Don’t Read This If You Want To Stay Happy

George Will is not a reactionary. He is not known for fireworks. When you think of sober, you think George Will.

So when the man writes something like this, we have the distinct onset of the willies:

Regarding procedure, consider a sentence in a Fiscal Times story in The Washington Post on the task force idea, a sentence that seems bland only because of this city’s advanced state of constitutional decadence: “The White House has been talking to Congress to try to craft a proposal that would not wholly relinquish congressional control over major decisions on taxes and spending.” Wholly? The oath of office for representatives and senators does not commit them to partially or occasionally or when convenient “support and defend,” and bear “true faith and allegiance” to, the Constitution and “faithfully discharge the duties” of their offices…

Year one of the Obama administration was devoted to deliberately exacerbating the fiscal crisis. The gusher of spending, combined with the new multi-trillion-dollar health care entitlement, is half of liberalism’s plan to radically and permanently increase government’s grasp on the nation’s wealth. As a response to the crisis, the task force would produce the other half.

It doesn’t matter which party you support, we do not need the executive branch in charge of the purse. The mental test is as follows: the policy is fine with you if it’s Obama’s thumb on the newly created Congressional “task force”, but would it also be copacetic if, say, Reagan or Nixon had the same powers?

Vote accordingly.

22 Comments

  1. Alas, but the problem runs far deeper, my friend:

    Under legislation drafted by Sens. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and Judd Gregg, R-N.H., and endorsed by 33 other senators, the Bipartisan Task Force for Responsible Fiscal Action would be composed of 16 members of Congress (four each selected by the House speaker and minority leader, and the Senate majority and minority leaders) plus the Treasury secretary and someone the president selects. The panel would propose spending cuts and tax increases to put the government on a glide path to solvency. The menu of proposals would be guaranteed an up-or-down vote — no amendments permitted — in both houses of Congress.

    This, in my opinion, is worse. This means that everyone in the gov’t is complicit, including Congressional Republicans.

  2. “Year one of the Obama administration was devoted to deliberately exacerbating the fiscal crisis”
    Welcome to the party Mr. Will, we have been waiting for you.

    Of possible interest to the readers of this site.
    .
    Mark Steyn has an article in the Jan. 25 issue of National Review – titled Welcome to Rome. It is a masterfully composed clarion call to America. It is heartbreaking to know that so few will be exposed to this particular message. It is not yet available online, but likely will be in a few days.

  3. You’re making it even scarier.

    I’m sorry, was it my day to be reassuring?

    I’ll say, though, that I frankly don’t think he can do it. Even if Brown loses Tuesday — which I predict he won’t — there are going to be a lot of people with D after their names having tar-and-feathers nightmares.

  4. After looking at some other comment pages I can see that I’m probably out of my league.

    I think I’ll just stick to reading posts.

    My husband and I did get a laugh out of the comment page going silent for a while. I felt a little like I had walked into a super bowl party or poker night for guys. And ruined the fun. Ha!

  5. Does this have anything to do with Obama saying, “We want our money back!” and the report that “he” is going to impose an X% tax apparently on anyone he wants to, naturally excluding Freddie and Fanny, GM and Chrysler execs? Or is that a result of power given to the Treasury Sec. by TARP, or is it just the usual Commie bs?

    Regardless, this kind of stuff just “isn’t going to happen!”, not in my country.

    The panel would propose spending cuts and tax increases to put the government on a glide path to solvency

    They think we’re as delusional as they are.

  6. Are Mr. Will and Ari talking about the same thing? What Ari is refering to seems to be modeled after the Base Closure task force, which has worked pretty well for a number of years.

    As far as constitutional issues goes, congress is still voting on it (just up and down, with no amendments), so I don’t see what the big deal is. The involvement of the Treasury Secretary? Ha! As if the White House and Cabinet haven’t historically been involved in crafting legislation.

    As far as what’s in it for Republicans, well they’d get equal representation on the Task Force, which is a far sight better than what they get in either Chamber or the committees now. But given their prospects in the 2010 mid-terms, they may change their mind.

    Will seems to be talking about something different, where the White House would be given direct control over the purse. If Will has misrepresented this, shame on him.

  7. Its time for the States to call a constitutional convention, and rein in Congress and the Executive roles. Several amendments come to mind, among them giving Alback the State legislatures control over appointing the members of the Senate. Also, prohibit Congress from passing any laws which require funding by the States. A number of other options could be added.

