Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 14, 2011

GETTING TO THE HEART OF PARTISAN DIFFERENCES.... Sen. Mike Lee (R) of Utah, just a week on the job, was overshadowed a bit during the midterm season. His ideology was every bit as extreme as some of the year's more notable candidates -- Angle, O'Donnell, Buck, Miller, et al -- but he never quite garnered the same kind of attention.

Part of this is because his victory was a foregone conclusion after Lee won the GOP nomination, but part of it has to do with his skills. The freshman senator is a genuine radical by the standards of American politics, but he presents extremism in a genial way, and with the skill of a lawyer who, unlike some of his brethren, appears to have thought these issues through.

And after having thought these things through, Lee has concluded that the federal income tax should be scrapped; the 17th Amendment should be repealed; the 14th Amendment should be altered, and as Ian Millhiser noted this morning, child-labor laws approved by Congress are unconstitutional.

Here's an argument Lee presented in a lecture he posted online last week:

"Congress decided it wanted to prohibit [child labor], so it passed a law -- no more child labor. The Supreme Court heard a challenge to that and the Supreme Court decided a case in 1918 called Hammer v. Dagenhardt. In that case, the Supreme Court acknowledged something very interesting -- that, as reprehensible as child labor is, and as much as it ought to be abandoned -- that's something that has to be done by state legislators, not by Members of Congress. [...]

"This may sound harsh, but it was designed to be that way. It was designed to be a little bit harsh. Not because we like harshness for the sake of harshness, but because we like a clean division of power, so that everybody understands whose job it is to regulate what."

Now, as a factual matter, it's worth noting that the Supreme Court later overturned the Hammer ruling, noting that the Commerce Clause empowers the government to prevent child labor.

But stepping back, let's also note that it's not surprising in the least that Lee believes this. Contemporary right-wing activists, using a ridiculous "Tenther" worldview, believe most of the federal government's functions are necessarily unconstitutional. Everything from Social Security to student loans, the minimum wage to the Civil Rights Act, are all in conflict with the extremist, far-right vision of constitutional law -- a vision that's increasingly common in the Republican Party of the 21st century. With that in mind, of course Mike Lee considers child-labor laws illegal.

Also keep in mind how relevant this is when Americans talk about wanting to see Democrats and Republicans work together with a sense of common purpose. Paul Krugman explained today, "Commentators who pine for the days of civility and bipartisanship are, whether they realize it or not, pining for the days when the Republican Party accepted the legitimacy of the welfare state, and was even willing to contemplate expanding it."

Rhetorical excesses matter, as does the right's politics of paranoia, but to appreciate at a more fundamental level why the parties are so starkly at odds, one need only to remember that modern Republicans reject the legitimacy of much of the government. "When people talk about partisan differences, they often seem to be implying that these differences are petty, matters that could be resolved with a bit of good will," Krugman added. "But what we're talking about here is a fundamental disagreement about the proper role of government."

In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower (R) wrote a letter to his brother. "Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history," Ike said. The president acknowledged in the letter that there are some who advocate such nonsense, but added, "Their number is negligible and they are stupid."

Little did he know at the time what would become of his party.

Steve Benen 10:40 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (43)

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Comments

as we see with the right-wing efforts to overturn the affordable care act, what was once a fringe position - the the commerce clause doesn't mean jackshit - is now sop in the gop.

Posted by: howard on January 14, 2011 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

Ike was right on one count. They are still stupid.

Posted by: Mudge on January 14, 2011 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

They are truly radicals; and the sooner they are labeled as such(hello media), the better the chances of successfully tackling the problems in this country.

Posted by: Holmes on January 14, 2011 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, is that Eisenhower quote solid? That's amazing!

But let's keep in mind what's really going on. The Stupid Agenda may indeed be stupid and have no chance of actually being enacted, but it gets a lot of attention and diverts a huge amount of political will and energy from more material and important issues. That in turn leaves those material and important issues far more tractable to those who recognize their materiality and importance, who not coincidentally are the ones funding much of the Stupid Agenda.

I don't quite know how they're going to do it, but the adults in the Democratic Party -- the president most notably right now -- need to find some way to get the country's political focus back where it belongs, before the people funding the Stupids have completely taken over.

