Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Don't Chain Congress


(fm the BC thread "It's For the Children")

Storm-Rider,
Your suggestions, which I have seen offered before, simply will not work.

1. The Declaration of Independence is a statement of moral law, not a Constitutional guide. If you enter it as a special litmus test then you are admitting the concept of positive rights, and once the ones you like are in play then the same method can be used to discover someone's other than yours. The DoI is already there for those who care about original intent. Being repetitive, like reissuing the Xth Amendment, does nothing. Unless you intend to have yourself set up above the people we have hired to ensure that basic principles are not violated the problem will always remain.

2. A 10% limit on taxation may be to much at some times and not enough during others. If the government had no authority to issue debt and was held to the arbitrarily low level you suggest then we could not have fought WW-II. Schemes have been proposed to demand super majorities to exceed a certain limit or go into debt. They never so far have been workable. What will stop the Congress from funding the waste first and then demanding extra revenues for the basics that you desire? If a Super majority is demanded then you are empowering any destructive minority to block critical action unless bribed. For years a Democratic minority obstructed Bush and set the nation up for the crisis that propelled Obama into office.

3. If the only revenues the government can collect are from the Income Tax then you are denying the right to use tariffs and excises as an instrument of policy. While I am generally supportive of free trade and do not want to return to the age when the government was almost completely funded by import duties, they remain a valuable tool of diplomacy.

There are arguments to be made on both sides regarding term limits.

The possibility of an over ride of a Supreme Court verdict is worth exploring. My suggestion was for using the Electoral College rather then the Court for the final judicial review process. That would make them available for Congress to use for an appeal from the Court. Congress already has the right, rarely used, to establish Rules for the Judiciary and also has the right of Impeachment. That A.C. Hastings, an impeached judge, is sitting in Congress is something that should have been prevented. The theoretical power of the Court is largely a myth that relies more on inertia than on the text of the Constitution.

Our government is designed for a free and honest people. You cannot design a system that will both protect your liberties and control the venality of the majority if they are not themselves predisposed towards moral conduct. The answer, even though I have proposed Amendments myself, lies not in reworking the Constitution to return to the less effective system of the Articles of Confederation or some similar structural constraint. The only answer is in persistent local efforts to regain control of the machinery of government and restore the integrity of the educational system. Without functioning schools we will not have a citizenry that can support a free country under any constitutional structure.

On the repeal of the XVIIth Amendment I concur.

wretchard,
Jesse Jackson avoided the problem of finding a better public school for his children. He sent them to the nearby, he lived at 47th and Lake Park, University of Chicago Laboratory School on 59th Street.

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