Archive for Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lawless expansion of government’s role

March 24, 2009


— With the braying of 328 yahoos — members of the House of Representatives who voted for retroactive and punitive use of the tax code to confiscate legal earnings of a small unpopular group — still reverberating, the Obama administration Monday invited private-sector investors to become business partners with the capricious and increasingly anti-constitutional government. This latest plan to unfreeze the financial system came almost half a year after Congress shoveled $700 billion into the Troubled Asset Relief Program, $325 billion of which has been spent without purchasing any toxic assets.

TARP funds have, however, semi-purchased, among many other things, two automobile companies (and, last week, some of their parts suppliers), which must amaze Sweden. That unlikely tutor of America regarding capitalist common sense has said, through a Cabinet minister, that the ailing Saab automobile company is on its own: “The Swedish state is not prepared to own car factories.”

Another embarrassing auditor of American misgovernment is China, whose premier has rightly noted the unsustainable trajectory of America’s high-consumption, low-savings economy. He has also decorously but clearly expressed sensible fears that his country’s $1 trillion-plus of dollar-denominated assets might be devalued by America choosing, as banana republics have done, to use inflation for partial repudiation of improvidently incurred debts.

From Mexico, America is receiving needed instruction about fundamental rights and the rule of law. A leading Democrat trying to abolish the right of workers to secret ballots in unionization elections is California’s Rep. George Miller who, with 15 other Democrats, in 2001 admonished Mexico: “The secret ballot is absolutely necessary in order to ensure that workers are not intimidated into voting for a union they might not otherwise choose.” Last year, Mexico’s highest court unanimously affirmed for Mexicans the right that Democrats want to strip from Americans.

Congress, with the approval of a president who has waxed censorious about his predecessor’s imperious unilateralism in dealing with other nations, has shredded the North American Free Trade Agreement. Congress used the omnibus spending bill to abolish a program that was created as part of a protracted U.S. stall regarding compliance with its obligation to allow Mexican long-haul trucks on U.S roads.

The program, testing the safety of Mexican trucking, became an embarrassment because it found Mexican trucking at least as safe as U.S. trucking. Mexico has resorted to protectionism — tariffs on many U.S. goods — in retaliation for Democrats’ protection of the Teamsters union.

NAFTA, like all treaties, is the “supreme law of the land.” So says the Constitution. It is, however, a cobweb constraint on a Congress that, ignoring the document’s unambiguous stipulations that the House shall be composed of members chosen “by the people of the several states,” is voting to pretend that the District of Columbia is a state. Hence, it supposedly can have a Democratic member of the House and, down the descending road, two Democratic senators.

Congress rationalizes this anti-constitutional willfulness by citing the Constitution’s language that each house shall be the judge of the “qualifications” of its members and Congress can “exercise exclusive legislation” over the District. What, then, prevents Congress from giving House and Senate seats to Yellowstone National Park, over which Congress exercises exclusive legislation? Only Congress’ capacity for embarrassment. So, not much.

The Federal Reserve, by long practice rather than law, has been insulated from politics in performing its fundamental function of preserving the currency as a store of value — preventing inflation. Now, however, by undertaking hitherto uncontemplated functions, it has become an appendage of the executive branch. The coming costs, in political manipulation of the money supply, of this forfeiture of independence could be steep.

Jefferson warned that “great innovations should not be forced on slender majorities.” But Democrats, who trace their party’s pedigree to Jefferson, are contemplating using “reconciliation” — a legislative maneuver abused by both parties to severely truncate debate and limit the minority’s right to resist — to impose vast and controversial changes on the 17 percent of the economy that is health care.

When the Congressional Budget Office announced that the president’s budget underestimates by $2.3 trillion the likely deficits over the next decade, his budget director, Peter Orszag, said: All long-range budget forecasts are notoriously unreliable — so rely on ours.

This is but a partial list of recent lawlessness, situational constitutionalism and institutional derangement. Such political malfeasance is pertinent to the financial meltdown as the administration, desperately seeking confidence, tries to stabilize the economy by vastly enlarging government’s role in it.

— George Will is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.


John Kyle 9 years, 3 months ago

"...and increasingly anti-constitutional government. "

Gee, where were you eight years ago George?

imastinker 9 years, 3 months ago

I'm so tired of hearing "where were you eight years ago!"

The federal expansion that we saw under Bush wasn't right either, but that makes this no less wrong!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 3 months ago

" A leading Democrat trying to abolish the right of workers to secret ballots in unionization "

It does no such thing. All it does is allow workers to organize openly if they so choose. The current law allows the companies to dictate the manner in which employees unionize themselves.

imastinker 9 years, 3 months ago

Beo - it's not Obama's job to "fix" it. That's what our problem with Obama is - he's trying to fix something that shouldn't be fixed to push his agenda.