Posted by: bleh on January 14, 2011 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

One need only consider the Eisenhower presidency to realize how different the current entity known as the "Republican Party" is from Ike's party.

It's almost impossible to imagine today's GOP nominating someone like Ike for high office. (Although other Republicans of the time, such as a certain senator from Wisconsin, might still fit in.)

Posted by: K in VA on January 14, 2011 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

Remember, when people like Lee complain about the process -- the need for "clear" divisions of responsibilities -- they aren't complaining about the process. They don't like the results.

We'll see how Sen. Lee votes on whether the Congress can outlaw marijuana.

I had been unaware of how the lack of clear definitions of which part of government should do what was the cause of our woes. Here I thought the problem was the rich and powerful being greedy, enabled by useful idiots like...Sen. Lee.

Posted by: Jim Pharo on January 14, 2011 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

It appears the GOP will vote "the black guy" out as head of the Party Committee and install some guy named Reince Priebus...doesn't exactly roll off the tongue...sounds more like a character on "V".
We'll all miss Steele - he was as hilarious as he was ineffectual. I hope Jon Stewart will bring the Steele Puppet back from time to time, for old times sake.

Posted by: T2 on January 14, 2011 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

You are overstating the depth of principled beliefs on the right wing. Yes, political leaders like Sen. Lee sincerely want to cut back drastically on the federal government’s functions, but they can count on little support in their base for such drastic measures. Take their opposition to health care reform. The principled objection apparently is that public funds should not be spent to extend health insurance coverage to the currently uninsured. Yet most of the base that supports this objection enjoy the benefit of public funding of their own health insurance, either through Medicare or tax-free group coverage from their employers. There was no movement to eliminate these subsidies. On the contrary, among the strongest objections to the reform bill was that it took money out of Medicare and capped the tax benefits on some employee benefits. The position of most of the right-wing was: I got my deal with the government, and you are on your own. This is not a principled objection. It is greed.

Posted by: tfbush on January 14, 2011 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

I've been saying for years now that if we still had Republicans of Ike's caliber, I'd be a Republican. He was a right proper centrist really.

Posted by: jTh on January 14, 2011 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Rather than go through the lengthy process of repealing amendments they don't like, would it not be easier for these "Tenthers" to simply pick up, and go found a new nation more to their liking? One complete with slaves and child labor?

There are large parts of Siberia that are uninhabited. . .

Posted by: DAY on January 14, 2011 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

Two thoughts:

1. I wonder what Lee thinks of the Constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act? I'm not sure how one could oppose Federal authority to regulate child labor and at the same time support Federal authority to implement DOMA.

2. On some level, Lee is just showing off by citing historical decisions of the Supreme Court. But does he really want to go back to an era when one had to rely on 50 different states to regulate child labor? Wouldn't the same apply to food and product safety laws, workplace safety laws, etc.? Do we really want to have to rely on state enforcement of these sorts of regulations?

Looked at purely objectively, it's much more efficient and sensible to regulate at the Federal level. A patchwork of 50 different sets of regulations governing each part of commerce isn't good for business or for consumers. If we were to start from scratch, we would want to regulate business at the national level. This current push by Republicans like Lee to narrow down Federal jurisdiction is really driven by a view that the country as a whole is trending Democratic; Lee and his colleagues push for state dominance in these areas, not really out of any philisophical belief that we are better served by having state governments be responsible, but out of a belief that their own state governments (basically in the South and Southwest) will be more sympathetic to their political views. This is a strictly political, rather than a Constitutional or philisophical motivation.

Posted by: DRF on January 14, 2011 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

Here's my question. Why do Republicans bring up these arguments if they do not intend to act on them?

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on January 14, 2011 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

We wouldn't need child labor if the government hadn't overstepped its authority with the 13th amendment.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on January 14, 2011 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

Last night Jon Stewart tried hard to get Tim pawlenty to say what is different about Obama's spending versus bush's. Pawlenty would not /could not answer the question. But everyone on both sides knows why there is such an rageful response to Obama's spending : it's seen as spending on "those people ", people outside the dominant culture. The federal government is just fine with the right as long as the money's being funneled back to people who look and think like they do.

