Monday, July 26, 2010

Oppression by the Army

Alexander Hamilton asked in Federalist 26:

It has been said that the provision which limits the appropriation of money for the support of an army to the period of two years would be unavailing, because the Executive, when once possessed of a force large enough to awe the people into submission, would find resources in that very force sufficient to enable him to dispense with supplies from the acts of the legislature. But the question again recurs, upon what pretense could he be put in possession of a force of that magnitude in time of peace?

Although he couldn't have conceived of it at the time, because he couldn't have conceived of the utter erosion of the Constitution and its sharply-defined limits on Federal power, Mr. Hamilton missed the point. The army that the Executive is using to "awe the people into submission" is not the military army, but the army of bureaucrats and regulators that has been mustered by the Executive Branch over the past several decades, an army which has grown massively, by leaps and bounds, in the past 18 months. Thus, the Executive, aided and abetted by a compliant Congress, seeks to and is achieving its submission of the populace.

Even when they could not foresee the future, the Founding Fathers' wisdom and prescience was formidable.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Democrats Simply Cannot Govern

Can we all agree, whatever the merits or not of this health care bill, the Democrats simply cannot govern? I mean, the Republicans screwed up pretty bad from 2000-2006, but the Democrats since then have utterly failed. They had a filibuster-proof majority for a year and couldn't pass their President's signature legislative goal. They can get the mandate and the power but are so corrupt, unrestrained, and let's face it, stupid, that they can't try for something that is not so overreaching that the majority of the country doesn't recoil in disgust.

How many incremental reforms could they have enacted by now, so that we could have already seen whether or not they would help and then decide, based on empirical evidence, rather blind trust in empty platitudes, whether or not to let them continue? There's this old idea that you should be able to demonstrate in at least some way you can actually do the job you're trying to be hired for.

I mean, let's say your car was working pretty consistently, but was only getting half the gas mileage it was supposed to. Would you trust a novice mechanic who says, "Sure, I can fix your problem, but I'll have to completely rebuild the engine, replace the transmission and put on monster truck tires and fuzzy dice... and you have to start paying me now but you won't get your vehicle back until 2013?"

Of course not, but a good chunk of the country will seemingly accept an equivalently absurd claim about health care reform. Instead, of small but meaningful changes, we have a President over a year into his term who still has an empty resume, and members of Congress who could be chastised by Heidi Fleiss for giving her profession a bad name.

There's a reason Congress' approval rating has stayed pretty consistently under twenty percent for the last two years,and pretty consistently under thirty-five percent for the last five years. Too bad it doesn't seem to matter.