Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Adversary
Mike Rappaport

Here.  At least, that is how I felt reading the piece.  It is clear, in any event, that Feldman regards an original meaning approach (of the sort I favor) as his adversary.  But it is well worth reading to see what the fight is about.

Let's be clear about Feldman's piece.  It is statism, through and through.  The government is here is to help us.  And it is all about false alternatives:

For constitutional conservatives, the most worrisome feature of the Troubled Asset Relief Program was the possibility that government funds would come with strings attached, leading to government control of financial institutions akin to the control the government now has over General Motors. They were concerned that government control in the private sector would compromise the independence of the business community, weakening its capacity to stand against government — a danger that exists in socialist systems. For constitutional progressives, the fear associated with the TARP funds should be almost exactly the opposite: that the bailout reflected and enhanced a system in which the government serves the markets, not the taxpayers. Under today’s economic conditions, the risk of corporations being subordinated to government interests seems faint indeed. The danger of the government’s operating to serve the interests of the corporations in which it has acquired a stake seems remarkably serious. Constitutional decisions made against this backdrop — whether by courts or by other government actors — should recognize that the government may take the steps necessary to achieve the best economic outcomes without being tender about the property rights of market actors who have taken on (and hedged) risk in the hope of high return.

Feldman can't seem to get his mind around the possibility that one can be against both the government controlling businesses and businesses controlling the government.  And he does not seem to realize that the risk of businesses controlling government is much greater in his world of big government regulation -- remember the NIRA?  

Bad, very bad.  This is what we have to look forward to -- if the "progressives" are not swept from office.  Sadly, I fear that even if they take a strong political hit, we will still be stuck with a lot of this type of thinking.

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Mike Rappaport


Awfully progressive, fascism was.

Posted by: dearieme | Jul 7, 2010 1:55:04 AM

You're exactly right that even if we sweep from office many of the liberals and their blue-dog lapdogs in the competitive districts, this sort of thinking will still be influential. It's that ratchet that only goes in one direction - to the left. When they have the majority, they spend like crazy and dole the money to their constituents. Then we acquiesce to raising taxes because of fears that the newly-risen deficit will harm the economy. Somehow the situation rarely reverses course.

Posted by: Larry | Jul 7, 2010 7:39:50 AM

The ratchet effect is much more virulent than just fear of deficits. Every dollar expropriated is going somewhere. Someone is being bought. Fiscal recission is much more than "reducing government spending" in the abstract: it entails cutting off someone's water. When I say that my school district really does not need so many adjunct teacher coaches assigned to its sub-district clusters, I am saying that some people need to be told of their new vocation in lawn care. Try selling that one.

Posted by: Lou Gots | Jul 8, 2010 3:43:40 AM