Posted by: DelCapslock on January 14, 2011 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

It’s not just that we’re divided. Sure we are. Always were. And so is every other country today, and throughout history.
It’s not that, it’s that one side finds outrage in any and every thing. And the only thing the conservatives are ‘for,’ is to gather together to be ‘against’ whatever anyone to the left of Attila the Hun would be for (and Attilla, btw, is wrongly maligned, but that’s a story for another day).
And then they have their media drum the meme’s. And then they drum, and they drum, and they drum. They have a drum kit Keith Moon would have died for. 24X7X365. With no relief.
There’s the Drudge internet drum.
The Radio Rushwanda talk radio drum.
The WSJ and WaPo Op-ed drum.
The FOX News TV drum.
The Wingnut Wefare publishing racket drum.
All financed by the Koch-sucker Brothers, Melon-assed Sciafe, Murder-och, and other rich turds who’d rather burn their money in front of Macy’s f*cking window, or give it to these media whores to pay for banging their drums, than see a single cent of their easily earned, inherited money go to actually help anyone other than themselves. They’ve probably outspent by far what they would ever have been taxed. Can you imagine the cost of keeping talentless hacks like Tucker, Rush, Glenn, Ann, Malkin, and the rest fueled, primed and pumped full of BS every day?
And all the while, they scream about how they don’t have anywhere near as many drums as the “Liberal Media” - which in reality has a couple of tambourine’s, and maybe half a broken bongo set for a percussion section.

Maybe we all need some relief. Maybe we all need to get away from the endless merry-go-round and the Wurlitzer of right wing Rage-nation. Where everything about a funeral is now contraversial: it’s called a political event; or how the crowd doesn’t mourn properly; or how there were political T-shirts given out; or how Obama thinks he’s a Messiah because shortly after he visited, there was a miraculous opening of the eyes; or that the President LIED about the Congresswoman opening her eyes.
And they drum, and they drum, and they drum.
And though you can deny every single point, and then, even when you can empirically prove every single assertion is false, they don’t then say, “Oops, we were wrong!” No, instead it’s, “Well, you can say whatever you want, and show me whatever you want, but I still BELIEVE that what I said is true!” (Not “think,” because that’s using your head for something besides a baseball cap; no, it’s “believe” - their guts). And they’re never called on it by the well paid media whores in the MSM, who make more money the stupider our national discourse gets, so their incentive to provide any truth, or put things into any sort of perspective is zip. Zero. ZILCH!

You know what might help?
You know how they started this campaign called “Meatless Monday’s” to get people off of animal flesh and fats and into healthier eating of grains, fruits, and vegetables for at least one day a week? Well, maybe we need to start something called “Media-less Monday’s” Where the public is encouraged to read a book of fiction or history (besides the non-fiction fiction and fictitious history the Wingnut Welfare publishers give away gratis to drum up their numbers of books ‘sold’). Or, listen to some music. Take up an instrument. Learn a new language; Hell, never mind a new one, learn proper f*cking English (should it be “f*cking proper,” or “proper f*cking,” English? Discuss on Monday). Play with your children, grandchildren, neices, nephew’s, and parents. Anything, but get away from anything that talks to you besides a fellow human being, or a parrot - and then, NO POLITIC’s.
One day out of seven may not seem like much. But it’s a start. And may lead people to turn away from the incessant drumming more often.
Meatless Monday’s for our hearts.
Media-less Monday’s for our brains. And our souls.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on January 14, 2011 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Dwight D. Eisenhower helped save the world from authoritarian fascism!

He would most probably recognize such elements in his GOP today, and I know he would have worked to eradicate such elements once again off the face of the planet, and at the same time out of our political culture!

So, the letter is authentic, and Ike was a truly noble Amerian who affiliated himself with the Republican party.

To bad today, many Republicans put their alliegence in the Republican party before they begin to think about being noble Americans! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on January 14, 2011 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

On most important issues of the day -- the wars, social security, health care, bank bailouts, etc -- a substantial majority of the American people support positions much more liberal than Washington. As Clinton said, "The American people usually get it right".

The problem is that minority opinions, particularly the conservative rump, are much louder and more influential now than they have been in the past. Yes, part of this is the way the media is organized today, but the primary problem is poor electoral turnout. When only 40% of the population votes, the larger dynamic is for each faction to work to enthuse and turnout its base, while defusing the opponents base, and you only need to engage 1/4 the population at most. Just imagine an America with 100% voter turnout -- parties would have to speak to the issues and opinions of the entire country, or suffer the irrelevance predicted by Eisenhower.

