Tuesday, May 15, 2012

America's Constitution

Yesterday's weekly column by Clark S. Judge, at Hugh Hewitt's blog, is a sobering look at where our nation's constitution is headed. Here it is in its entirety:

The Constitutional Convention and The 2012 Election by Clark S. Judge: managing director, White House Writers Group, Inc.; chairman, Pacific Research Institute

Today is Monday, May 14. In 1787, also on Monday, May 14th, in Philadelphia, the Constitutional Convention held its opening session.

Now, two hundred and twenty five years later, we are engaged in a great presidential campaign that, at its most essential level, is about the future of the governmental system the delegates to that convention wrought. For in the last four years we have seen challenges to the long accepted meaning of many of the features and guarantees of the Philadelphia constitution.

In no particular order, here are examples:

The manner of recent presidential appointments including to the National Labor Relations Board challenged widely shared understandings about the constitutionally mandated advice and consent role of the Senate.

The expansive and aggressive use of regulation – for example, EPA’s moves to reclassify CO2 as a pollutant because of its supposed impact on climate after Congress had repeatedly rejected similar proposals – has challenged the line between legislative and executive powers.

By overriding bondholders, this administration’s federal auto bailout arguably challenged long understood constitutional limits to taking property without due process and upset the constitutionally mandated uniform rules of bankruptcy.

By requiring Catholic and other religiously affiliated institutions to provide health coverage that violated basic denominational beliefs, federal Obamacare challenged the widely understood standards of religious liberty.

In this year’s state of the union address, the president suggested that during a second term he would compel states to accept his spending priorities as their own, anticipating a challenge to the constitutional concept of federalism, as long understood.

As former White House counsel Boyden Gray has pointed out, the framing of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill that the administration championed so vigorously challenges fundamental constitutional rules regarding judicial review.

As Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy suggested in the recent high court hearings on the administration’s signature health care legislation, the central feature of Obamacare challenges the long-established relationship between the government and the citizen, in other words, basic constitutional understandings of liberty.

Reading the record of the Philadelphia deliberations, you can’t help but be struck at how seriously the Framers took the purposes detailed in the Constitution’s preamble: “form a more perfect union… establish justice… insure domestic tranquility… provide for the common defense… promote the general welfare… secure the blessings of liberty.” These terms come up repeatedly in their debates as failures of government under the Articles of Confederation and as the goals for their project.

Would they have said that the Fast and Furious program is an example of establishing justice?

Would they have agreed that radically downsizing the Navy provides for the common defense?

Is a reelection campaign designed to stoke animosity between economic and social groups consistent with insuring domestic tranquility?

Most of all, perhaps, when our senior military officer names the national debt our biggest national security challenge… when bond rating agencies downgrade the country’s credit standing… when major federal trust funds are careening toward bankruptcy… when general fund deficits and debt are projected permanently to top levels previously seen only in the single most expensive year of World War II, thanks to spending beyond levels we have ever seen, at least in peacetime… is utterly refusing to address any element of this spending crisis an example of providing for the common defense, promoting the general welfare or securing the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity?

These are not just my questions. In calls around the country over the last few weeks, I have repeatedly heard anxiety expressed about the future of America’s fundamental institutions: the open economy, the family, religious liberty, as well as the Constitution.

Yes, anemic economic growth and the lack of job creation are major worries, too. Many ask, how could the administration have spent so much money for, we were told, stimulating the economy and got so little for it?

Granting all that, still I wonder, is it too much to say that this election is shaping up into a new Constitutional Convention, in which we the people will decide the character of our country for generations to come?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Governor Holds Citizens Hostage

The AP reported Saturday that California's deficit is unexpectedly larger than the state government anticipated.

California's budget deficit has swelled to a projected $16 billion — much larger than had been predicted just months ago — and will force severe cuts to schools and public safety if voters fail to approve tax increases in November, Gov. Jerry Brown said Saturday.

The Democratic governor said the shortfall grew from $9.2 billion in January in part because tax collections have not come in as high as expected and the economy isn't growing as fast as hoped for. The deficit has also risen because lawsuits and federal requirements have blocked billions of dollars in state cuts.

Naturally, when there's a deficit, elected officials' first inclination is to threaten the children of the state and the public safety. They say, "Give us more of your money in the form of increased taxes, or people will die."

Their first thought is never in the area of cutting out the deadwood from the mindless bureaucracies that flood the state with surliness in DMV and unemployment offices. They never think of cutting the legislature's staff by, say, one clerk per State Assemblyman or State Senator. Maybe it's more accurate to simply say they never think.

It hasn't occurred to our government that the reason for much of the shortfall is that people and businesses are leaving the state because the taxes are already too high. Enough businesses have already either left or folded that people can't find work. Without work, those people have no taxes to pay. And the businesses that aren't here anymore aren't paying taxes either.

In my Bible study group of about 18 - 20 people, two have already left the state. One went to Tennessee and the other to Texas because they weren't able find enough work here to keep a roof over their heads. A third is returning home to Wisconsin this month after finishing cooking school. She hasn't been able to find a job as the pastry chef she was trained to be (and she's good!), and Wal-Mart doesn't pay enough to keep her here.

That's three people whose tax money won't be available to make up California's deficit, and if the state raises tax rates, even more people will be taking their money elsewhere.

But Governor Moonbeam and the Democrat-controlled legislature haven't got a clue. Lord, help those of us who have to stay!

Happy Mothers Day!

This is for all the mothers, ESPECIALLY for mine. Have a wonderful Mothers Day!

Unfortunately, some on the political left are tarnishing the meaning of the day with their disgusting request that people support women's right to destroy their children in the womb.

But I'm not going to leave you with that thought. On a much happier note, today is Bella Santorum's birthday. Here is what her older sister, Elizabeth, wrote about the occasion. It's beautiful:

Happy Birthday, Bella.