Considering the national debt, is it a good idea for Congress to have the power to both raise and spend money.
I agree with the above post. Who else should be able to do it? And in the end, we shouldn't blame Congress for overspending, as we in the public are the ones who have elected each and every Congress that has run a budget deficit. Usually we re-elect them, so we haven't been very good at holding them accountable, or being willing to pony up our fair share of taxes (say, for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, funded completely by borrowing) to keep the budget balanced.
While it is certainly true that Congress does not do a good job of "living within its means," there is no other democratic way to handle the raising and spending of money. Therefore, I think that having Congress do both is a good idea.
Someone has to tax and someone has to spend. These are both things that are absolutely necessary in order to maintain our country and our government. This being the case, we have to ask who we would like to have controlling taxes and spending.
I can see two choices, both bad. First, we could have the president control one or the other (taxes or spending). This would be less democratic because the president is less accountable to the people than Congress (he is elected by the whole country as opposed to by the people of one state or district). Second, we could have states decide how much money they will send to Congress. That was tried under the Articles of Confederation and by the Confederate States. It didn't work because no state really wanted to give money to the federal government.
Congress is the most democratic branch of our government. It has to be the one to handle taxing and spending. If we want it to do less of both, it is our responsiblity to tell it what we want.