Election Day needs to be a national holiday, with uniform standards for same-day registration applied everywhere. Nothing could improve our national discourse more.

And given the $billions$ everyone's going to invest in the next Election Day, it only makes sense that we get our money's worth.

Posted by: ElegantFowl on January 14, 2011 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

Starting with Bill Clinton's election in '92, Republicans have made it clear that they simply will not accept the legitimacy of any election that goes against them. Clinton's Presidency, we were constantly told, was illegitimate because he didn't get a popular majority. (In a 3 way race, that's not an unusual outcome). When Bush didn't even get a popular plurality, on the other hand, we were told that he was chosen by God. In Obama's case, we have a President who won both a clear electoral and a clear popular victory, so they've been reduced to questioning his citizenship. Meanwhile, their rhetoric has constantly invoked the concept of violent revolution; they may claim it's strictly metaphorical, and the "combat" is supposed to take place at the polls, but when a protester shows up at a Presidential appearance packing a gun and carrying a sign about "watering the tree of liberty," that doesn't look like a metaphor to me.

This isn't the behavior of a party, it's the behavior of a putsch. What scares me is a kind of political Stockholm syndrome like the one that got Hitler elected Chancellor; "better to put them in power legally than to let them shoot their way in." Yes, Godwin's law be damned, I'm going to invoke Hitler. Fascism is coming to this country, draped in a flag and carrying a cross, just as promised.

Posted by: T-Rex on January 14, 2011 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Halfway through the looong post above, I thought I detected the hand (pen?) of c u n d gulag.

Kudos

Posted by: DAY on January 14, 2011 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Reince Priebus...doesn't exactly roll off the tongue...sounds more like a character on "V"

Actually it sounds more like a character from an Ayn Rand novel.

Posted by: Oh my on January 14, 2011 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Mike Lee was de facto selected in a nominating convention - about 1700 people voted for him, and while he did have to go to a "primary" the convention was the deciding factor.

It is only one step further to just repeal the 17th amendment.

But, seriously. How is a guy who wants to repeal the 17th, and now, i guess, wants state by state child labor laws, get any traction in the actual governence of the country???

And, can someone help me with legal logic? I support gay marriage - but, can this be governed by the commerce clause? shouldn't there be a national law wrt this? ie, eventually overturning DOMA?

Posted by: bigtuna on January 14, 2011 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

This dialogue helps explain why Democrats such as Hillary Clinton are considered Eisenhower Republicans. Another obscure part of GOP history is Richard Nixon's embracing of Social Security and other safety nets. Upon becoming president in 1969, Nixon championed legislation forcing Southern states and municipalities to extend basic services to residential areas inhabited by African Americans -- "amenities" such as water and sewer hookups.

Twelve years later, Ronald Reagan had his Justice Department enforcing civil rights.

Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan . . . I can't recall anyone hoping those presidents would fail the day they took office.

Posted by: Jerry Elsea on January 14, 2011 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

I think most folks who believe the same as a Mike Lee have fully thought out their arguments about the unconstitutionality of this or that. And I think they sincerely believe their arguments are sound and that the Federal government has no actual stated authority to pass most of the laws they have passed over the last century and a half. However, I also think that the one thing these people have never thought through, have never even considered for that matter, is what this country would look like if their vision of it came to pass. I don't think they have considered what the United States of America would look like with three states operating by slave labor, eight states authorizing children of any age to work any length of time desired by their employers in any condition, 4 states with strict environmental concerns and 32 states without, 28 states with public schooling and 10 states with no educational requirements, each state with its own immigration statutes, etcetera. Neither do I think they have considered that this country would not exist in the world as it does now if we operated under their ideologies. The great American Exceptionalism, their reading of the term anyway, would be nonexistent. There would be no superpower. There would be no "United" States of America. There would only be a series of loosely confederated, frequently squabbling, occasionally fighting nation-states that would likely break apart in the relative blink of an eye.

Posted by: Perspecticus on January 14, 2011 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Perspecticus, your vision of Senator Lee's America looks a lot like the continent of Africa. . .

