2-5-11 Hodgepodge

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Williams on Constitutional Limits

Pursuant to a new rule regarding legislation brought before the House, Walter Williams takes a look (HT: HBL) at what our Constitution actually permits:

Here's the House of Representatives new rule: "A bill or joint resolution may not be introduced unless the sponsor has submitted for printing in the Congressional Record a statement citing as specifically as practicable the power or powers granted to Congress in the Constitution to enact the bill or joint resolution." Unless a congressional bill or resolution meets this requirement, it cannot be introduced.

If the House of Representatives had the courage to follow through on this rule, their ability to spend and confer legislative favors would be virtually eliminated. Also, if the rule were to be applied to existing law, they'd wind up repealing at least two-thirds to three-quarters of congressional spending.
Much of the rest of his column includes quotations from past politicians on this very point. For example, Thomas Jefferson once said the following: "Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated."

Weekend Reading

"[R]ather than predict how markets should act, it's preferable to maintain an open mind and observe how they're acting in the here and now." -- Jonathan Hoenig in "Gold Isn't Playing Its Part", at SmartMoney

"And a leading cause of this problem [that production costs of certain drugs outstrip profitability --ed] is the federal government, specifically in the form of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)." -- Paul Hsieh in "America's Other Drug Problem", at Pajamas Media

"Rather than buying a book or taking a seminar on how to convince yourself to feel better, people can best help themselves by improving their thinking." -- Michael Hurd in "When Self-Help Doesn't Help", at DrHurd.com

"To the extent honest, productive businessmen absorb this view of their profession [as immoral --ed] -- and most do, to some extent -- they experience unearned guilt over their work, and are unable to morally challenge the ever-increasing taxes and regulations foisted on them for the 'public good.'" -- Alex Epstein in "Forget Groundhog Day -- Why Businessmen Should Say Happy Birthday to Ayn Rand", at Fox News

My Two Cents

Michael Hurd's column presents an excellent example -- finding a romantic partner -- of how improving one's thinking can help one become better, and feel better, regardless of ultimate success in some particular goal. Notice that the reflective, integrated, and value-oriented approach he advocates will lead to both all-around self-improvement and greater enjoyment of life regardless of success at any particular goal. This approach both puts such problems into perspective and makes one far more likely to solve them.

Glick on Egypt

Caroline Glick hits the nail on the head (HT: Amit Ghate) regarding the "revolution" in Egypt:
The problem with this recommendation [to back the ouster of the Mubarak regime --ed] is that it is based entirely on the nature of Mubarak's regime. If the regime was the biggest problem, then certainly removing US support for it would make sense. However, the character of the protesters is not liberal.

Indeed, their character is a bigger problem than the character of the regime they seek to overthrow.

According to a Pew opinion survey of Egyptians from June 2010, 59 percent said they back Islamists. Only 27% said they back modernizers. Half of Egyptians support Hamas. Thirty percent support Hizbullah and 20% support al Qaida. Moreover, 95% of them would welcome Islamic influence over their politics. When this preference is translated into actual government policy, it is clear that the Islam they support is the al Qaida Salafist version.
I also completely agree that the Obama Administration is choosing the worst way of playing a terrible hand in this situation.

-- CAV


Anonymous said...

Regarding Obama's support for the protesters against the regime...

This sounds like the leftist secular analog to Jimmy Carter's support for the ayataollah Khomeini because he was a religious and spiritual man whereas the Shah was not.

c. andrew

Gus Van Horn said...

This reminds me of your comment about a week ago.

I'd have to say that Obama IS having his Jimmy Carter Moment, or at least one of them.

Paul Hsieh, MD said...

Thanks for linking to my FDA piece!

Gus Van Horn said...

You're welcome.

Nic said...

I have been reading your blog for about 5 years and love it. I put a link for your blog on Reddit, in the Objectivism sub-reddit. I hope you don't mind, if you do let me know and I will take it down.

Gus Van Horn said...

Thanks for following my blog all this time and for the extra publicity!