Friday, March 20, 2009


Powerline, on the real "shreeding of the constitution".

I'm stupefied to find that some people are defending the constitutionality of Nancy Pelosi's discriminatory, confiscatory and retroactive tax on people who receive bonus income from companies that got TARP money. I would have considered it a bright line rule that the government can't identify a class of unpopular people and impose a special tax on them. What's next? A 100% income tax on registered Republicans, retroactive to last year? If Pelosi's bill passes muster, why not?

One theory, presumably, is that since the government is contributing TARP money it can put whatever strings it wants on that money. (Including, I guess, strings imposed after the fact that would deprive employees of agreed-upon consideration for work they've already performed.) But that theory has been rejected in a variety of contexts. The government cannot condition its spending on a relinquishment of constitutional rights. Here's a thought experiment: how about putting a condition (retroactively, of course) on TARP money that says no employee of any bank that receives such money (or his spouse) can get an abortion? Would Nancy Pelosi think that's constitutional?

And remember the Democrats are doing this to deflect anger at the consequences of the bill they passed. This is their way to latch onto a small facet of failure and try to appear "popular."

The comic XKCD has a bit on scale and context.

Obama said he would change the nature of Washington, and boy did he deliver.

He just didn't tell us which direction the change would go.

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