Posted by: DAY on January 14, 2011 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

The loose confederation of sovereign states some conservatives love so well died at Appomattox Court House in 1865. And I'm not talking about the Confederacy here, but the original Constitutional compact among the founding states of the United States.

Lee's surrender fundamentally changed the balance of power between the states and the federal government. That shift toward centralized authority was instrumental for the United States' rise as a world power.

It is not by accident that "Constitutional originalists" advance an interpretation of the federal compact that predates the Civil War--they want to relitigate the result.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on January 14, 2011 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Perspecticus,

You hit that nail right on the head. But try explaining that to any Rightie. They just will not get it. They COULD, but they won't.

Re: Eisenhower. My favorite tactic is to get them pining for the "good old days" as Conservatives tend to do. Then I try to get then to pin down a date. When were these miraculous "good old days" anyway? Inevitably Conservatives end up saying, "the 1950s". . . at which point I remind them what the Tax structure looked like in the 1950's.

Then they get mad, call me a liar, and a commie, then walk away in a huff. You can't win against this crowd. Even when they are obviously wrong, their pride and idealogical addiction trumps the truth. Always. My the FSM help us all.

Posted by: Mitch on January 14, 2011 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

If Eisenhower felt this way why didn't he offer more resistance to Barry Goldwater's nomination?

Posted by: Sean Scallon on January 14, 2011 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Can someone explain to me why people who think the federal government has no authority -- and some who clearly hate the very notion of its existence -- continually seek roles in that very government?

I mean, if I thought cars were a menace to society and despised them, how in the hell does it make sense for me to become an auto mechanic?

Remember, folks: Irony is NOT a fly in your chardonnay.

Posted by: Mark D on January 14, 2011 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

I bring up Ike on many occasions when dealing with rabid, anti government nutjobs from the fright wing. According to their twisted world view, Ike would be considered a commie for his instrumental role in developing the interstate highway system, perhaps the largest public works program in our nation;s history.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_Highway_System

Posted by: citizen_pain on January 14, 2011 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

As Clinton said, "The American people usually get it right".

Sadly, I have to disagree. Indeed, the Republicans may be the party of stupid, but that may explain why they are in the majority in the House and in state legislatures now: they are representative of the public at large.

My proof for such disparagement? A poll I saw yesterday on several media outlets showing that 71% of Americans oppose raising the debt ceiling.

What this really tells me is that 71% of Americans are willing to opine on something without the first freaking clue what they are talking about.

The second thing it tells me is that my fellow Americans are unthinking simpletons.

The third thing its tells me is that the world has gotten too complex for democracy to be a practical form of government. A democratic society given a chance would vote to render itself a disrespected, untrusted third-world backwater because the answer sounds kind of right.


Posted by: zeitgeist on January 14, 2011 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

They don't like black people.

Period.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on January 14, 2011 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

So ... I suppose that Mike Lee also wants to get rid of the Air Force? That isn't mentioned in the Constitution, after all ...

I think the subject here is not really child labor. I think the wider target is federal social welfare programs and civil rights laws (which aren't going the way the far right likes, and which they now despair of ever changing).

The far right senses that after several decades of debate and struggle, they are slowly losing the political battle. So they are simply trying to upset the entire chessboard onto the floor. Their mechanism for doing is using the Constitution as a blunt defensive instrument to block their opponents, rather than as an enabling mechanism for positive governance. With an activist federal judiciary, they just might win some of those battles.

But it is curious how much these guys love federal power when it comes to using police powers or enforcing social legislation that achieves things they approve of (like, for example, Defence of Marriage Act, or enforcing federal drug laws against states like California or Colorado that want to legalize marijuana, or the whole Terry Schiavo fiasco). And they certainly had no problems with the Bush administration's domestic surveillance programs (don't tell me differently now - I don't buy it). Or how about federal gun laws barring more restrictive state regulations? Federal power ... HELL YEAH!

And then these same guys pivot, and discover DEEP CONSTITUTIONAL CONCERNS when those same sweeping federal powers are used for ... setting national standards for medical insurance? Prohibiting child labor? Poultry inspections?

I will be more impressed by Tenthers and their DEEP and SERIOUS and SCHOLARLY philosophical concerns just as soon as they actually become consistent, and stop being so obviously driven by political results.