  8. Mike B. I agree, there seem to be two different things going on here, or Will’s interpretation of the idea is overstated, or the nice calm sounding explanation is deceptive.

    As to BRAC working, well, maybe not so much. This started out as an idea to save some money and a way for the US military infrastructure to become better aligned with the mission of the armed srevices but soon became the political equivalent of, I frankly don’t know what to equate it to. A lot of study went into the effort and a preliminary list of base closures and realignments was issued. But every base on the closure list was found to lie within the district of one representative and two senators who simply couldn’t see how the nation could survive it’s closure. Kind of a reverse NIMBY effect. So political weight was thrown about, back room negotiations took place where the original reason for BRAC never occured to any of the participants, local protest was organized and eventually every rep and senator (in the majority party) got a political trophy to take back to the district for show and tell. The list was heavily amended and many bases proposed for closure were instead moved to a list of bases to be retasked with, lets say, less than critical-to-security tasks. Not exactly a shining success. IMHO.

  9. jerry –

    I can live with splitting the difference between my “works pretty well” and your “not exactly a shining success”.

    But I think overall, the base closure process has worked better than, say, the process that opened the bases in the first place, which was pretty much full-on pork. It’s certainly not perfect, but I think it is substantially better than if they tried to close bases using normal congressional processes. THAT would probably result in MORE bases, not fewer. 🙂

  10. WilliMc,

    Constitutional Convention??? What for??

    We already have the best one on earth. The problem is that we keep electing people who IGNORE IT!!!!!

    The real solution to that is for the states to pull out. Unfortunately we saw what happened the last time that happened when a President took unconstitutional power with the quiesence of the Congress and attacked states that pulled out for very good reasons!!

    Then again, which states have elected officials who would actually do it your way OR my way??

  11. Khun Kat,

    I don’t disagree with your comments regarding the constitution, and the need for its strict enforcement. The greatest fear many of the founders had, was from a democracy. They gave us a republic, where the individual States were sovereign, a majority of whom maintained veto power over the House. But the State’s governing bodies are not represented any more, it is the popular vote within each State which sends both Representatives and Senators to Congress. It was a mistake, for our governing body will cater to the whelms of the massed voters. Lets go back to the original provision and let the Legislatures appoint Senators.

    We need to clarify the provisions in Article XIV regarding just who is a citizen.

    Article XVI, should be repealed. An income tax is very harmful to business growth–not necessarily from extracting cash to operate the government, but its future uncertainty. Congress continues to change the net effect by altering deductions and rates of taxable income. A small business owner cannot predict what his or her cost will be from year to year. Why would anyone in their right minds expand or start a new business is beyond me. The tax cuts imposed some time ago are due to expire this year.

    Congress has created monster bills, running in the thousands of pages each. The Senate has a rule requiring that a bill must be read three times before they vote on it. They will not read it once. No one knows what is in these bills, except the staff who put them together. Included are sweetheart deals for various congressional districts and States. The President should be allowed to veto provisions.

    Congress should not be permitted to use time in office as a criteria to appointment to committees.

    Congress should not be able to exempt itself from laws it passes, nor create special retirement laws. If it votes itself a raise, the ones who are present should not be included.

    Under Article V of Confederation a congressman could only serve for three out of six years, but were appointed by the Assemblies. A similar law could be passed.

    We need to protect the States from the Federal Government, but just how, is not clear.

    WilliMc

  12. KhunKat and WilliMc,

    The AmericaAgain! project is, I think, the blade on your gordian knot. Log on to

    www(dot) myamericaagain (dot) org

    to review the three-fold enforcement mechanism. We are working diligently to build a critical mass of members, which will be required to forge this new way of American life: self-government from home, on our terms and timetable, and 100% in support/defence/ENFORCEMENT of the Supreme Law.

    Beth,

    That’s an interesting piece by Mark Steyn. I’ve normally enjoyed his appearances sitting in for Rush Limbaugh.

    But Steyn commits the logical fallacy called ‘begging the question’ (petitio principii). One seeks to make a point or win a debate using petitio principii by just making one’s desired conclusion into one of the debate premises. The debater simply assumes something (s)he wants as the conclusion. Of course then then there exists no debate, only commentary. It’s *cheating*, of course.

    In law, they call this “Applying presumptive conclusions on the basis of facts not in evidence.” Mark Steyn is begging the question in his long Jeremiad by comparing America to an elderly patient committing suicide; compares our Republic to the manifold empires and countless government forms of European and Asian monarchies, city-states, and other various governmental forms. Non seqitur.

    The Constitution for the united States of America is a *unique* form of law limiting the contral government for a large and disparate population. In all of human history it will uniquely, by design, yield a fruitful Republic, inured to the timeless evils of human governments.

    But ONLY to the extent that it’s enforced, obviously; this was Ben Franklin’s point in saying they had given us “A Republic…if you can keep it”. That is Madison’s “Principles of ’98” brought into multi-pronged tactical reality in the AmericaAgain! mechanism.

    myamericaagain (dot) org

    The wonder to me is not that America presently goes the way of all flesh, but that it has taken so long to crumble with the Supreme Law NEVER having been enforced by the States. It’s amazing how long we’ve coasted ahead on fumes and no Rule of Law at all.

    Yet to suggest (as Mr. Steyn does) that America has no operative RULE of Law because the People have slept for 150 years, is NOT to say that there exists no LAW. Steyn seemingly suggests that all is lost; that we must proceed down the same road as Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, et al.

    I don’t give a frog’s quivering thigh that all previous empires have fallen; first, because We The People never bargained for empire at the hands of the military-industrial cabal, and secondly because the Constitution is still the Supreme Law, and still as unique on earth as ever. To say that it’s never been enforced is not to say that we can’t begin tomorrow, to do what we failed to do yesterday.

    This isn’t haughtiness; some things are better than others. Our Constitution is *sui generis* in all of human history. We have no cause for pride; we didn’t write it. We have only cause for concern, for humility, for deep commitment to restore what was given to us of inestimable value, at such great price. We will not see its like on the earth, if this Constitution is sundered. Thus, it’s our duty — all of us citizens — to not let that happen.

    We are speaking about the Supreme Law governing our federal creature. It’s illustrative, that Steyn doesn’t mention any other level of government; only the lowest creature of the People and the States…only our federal government.

    Secondly, it’s axiomatic that no one is above the law in America, thus our creature is not above the law. This is not a matter for popular opinion; in a court of law, one single person standing on bedrock, can beat ten million people ‘voting’ for moonshine and frogfeathers.
    The perpetrator of a crime, no matter how popular that perp may be, is still bound for his prison cell, soon or late.

    Either we believe that, or AmericaAgain! is worse than a chimera; it’s a cruel farce.

    It’s equally fallacious, I think, to take the position (as many, many pundits do today) that because Nancy Pelosi can sneer down her nose at those who pay her salary, as though her mere laugh can dispel their every concern (the rubes!)…that really and truly, there is no longer a Constitution. No; the Supreme Law exists, and it can put that feckless witch in prison as surely as it can do with your average household thief. Her sentence will be a good deal longer, and cheered by a good many more victims, is all.

    Having used a logical fallacy as his starting point, there’s no reason to think that Mark Steyn’s conclusion is valid (i.e., that America must now go the way of all failed empires).

    Sed petitio principii, conclusio non sequitur. Steyn didn’t win a debate or make a valid point; he made a lachrymous monologue. (Is that what I’m doing here, too? Judge for yourself.)

    Let us grant the federal government and its pupetter, the military-industrial complex, have indeed behaved as a bloody empire for a century.

    Let us grant as well that all other forms of government have failed to maintain ‘world empire’ arrangements for more than a few centuries (i.e. England) or even less.

    Must America go the way of those empires?

    Counter argument:

    America’s purpose, constitutionally, is exactly OPPOSITE that of world empire, by law. Our Constitution is designed to severely limit the federal government’s ability to even dream of such adventures. [If, of course, the People do our duty as sovereigns and free citizens.]

    Thus to finish with Mark Steyn’s thesis…We The People needn’t be robots or lemmings for all time…to now commit suicide as a Constitutional Republic. To paraphrase the logical conclusion of the axiom, a people who DOES learn the lessons of history is NOT doomed to repeat them, right?

    AmericaAgain! is, we believe, an unprecedented effort to end politics in America, and begin the long-abdicated project of citizen self-government. We believe it is the most carefully-reasoned, historically benign, tactically efficient perennial mechanism being offered in the public square.

    We also believe that becoming a member of AmericaAgain! and engaging the domestic enemy on solid legal ground on 535 fronts for the rest of history, beats by a mile just smiling stupidly, all the way to the bottom of the chasm.

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