Wednesday, January 21, 2009

If You're Reasonably Sure That What You Want To Do Will Work, Then Damn The Constitution!

Can I get an amen?


Obama vs. James Madison

In his inaugural address yesterday, President Barack Obama reframed the basis for action undertaken by the federal government. No longer is it right to ask whether a program is appropriate for Washington to take on. The only question is whether the program is effective.

"The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works -- whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end."

He forgets, never knew, or doesn't care that effectiveness has never been the first measure of a federal action. It is an important secondary measure once the constitutionality or appropriateness of an action has been determined. But as James Madison asked in Federalist 41:

"Is the aggregate power of the general government greater than ought to have been vested in it? This is the first question." (Emphasis in original.)

When thinking of our federal government, the first question is and always has been whether that government has too much power -- that is, whether it is too big. Yesterday, Obama tossed that question aside in favor of building a government that "works." The Founding Fathers would be aghast. The people should be, too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

FDR had the same attitude until the Supreme Court struck down several of his programs..
then FDR tried to enlarge the Supreme Court so he could stack the court in his favor..