Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What are they teaching these days?

Recently I was reading -- and posting my own comments  on -- a financial blog. The subject was federal spending. The discussion started out as where we spend our tax revenues, and whether there should be more for this, or less for that, until someone came in and started discussing the constitutionality of federal income taxes and spending. In other words, income taxes and many safety net programs are unconstitutional (disregarding there is an Amendment regarding income taxes.)

Everything was pretty much what you'd -- or at least I expected until one fellow posted some remarks that just threw me. Fall off your chair type comments. I'll take it one by one. My conclusions may not be the same as yours, but I must have learned the founding principles of this country differently than this fellow did.
What the original writers of the constitution meant is irrelevant since they are not around to defend their arguments.
What a start! And how illogical, but I'll bet a lot of people believe that our founder's principles are irrelevant. Until you actually read them, I guess. So what Jefferson, Washington, Madison, et al, meant is irrelevant because they are dead. Wow. Then logically what follows this argument is that what Lincoln, King or Kennedy argued is also relevant. "I have a dream" is irrelevant. Or how about Plato and Locke? Is what my father and mother taught me irrelevant, because they are dead? I don't think so.
For instance the 2nd amendment is used to defend any use of guns. Perhaps the writers of the constitution would say “No, that’s crazy. We meant having guns to defend against the British. They aren’t intended to be used in the way you are using them now.”
Not true. It doesn't defend the use of guns, only the right to bear them. I believe it was Jefferson who stated that the right to bear arms was especially important for a people to defend against any tyranny, not just the British. But hey, don't bother reading any of that...
Similarily they might say that the 1st amendment was not supposed to mean big business should have the right to trump the rights of the citizen with billions of dollars to finance candidates. We don’t know. Supreme Court justices make decisions based on the constitution? That’s B.S. Their decisions should be based on what is best for our country and its citizens.
Well, since our laws treat corporations as individuals, the Supreme Court, in following the Constitution, was correct. Doesn't mean it's right. What needs to happen is the laws dealing with corporations and campaign financing need to change, not the Constitution. But this writer wants the Court to just rule based on the Zeitgeist of the moment! If we allow the Court to rule what it thinks is best, who is to say that it is? Aren't the people supposed to decide?
If our constitution is so great, why hasn’t every other country in the world adopted our constitution? Our country ignores the poor, has a terrible trackrecord with minorities, still discriminates people based on sexual preference, has the least efficient health care system in the world, ships our jobs out to other countries at the expense of its citizens, and just contributed to a global market crash by our greed. I feel the constitution has failed to create a fair and equal society, and there are many people out there that would agree with me. I feel that the constitution is far more often used to defend positions that couldn’t be supported with other evidence.
So why hasn't every country used our constitution? Ask them. Our country has ignored the poor? In the last 40 years, we've spend trillions. I guess I could point out all the improvements we've made, and compare our accomplishments to say -- the old Soviet Union, communist China, Saudi Arabia, etc, but why bother. "The Constitution has failed to create a fair and equal society." That's not it's purpose. It's purpose is to protect your rights, not insure fairness or equality. You want equal opportunity to succeed, not equality of outcome. In the latter case,  how can anyone succeed beyond a basic level?

I won't even start on health care, but his understanding of efficiency vs. expense is fuzzy wuzzy...

The purpose of our Constitution is to limit government. In the last 100 years, the Constitution has been shredded. Government is now so powerful that you can't get it out of your life. The Federal Register (all the rules you have to follow) is now 157,000 pages in length.

Is this what is being taught in our schools today? Not only the lack of knowledge, but fuzzy logic? I sincerely hope not.


Fam Guy said...

Won't even think about responding to the goofball you are quoting, BUT, one thing you wrote stands out. The gov't treating 'corporations as individuals'. What? Where did that come from? THere is a HUGE difference. What are you saying?

Steve said...

From Cornell University Law School:

The law treats a corporation as a legal "person" that has standing to sue and be sued, distinct from its stockholders. The legal independence of a corporation prevents shareholders from being personally liable for corporate debts. It also allows stockholders to sue the corporation through a derivative suit and makes ownership in the company (shares) easily transferable. The legal "person" status of corporations gives the business perpetual life; deaths of officials or stockholders do not alter the corporation's structure.

Corporations are taxable entities that fall under a different scheme from individuals. Although corporations have a "double tax" problem -- both corporate profits and shareholder dividends are taxed -- corporate profits are taxed at a lower rate than the rates for individuals.