Steve Benen rightly displays contempt for the White House’s attempt to lay the deficit that it created on the doorstep of the new Democratic Congress. But if it really wants to go there, I can offer a scenario mooted in the wake of Watergate by the greatest of all constitutional scholars, Charles Black. Black observed:
My classes think I am trying to be funny when I say that, by simple majorities, Congress could at the start of any fiscal biennium, reduce the president’s staff to one secretary for answering social correspondence, and that, by two-thirds majorities, Congress could put the White House up at auction. But I am not trying to be funny; these things are literally true….
Charles L. Black, The Working Balance of the American Political Departments, 1 Hastings Const. L.Q. 13, 15-16 (1974)
Perhaps a good way to start answering the President’s newly-discovered passion for fiscal austerity might be some well-placed hits to the Executive Office of the President. As for putting up the White House for auction, cynics might argue that the Dear Leader’s regulatory policies have already done that, but perhaps a medium-term lease, to end on January 20, 2009, might be in order.