Diary

The Constitution.... What?

When questioned by Congresswoman Michele Bachmann in a March 24th hearing about what provision in the Constitution gave authority for the actions of the Treasury, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s response is worth a few thousand words.  Not only did he not have an answer (there isn’t one), he seemed confused that such a question would be asked.  As if the Constitution was somehow irrelevant, just an ancient document that draws tourists to Washington DC.

The Obama administration would like to think it irrelevant, and obviously doesn’t hold it in high regard.  Obama said as much in his 2001 public radio interview in Chicago.

..reflects a fundamental flaw that continues to this day.

Obama supporters say this is a reference to slavery.  Have they forgotten the slaves were freed, and civil rights laws were passed, and the basis for these were the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence?  What is it that continues to this day?

Perhaps it is his complaint that the Warren Court

…didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution

in order to bring about “redistribution of wealth.  Even Obama seems to concede that the Constitution doesn’t allow spreading the wealth, yet plunges full speed ahead to do it anyway.

Even the most cursory reading of the Founders reveals that the Constitution was to give limited powers to the federal government.

James Madison, justly called “father of the Constitution,” stated,

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.         [Federalist Papers #45]

and Thomas Jefferson,  February 15, 1791;

I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground that ‘all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people.’ To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, not longer susceptible of any definition.

and Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 32, January 3, 1788;

But as the plan of the convention aims only at a partial union or consolidation, the State governments would clearly retain all the rights of sovereignty which they before had, and which were not, by that act, EXCLUSIVELY delegated to the United States.

It seems that the intent of the Founders was that powers of the federal government are only what is specifically defined in the Constitution.

That is how they wrote the Constitution.  The preamble of the Constitution lists the reasons for its being: to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty.  The powers of the President are specifically defined in Article II, Section 2 and the powers of the Congress in Article I, Section 8, which concludes with,

To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States…

This clearly limits the power of the Congress to what is defined in the Constitution.  If that were not enough, Amendment 10 states,

The Powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution , nor prohibited to it by the States , are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

If Constitutional “scholars” dispute this, they are saying what is says is not what it says, turning the English language inside out.

There is no provision in the Constitution allowing redistribution of wealth.  If fact, such an action would violate the stated reason for the Constitution, i.e. to promote the general welfare.  Harming one individual to benefit another does not promote the general welfare since it punishes some.

The Founders clearly did not want redistribution of wealth:

[A] wise and frugal government… shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.
Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

Benjamin Franklin, commenting on the new Constitution, said,

Once the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the Republic.

Nor did they care for deficit spending:

The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Taylor, May 28, 1816

The President and the leadership of the Congress obviously have no respect for the Constitution.  Secretary Geithner’s reply to Congresswoman Bachmann seems to indicate if Congress says it is OK, that is enough.  That reminds me of the Bob Dylan song where he tells someone to rob a bank and “tell ‘em I said it’s alright.”  Reid and Pelosi, and a lot of others, think it’s all right as long as they say so.

History, for those in power today, doesn’t exist!  The Constitutional Convention, the American Revolution, the debates of the Founders have no lessons for them.  They behave as if the Soviet Union is a raging success.  They never heard of the many historical examples of socialism or communism failing under excess taxation, corruption, and tyranny.  They don’t see how life is (or was) in the nations that adopted their way, like Cuba and East Germany.  For them, the tanks never rolled into Poland, or Hungary, or Tianamin Square.  They overlook the outcome of the champions of “fairness” who carried it to its logical conclusion, like Pol Pot and Stalin.  They never learned the lessons of Jamestown.  A President who fancies himself to be a Constitutional scholar seems to have learned nothing about it, or worse, knows but says “to hell with it.”