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State Sovereignty Update

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Now that most of the state legislatures are back in session, we’re starting to see some progress on the passage of state sovereignty bills. It looks like at least 22 states have bills in some stage of development. About half are in the process of being drafted, several are in committee or out for debate, and the pack is being led by Arizona, Oklahoma, and New Hampshire, where the bills have strong support and will likely be voted on within a matter of weeks. As yet none have passed into law, but we may see that happen in some of the most active states fairly quickly.

The Arizona bill is interesting because it actually cites New York v. US in the text of the bill, pointing out one of the 10th Amendment cases which is often cited in arguments for state nullification of federal mandates. It seems to have a lot of support and a realistic chance of passage.

Oklahoma’s sovereignty bill, which passed their House last session but got stalled in the Senate, came out of the rules committee last week with unanimous support and should move forward quickly. It may run into problems in the state Senate again because that body is more evenly split between Democrats and Republicans than is their House of Representatives.

As demonstrated in the recently introduced Michigan resolution some of the bills target a much more specific threat. Michigan’s bill asserts 10th Amendment rights, but does it in the context of reiterating and guaranteeing protection of the right of the citizens to own firearms, taking a stand against possible gun seizures from the federal government. The Montana resolution was introduced at the same time and is largely the same with the same focus on gun rights.

State Representative Dan Itse, author of the New Hampshire sovereignty resolution, appeared on the Glenn Beck show on Fox News over the weekend to explain the bill. Although New Hampshire’s bill is one of the most radical, Itse stressed that it was not about secession from the union, but about reasserting state control, saying, “This isn’t about withdrawing from the union. The happiest resolution of this resolution would be a renewed union within the confines of the Constitution.”

But he went on to make the key distinction that the New Hampshire bill actually makes the claim, based on the writings of Jefferson and Madison, that if the government fails to obey the Constitution then it has effectively negated itself and dissolved the union formed by that document. Itse said, “If the general government nullifies the Constitution, how do you withdraw from something which does not exist?”

Oklahoma State Representative Jason Murphey wrote an editorial for the Edmond Sun explaining his state’s sovereignty bill and linking it specifically to the unfunded mandates and massive spending in the so-called stimulus bill, linking this issue to the efforts of some governors to block federal spending within their states. He notes that it is “is going to be important for the state to refuse to participate in new inappropriate federal programs such as the apparent expansion of the welfare program included in the stimulus bill.” He also expresses the widespread concern that much of the money in the stimulus is intended to benefit the Democratic Party’s political allies, pointing out that “we can expect the federal government to reflect the desires of powerful special interests, liberal politicians and their support groups like ACORN — the possible recipient of $2 billion because of the stimulus bill.”

A lot of crazy claims about the sovereignty movement are still circulating, many of them seemingly generated by Ron Paul supporters involved in his Campaign for Liberty to advance their own interests. But the truth is that, contrary to their assertions, this is not a movement for secession from the union, and the sovereignty bills are generally not arising out of grassroots efforts from far-right groups like C4L.

Rather, these resolutions are originating from inside legislatures and from established state politicians, specifically in response to concerns about unfunded mandates and excessive burdens placed on the states by the federal government. The expense and partisan character of many of the elements of the stimulus bill is increasing concern and helping to motivate legislators to pass these state resolutions as are federal efforts to limit the constitutional rights of individuals on a nationwide basis. While the 10th Amendment is central to their argument, legislators are more concerned about retaining power they see being gradually eroded by the federal government than more abstract issues of Constitutional rights.

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About Dave Nalle

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Let one thing be clear for all those who might hope for a separatist movement, and I quote:

    “There is no really satisfactory theoretical solution to the problem [of federations, confederations, etc]. If a federal government possesses a constitutional authority to intervene by force in the government of a state for the purpose of insuring the state’s performance of its duties as a member of the federation, there is no adequate constitutional barrier against the conversion of of the federation into a centralized state by vigorous and resolute central government. If it does not possess such authority, there is no adequate assurance that the federal government can maintain the character of the system when vigorous and resolute state governments take full advantage of their constitutional freedom to go their own ways.”

    References: Arthur W. MacMahon, ed., Federalism: Mature and Emergent (New York: Doubleday, 1955), p.139. See also of course the Federalist Papers. Martin Diamond interestingly discusses “The Federalist’s View of Federalism,” in Essays in Federalism (Institute for Studies in Federalism, 1961).

    So for all the hoopla which seems to surround these valiant acts on the part of state legislatures, it’s nothing more than a storm in a teacup. Nothing but talk.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    I guess no answer is forthcoming. Good, I put that baby to rest.

  • lumpy

    as I read the article it clearly says that this is not about secession or separatism..

