Federalism Amendments!

I am not a Constitutional Law scholar, but this looks pretty good to me, and very much within the spirit of the Tea Parties:

http://federalismamendment.com/

You can grab the amendment document here:

http://federalismamendment.com/The_Bill_of_Federalism.pdf

These look to be the kind of smaller-government Federal modifications, and ways to more-properly restrict the overreaching Federal government. A short run-down:

  1. Limits the Federal use of the Inter-State Commerce Clause.
  2. No unfunded Federal mandates, and no Federal spending on things the Federal government has no power to otherwise regulate.
  3. Activity occurring entirely within a State may not be regulated by the Federal government.
  4. States may rescind Federal law when 2/3ds of the States vote to do so. (Is this related to the drug war?)
  5. No Federal taxes on estates or gifts (the “Death Tax”); repeals existing taxes and denies future implementations of same.
  6. No Federal income tax; repeals the 16th Amendment, thus ending the income tax and denying future implementations of same. (Excise and sales taxes are explicitly allowed, paving a way for the Fair Tax.)
  7. Term limits: 2 for Senators, 6 for Representatives.
  8. Balanced budget veto. This looks like it gives the President a line-item veto power over any budget items that leave the Federal government with more debt than in the preceding budget.
  9. More explicit protections for the liberties and privileges of the People, both enumerated and unenumerated.
  10. This one’s the kicker: “[No Judicial Alterations of the Constitution.] The words and phrases of this Constitution shall be interpreted according to their meaning at the time of their enactment, which meaning shall remain the same until changed pursuant to Article V.” Gotta love that.

Ruinous TARP

From PowerLine:

On April 21, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program Act of 2009–“SIGTARP”–submitted his quarterly report to Congress on his office’s activities in relation to the TARP program. The report is a disquieting document that should be read by every American–certainly be every taxpayer.

The Inspector General’s report documents the stunning and at least partly illegal expansion of TARP from the $700 billion originally allocated by Congress to what is now a $3 trillion complex of programs. This chart shows the various programs that are now included within SIGTARP’s oversight, and how they have expanded from the initial $700 billion. Note that some of the programs are still incipient; $3 trillion is by no means a final number.

What conclusions can we draw? 1) The government’s $3 trillion and counting TARP program represents the greatest opportunity for sharp operators to profit at taxpayer expense in history. 2) The Obama administration is either in favor of giving Wall Street sharks this opportunity or, at a minimum, doesn’t much mind doing so. (If this seems odd, remember where Obama got the biggest chunk of campaign contributions in 2008.) 3) It may be that the TARP complex of programs is the beginning of a national-socialist type takeover of the financial services industry by the federal government. Thus, 4) we can only hope that this turns out not to be the case, and TARP is only the biggest–and perhaps, by the end of the day, the crookedest–waste of taxpayer money in history. Finally, 5) so far the only person or organization who appears to be looking out for the taxpayers is the Special Inspector General. We will be reading his future reports with great interest.

Why Taxes May Double

From http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2009/04/david-walker-why-.html:

Unless we begin to get our fiscal house in order, there’s simply no other way to handle our ever-mounting debt burdens except by doubling taxes over time. Otherwise, our growing commitments for Medicare and Social Security benefits will gradually squeeze out spending on other vital programs such as education, research and development, and infrastructure.

Another great line: “…additional accumulations of debt are, absent dramatic reductions in the size and role of government, basically deferred tax increases.”

Memphis Tea Party: Success!

I was part of the organizing committee for yesterday’s Tax Day Tea Party here in Memphis. That sounds kind of formal; it was just a bunch of folks who found each other on the internet and (with some amount of arguing, mostly from me 😉 got an event put together. Talk about an emergent phenomenon.

I can only call it a resounding success. We had at least 4000 (yes, four thousand or more) people in attendance, according to the professional sound crews in attendance and media folk who were on site. You’d be hard pressed to discover that from newspapers or television reporting today.

We’re not the only ones who had high attendance; see more here http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/76810/ and elsewhere.

My duties kept me from actually watching any of the speakers. I helped direct traffic for 3 hours to get people safely in and out, with three other guys handling the arrangement of parking everyone on the grass (the lot overflowed immediately). That 4000 number seems pretty likely to me, given the traffic.

If you are interested in the Memphis Tea Party, take a look at thememphisteaparty.com website, or our Facebook group page, or contact me directly if you like.

I expect at some point I will write more about this. There’s more to it than I’m hearing about on the news, for sure. One wonders how far it can go.

UPDATE: Oh, and the Facebook page for the Tax Day event itself is here.

UPDATE 2: Some of the Facebook albums: