Monday, January 18, 2010

A constitutional republic is, like, hard

Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution reads:

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

Unless, of course, they don’t really feel like it. Congress has borrowed the Obama administration’s ideas-that-suck generator and have come up with the notion to just farm-out their responsibilities in budgetary matters

The awful idea is for Congress to divest itself of the core competence that the Constitution vests in it -- the power to make the taxing and spending choices that shape the nation. This power would be given to an 18-member panel assigned to solve the budgetary crisis.

Under legislation drafted by Sens. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and Judd Gregg, R-N.H., and endorsed by 33 other senators, the Bipartisan Task Force for Responsible Fiscal Action would be composed of 16 members of Congress (four each selected by the House speaker and minority leader, and the Senate majority and minority leaders) plus the Treasury secretary and someone the president selects. The panel would propose spending cuts and tax increases to put the government on a glide path to solvency. The menu of proposals would be guaranteed an up-or-down vote -- no amendments permitted -- in both houses of Congress.

George Will suggests that an idea, especially a bad one, is bested only by monetary incentives, so he proposes the following amendment to the Gregg-Conrad legislation:
"During the life of this task force, which will perform Congress's fundamental duties, all senators and representatives will be considered on vacation and will not be paid. If the task force's recommendations are accepted by Congress, there will be no congressional pay until 2050."

Can we see a show of hands in favor?

KT has more on the subject here.


Gazitch said...

One can apply the G. Will suggestion to the Federal healthcare issue and just how much pork it takes to get some politicians to "buy in".

K T Cat said...

The whole idea is sickening. It's a perfect example of a culture that wants all pleasure and no work.

K T Cat said...

Oh and thanks for the link!

B-Daddy said...

Great subject. I think the outcome of such a plan would be "a compromise" in which the bloated spending under Obama would be "compromised" to slightly less bloated spending with a call for tax increases as part of the compromise. Reminds me of some other great compromises, like the Missouri compromise that settled nothing and led to the civil war.

There was also a Cheers episode in which Sam proposes this compromise to Rebecca Howe. "I want to have sex with you 14 times and you don't want to have sex with me at all, so let's compromise and have sex 7 times." I see the taxpayer playing the role of Rebeccah in this developing plot line.

OK, I know it's a family friendly blog, but this was on prime time TV.

Dean said...

Gazitch, correct. I thought this is why we had committees in the House and Senate.

B-Daddy, awesome analogy.