Posted by: Bokonon on January 14, 2011 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

@T-Rex above, yeah, it's got me entirely freaked out. I'm working overseas now, and I think this summer I'm gonna come back to my US flat to pack up and pull out completely. I foresee a very grave future for the US, and I won't want my home anywhere near the thick of it.

Posted by: jTh on January 14, 2011 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

In the House there are always a few nutty backbenchers. Maybe this clown fills the quota. Ignore him.

Posted by: hornblower on January 14, 2011 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK
"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history," Ike said. The president acknowledged in the letter that there are some who advocate such nonsense, but added, "Their number is negligible and they are stupid."

I like Ike.

Posted by: navamske on January 14, 2011 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

@DAY

Rather than go through the lengthy process of repealing amendments they don't like, would it not be easier for these "Tenthers" to simply pick up, and go found a new nation more to their liking? One complete with slaves and child labor? There are large parts of Siberia that are uninhabited. . .

And as a bonus, they can see Sarah Palin's house from there.

Posted by: navamske on January 14, 2011 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

There was very little interstate commerce when the Consitution was ratified. Now virtually all commerce is interstate commerce. I don't understand why right-wingers can't get this through their thick skulls.

Posted by: kk on January 14, 2011 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

I'd go for the simplest explanation: Lee, probably, has a passel of kids and finds it difficult to support all of them, singlehandedly. It would be nice if they could contribute to their own upkeep, without some nosy gubmint official calling in the cops.

Posted by: exlibra on January 14, 2011 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

When will we finally accept that the GOP and their owners are not part of our democracy any longer. Hate radio and FOX have mislead and divided the nation to the point of civil war where the only winners will be the plutocracy.

A Democracy cannot work when one side refuses to allow any opposing ideology to flourish and refuses to compromise or accept any other policy but their own even when it is supported by a majority of the nation's citizens.

The GOP live in a bubble of what their idea of America is, which is a rejection of democracy.

If the GOP didn't say it, they don't want to hear it and are trying to make sure you don't say it either.

Posted by: bjobotts on January 14, 2011 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

Actually IMHO Congress doesn't even need the Commerce Clause. COTUS Section 8 says their job includes providing for levying taxes for defense and "the general welfare", and ends by saying they have the right to pass the legislation to make that happen. That makes the point as far as I'm concerned, that laws can be passed to encourage the GW not just expenditures (as for roads.)

Posted by: neil b. on January 14, 2011 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

Sen. Lee may be as folksy as Matloff, but his attempts to take us back to the "good ole days" won't go far.
If child labor laws are unconstitutional, then so is Social Security. So is Medicare. So is ANY Federal fundings in ANY Congressional district for ANYTHING other than military installations. I'm presuming the good Senator is planning on only serving one term, because he's not going to get very votes after SS and Medicare are repealed.
Does Sen. Lee really want to see his local taxes explode so he can have drinkable water? No Fedral matching funds or bond guarantees, you know. Most likely all the hydro projects by the Federal government are also unconstitutional as well. So there go all those farmers in California and all those towns in the Southwest.
Talk about "playing to your base"...

Posted by: Doug on January 14, 2011 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

Yes neil b. And did "commerce" back then mean buying and selling and shipping, or did it have more the broader meaning of anything going on between the states - from spiritual to intellectual to social to political to material. (Anyone?)

To me, the whole of the Constitution, particularly the Preamble and the general sense of the first ten and additional amendments, plus the words of the Declaration (you know, the ones that a typical teabagger will probably recite some of if asked to repeat some of the Constitution) are saying that those Enlightenment values are for everyone. Child labor, for example, is child labor, and that applies equally everywhere. Voting and civil rights too (don't tell Rand Paul).

What exactly these rights and privledges are interpreted to be clearly changes over time - in a direction of deepening and broadening them. The federal government is what gets to do something about this stuff.

Posted by: emjayay on January 14, 2011 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

Strikes me that the a child under the age of consent who works is arguably a kind of simi-slave or indentured servant since they cannot consent to being put to work.

I realize the issue is much more complicated than that but the legally recognized ability to consent should be a major consideration in protecting children from being coerced into working or working in ways that they object to but are coerced to by adult employers, or family.

Posted by: Marnie on January 14, 2011 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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