Flap Doodle 9 years, 3 months ago

One tick in the "wrong" column for bozo.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 3 months ago

"The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) (H.R. 1409, S. 560) is pending legislation in the United States. Its text states that it would "amend the National Labor Relations Act to establish an easier system to enable employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to provide for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts, and for other purposes."[1] The latest version was introduced into both chambers of the U.S. Congress on 10 March 2009.[2]

In order for a workplace to organize under current U.S. labor law, the card check process begins when an employee requests blank cards from an existing union, and requests signatures on the cards from his colleagues.[3] Once 30% of the work force has signed the cards, the employer may decide to hold a secret ballot election on the question of unionization.[3] In practice, the results of the card check are not presented to the employer until 50 or 60% of employees have signed the cards to help ensure winning the election.[3] If the majority of votes favor the union, the National Labor Relations Board will certify it as the exclusive representative of the employees for the purpose of collective bargaining. If enacted, EFCA would require the NLRB to certify the union as the bargaining representative without directing an election if a majority of the bargaining unit employees signed cards;[1] however, employees may still request a secret ballot election if 30% of employees petition for one.[3] The EFCA would, according to Christopher Beam, "allow the employees—rather than the employer—to decide whether to hold a secret-ballot election."[3]"

So quite clearly, the law does exactly as I said. It doesn't eliminate secret ballot elections. It merely makes that the choice of the workers, not the companies. But I can understand why companies don't like losing that significant control they have over workers' organizing themselves.

BrianR 9 years, 3 months ago

"...transforming America into an intensely government centered, government controlled behemoth, usurping the constitution and stripping mainstreet of as much freedom and power as possible."


right thinker, you've completely abandoned including any semblance of truth or honesty in your posts. Why am I not surprised?

Flap Doodle 9 years, 3 months ago

"There is a bloody spin war over whether card check abolishes the secret ballot or not. Pro-card-check forces insist that it doesn't. Unfortunately, these voices include many mainstream reporters who consistently use the language preferred by Big Labor. They note that if 30% of the workers sign a card asking for an election, they can have one.

But this ignores the unions' crimp tactics. For starters, the cards are written in ways that make "predatory lending" mortgages seem like paragons of full disclosure.

At the National Right to Work website, you can find an example of one of these cards. In big, bold letters on top, it says "Request for Employees Representation Election." But after you fill out all the relevant info, then there's the small print, authorizing the Teamsters to "represent me in all negotiations of wages, hours and working conditions."

In other words, in many cases, workers who think they're just voting for an election are in fact voting for unionization. The unions make it as difficult as possible to do the former without also doing the latter. Check a card, find the king's shilling.

Also, if the number of cards is over 30% but below 50%, there still isn't an election unless the organizers -- not the workers -- want it.

As Mickey Kaus, a one-man blogging crusader against card check, wrote, "No individual worker will know if his signed card will provide the 31% plurality or the 51% majority. Only the organizers know this. You could sign the card intending to provoke an election and discover that you actually prevented an election. There's no way for ordinary workers to reliably game the system in order to 'choose' a secret ballot."",1,5225787.column

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 3 months ago

So opponents should offer an amendment cleaning up the language on the cards-- that'd be the honest way to deal with this complaint. But, of course, what employers really want is to block union organizing, not protect "democratic elections."

Richard Heckler 9 years, 3 months ago

Lets focus on cleaning up campaign commercials,campaign funding and how our candidates are selected. Special interest money is root of political evil.

The media has become a large part of the special interest takeover of our process as if they know what is best for all of us. Voters support this takeover by voting for those candidates who spend the most money and the question is why?

Campaigns go too long,spend way too much money and do not necessarily provide the best available. It is up to us to stop the nonsense at the voting booths.

Replace 95% of all elected officials every 4 years for the house and every 6 years for the Senate.

Not voting sends the wrong message and changes nothing.

Lets’s demand a new system and vote in Fair Vote America : Demand a change on the next ballot.

The big money candidates are more beholden than ever to corporate special interests due to the very long nature of campaigns. How do they have time to do the job they were elected to do?

We need public financing of campaigns. Citizens cannot afford special interest money campaigns for it is the citizens that get left out. Let citizens vote on this issue.

Who would be against Public Funding? The special interest money providers and their bought and paid for politicians!

Demand all presidential candidates participate in debates NOT only those selected by the media and two parties.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 3 months ago

Since 1980 and 20 years of that period the neoconservative facist republicans had complete control of the USA government. During that 20 years a Geo. H.W. Bush or a Geo W. Bush has been in or very very close to the White House. Jeb Bush and cousin George Walker were employed with Lehman Brothers when Lehman Bros went broke. Members of the Bush family seem to in high office when USA financial institutions fall apart with tax dollars being there for the bail out each time.

There are several ways in which the Bush family plays into the Savings and Loan scandal, which involves not only many members of the Bush family but also many other politicians that are still in office and still part of the Bush Jr. administration today. Jeb Bush, George Bush Sr., and his son Neil Bush have all been implicated in the Savings and Loan Scandal, which cost American tax payers over $1.4 TRILLION dollars (note that this is about one quarter of our national debt).

