris describe our system as more of a "parliamentary" system in that bad poll ratings are taken as votes of NO CONFIDENCE, which also explains some Dems apparently backing away from Obamacare.

DaBlade said...

Great piece! Ah, but if only Germany had someone with the powers of Obama... Debate would not be needed (or tolerated)

RaDena said...

It's a great post, Z. No, it's not America bashing. It's the truth!
Obama was on tv last night and he didn't say anything new. Just the same-old-same-old bs he also says and I doubt it did him any good. He didn't explain anything about his so-called health care bill!

Anonymous said...

There was a time when the US government didn't feel the need to redistribute the wealth and pick society's winners and losers, either... but those days are LONG GONE. Today's Americans DEMAND it.

Anonymous said...

Our health care system is considered "broken" because not every American has health care insurance.

Broken???? Since when is THAT a reason to consider that the system is "broken"???

MK said...

Sounds like you folks definitely need a bit of the way things are in Germany.

I must say in my experience out here i've never heard of legislation passed that's so big and that no one has actually read.

Having said this, it's not like we don't have any stupid legislation or something, we also have our fair share of destructive fools.

Ducky's here said...

Hopefully, that will continue to fall. He must cash more and more uncovered checks, and slowly even the biggest idiots will notice something."


"Reagan taught us that deficits don't matter".

Uncle Dick Cheney.

Here's how this one is going down. Everyone's worried about inflation. There is plenty of manufacturing capacity, that isn't an issue. Commodity prices SEEM to be under control. So all they have to do is keep unemployment high and hold down wages and the right wing peeps will call for more tax cuts that should ensure wages stay depressed to avoid inflation from the deficit.

You folks will cut your own throats. Thorough analysis isn't your strong suit.

FrogBurger said...

I'm glad Ducky's back. I was missing his idiocy.

Reagan had to fix a bad economy and decided to take the deficit by cutting super high taxes and a big gov. So the deficit was the only way to go.

Obama is creating a 12% GDP deficit with big gov and unproductive spendings. That's the problem

You should read more about how the economy works b/c clearly you're ignoramus.

Ducky's here said...

Froggy, you forgot Reagan's huge increase in the Social Security tax. Naughty, naughty.

Still, unemployment will be kept high and wages low to deal with inflation.

Cut taxes, increase the deficit even further. I am quite confident the right wing will try that. You don't really think much.

Z said...

has America done better financially under Reps or Dems, guys?

I have my own opinion.......

I'm getting so sick and tired of the "YOU did that and WE inherited it.." "Ya, but we fixed it, then YOU ruined it.."

Things go in cycles...Anybody with a brain knows high taxes don't work. Anybody with a brain knows socialism has never worked. what?

Always On Watch said...

I do think that some kind of "healthcare reform" will pass this Congress as some kind of legacy for The Admiral of Chappaquiddick, but I have my doubts that it will be the comprehensive type that BHO wants.

We'll see in a few months, I guess.

Z said...

Always, I think so, too...but not a complete overhaul, not taking our private insurance away.


The_Editrix said...

"Wow, it is hard to believe that we have fallen below Germany on the democracy scale..."

I don't think you have. Germans have, different from Americans, little sense for freedom, civil liberties, self-reliance, common sense, responsibility for one's own actions and certainly none for "small government". Therefore "democracy" had to be forced on them by law and therefore the Grundgesetz, the constitution, was made so watertight by its "fathers". Maybe you Americans ought to fall back on the traditional values that made your country great.

Thanks for the interesting perspectives on Germany.

Z said...

Editrix, who wrote that? Nobody here..
Germans do have freedoms and civil liberties! I'm quite sure your paragraph is largely incorrect......They sure did use our constitution as a template, however, admittedly and gratefully so.
If so many Germans don't have a 'sense of freedom', why have so many (and I MEAN MANY, AS YOU KNOW) populated our great country and continue to come, LEGALLY? (or did until the illegals started changing our country so disgracefully)

I'm glad you're here...weigh in again, I'd like your opinion.

Z said...

EDITRIX, I just saw your site for the first time, including the profile are a German! Yikes...I didn't know.
And you do translation...what a coincidence :-)
(You are Catholic so you must live in S. Germany, eh?)
Well, I am an American with a German husband (originally from N. Germany but University at Munich) and we write how we see things...I'm eager to hear your take now, too! thanks for coming by.

Anonymous said...

This is what happens when you get that perfect storm of a majority in both houses,too.

This is why Obama demands they ram this thing through.

But the stuff Dick Morris is saying about lowering poll numbers and vote of no confidence is relevant.

The Won's numbers are now below 50%.

How's that for change you can believe in?


Z said...


I came SO CLOSE to asking a jerk in an Obama Tshirt today at the store "so, how's that change workin' for you?"