Between 1981 and 1989, when George Bush finally announced that there was a Savings and Loan Crisis to the world, the Reagan/Bush administration worked to cover up Savings and Loan problems by reducing the number and depth of examinations required of S&Ls as well as attacking political opponents who were sounding early alarms about the S&L industry. Industry insiders were aware of significant S&L problems as early 1986 that they felt would require a bailout. This information was kept from the media until after Bush had won the 1988 elections.


Flap Doodle 9 years, 3 months ago

Wow, we haven't seen those links in a least a week, thanks, merrill.

georgeofwesternkansas 9 years, 3 months ago

"The Obama administration is considering asking Congress to give the Treasury secretary unprecedented powers to initiate the seizure of non-bank financial companies, such as large insurers, investment firms and hedge funds, whose collapse would damage the broader economy, according to an administration document."

Richard Heckler 9 years, 3 months ago

Republicans do not want the economy back on track =obstructionists= no jobs

What happens if americans are employed and with health insurance for all? Republicans will not seize control again for a very long time and should not!

Sarah Palin is being brought out to represent the republican party smear and distortion campaign at repub fundraisers.

Proving once again they are obstructionists and do not want americans back to work. They fear what might be discovered if this financial fiasco is investigated and fear nationalization of their campaign money sources. With 30 years of big time criminal history its' time the democrats and citizens without jobs to tell the repub party to take a hike.

Republicans do not want the economy back on track so they continue the daily character assassination campaigns to persuade america into believing that GW Bush never was president and did not screw up the economy and did not lie to the public about Iraq and did not lie to the public about social security and does not live in Texas.

madameX 9 years, 3 months ago

Liberty's right. If you can't be bothered to read the fine print on something before you sign it then that's on you.

KansasVoter 9 years, 3 months ago

Mr_Nancy_Boy_To_You (Tom Shewmon) says… "Democrats like Dick Morris"

LOL.....What?!? Dick Morris is not and never has been a Democrat. When you spout easily refuted lies like that, there's absolutely no reason for anyone to believe anything else that you say.

Flap Doodle 9 years, 3 months ago

Show of hands, who wants a union organizer to show up at your home, present you with a card and then stand there to see how you vote?

MyName 9 years, 3 months ago

Ugh, this must be the place where the TL;DR posters go to die. But seriously, where was George Will even 4 years ago?

Obama Administration: "I think we should have the US government actually do something to fix this instead of sitting on hands while Wall Street burns to the ground"

George Will: "Nooo!!! We're going to be taken over by Communists!"

Four Year earlier...

Bush Administration: "I think we should secretly spy on Americans and should be able to torture anyone we feel like while keeping them in prison indefinitely without being charge."

George Will: "And if you disagree with this, you're Un-American!"

MyName 9 years, 3 months ago

Show of hands, who wants a union organizer to show up at your home, present you with a card and then stand there to see how you vote?

Umm... that would assume that people don't want the higher pay, better benefits, and protections from being fired for no reason that Unions typically offer. But maybe the correct answer would be "the employer".

BigAl 9 years, 3 months ago

The fact is that Obama inherited a terrible mess from Bush/Cheney. That is a fact. Ever since Obama has been in office, right wingers, talk-radio and FOX News have hammered him. That is NOT helping solve anything. Yesterday we have a very good day in the stock market and Bill O'Reilly opens his show by hammering on Obama for several minutes and then he backs it up with Newt Gingrich. Fair and balanced my arse…… The corrupt right wing news media continues to tear this country apart to promote their own agenda. If President Obama is successful then media outlets like FOX News and talk radio will look bad. These people have become despicable.

jayhawklawrence 9 years, 3 months ago

I would bet money that George Will did not write this. I give George credit for more brain power than this.

Where do you start with this stupidity?

The best thing to do is to give it to a High School English class and ask them to hack away with facts and common sense, things that are oftentimes missing from the national political discourse we see on the boob tube.

JHOK32 9 years, 3 months ago

Hey Merrill, I kinda like the way you think!. I think the mountains of elephant manure left behind by the Repubs will be stinking for decades & will ensure that no other Bush will ever get elected again, except maybe to chair the crawford ranch ladies flower club for the next century and a half! I'm not sure what tore our country apart worst, Bush or Katrina. They both left thousands of good people dead, ruined our economy (unless of course your rich & you can clean up foreclosed homes across the country for 50 cents on the dollar) - the rich get richer & the poor can go to where the sun don't shine, no job, no house, no healthcare, no food, - Who do you think's going to come out richer than ever after this is all over? You got it friends, we've just been suckered silly. We may be dumb but were not stupid!

beawolf 9 years, 3 months ago

"Do you want to ban door-to-door salesmen, Jehovah's Witnesses and girl scouts as well?"....


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