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    No Suh, you have not put it to rest. Far from it, Suh. Not by a long shot.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    I wonder if the Republican governors will be able to declare their sovereignty from the RNC and particularly the Republicans in Congress since many of the Republican governors SUPPORTED the stimulus bill because they knew how bad their respective states needed it….

  • Baronius

    Dave, what’s your assessment of the Mark Sanford thing? Governor Sanford has said that he won’t take any of the stimulus money for SC. Apparently, the Senate responded by putting a provision in the stimulus bill that allows state legislatures to accept the money even if the governor refuses it. I can’t imagine that provision standing up in court.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    #3 – to lumpy and all other luminaries:

    Then what else is it about but plenty of hot air or crying over spilled milk (since the author of the article dares not to spell out his or her conclusions clearly but chooses rather to beat around the bush)?

    It’s nothing but an exercise in wishful thinking. The bill has passed, grow up and swallow your damn pride. Another for years and your time may come – but not if you’re going to be such crybabies.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    If Mark Sanford’s ‘principled stand’ results in genuinely needy South Carolinians suffering, shame on him. And shame on you for encouraging him.

    I’m not sure where Dave actually stands on sovereignty, or how far he would really like to see it taken. I wonder if it’s some sort of an intellectual game for him, not about practical results [positive or negative] at all.

    But I see it as a slippery slope.

    And I think tying it to the stimulus bill makes Republicans look like loonies, or sore losers, or both.

    The bill is law now. Worry about something else. Jeez.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    It’s nothing but moral protest – and that’s giving it plenty of credit. More likely, perhaps, to demonstrate to their base that they’re opposed to it in principle – political gesturing at best.

    But that’s only my humble opinion. I’m always open to a more enlightened insight.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Dave, what’s your assessment of the Mark Sanford thing? Governor Sanford has said that he won’t take any of the stimulus money for SC.

    I wrote about this in one of my other articles. I think that Sanford would very much like to make a moral stand, but will probably end up being forced to go along and take the money. The same (but faster) for Rick Perry here in Texas. With Perry it’s mostly just posturing. With Sanford it really is a matter of principle.

    I just hope it doesn’t hurt Sanford when he runs for president in 2012.

    Apparently, the Senate responded by putting a provision in the stimulus bill that allows state legislatures to accept the money even if the governor refuses it. I can’t imagine that provision standing up in court.

    It’s blatantly unconstitutional. I just hope that someone has the guts to at least challenge it.

    In this situation we see one of the most profound and corrupting forces in government at work.

    The states are hard up for cash. The feds come to them with this money. But the money comes with strings attached which take away the rights of the states and their citizens. Ultimately the state legislators cave because they need the money to fulfill promises so they can get reelected. They go for the short-term benefit and as a result they sacrifice much more important long-term principles.

    This amendment they added to the stimulus bill which lets state legislators override their governors is particularly dangerous. If it’s allowed to stand it could open the door to all sorts of other violations of states rights.

    Dave

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    “The bill is law now. Worry about something else.”

    PATRIOT Act. You’ll get over it.

  • Arch Conservative

    “If Mark Sanford’s ‘principled stand’ results in genuinely needy South Carolinians suffering, shame on him. And shame on you for encouraging him”

    It’s been all the rage on the blogs and in the mainstream media recently to pontificate on the reprecussions the GOP will face if this spending bill has any positive impact on the economy yet I don’t see anyone discussing what will happen to this spending bill if it does not help or actually makes the economy worse.

    What’s to become of King Barry and his band of merry socialists if this bill makes life worse for us? Why isn’t anyone speculating on that?

  • Arch Conservative

    That should have been what will happen tot the Dems

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Dave,

    I understand that under Stimulus legislation, a state legislature will be able to accept Federal funds money even if the governor refuses. Do you have the actual text, or a link where the text can be found?

    Leaving aside for the moment any questions under the Federal Constitution, it would be interesting to see how this intersects with the various State Constitutions.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    That’s exactly right, Dan. In fact, the Clyburn amendment doesn’t even require a vote of the legislature, it just requires the leadership of the legislature to request the money.

    The text is someewhere in the 1100 pages of the bill. Having already read two earlier versions my brain is not up to reading another, but let me know if you can find it.

    full text.

    Dave

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Arch-Con –

    Y’know what? IMO the real crisis point has passed already. Things will get worse before they get better – as Obama pointed out (and as FDR pointed out in the same situation) – but they will get better. The real crisis point really came when Bush was in office and the TARP bill was passed to keep America’s – and the world’s – economy from coming to a complete and screeching halt. The TARP bill was a set of crutches – flawed, certainly, but infinitely better than nothing, and who was it that stepped up and really made it happen? Yep! Obama! And many couldn’t help but notice how little influence and leadership Bush and McCain showed at that crucial moment. That’s when Obama won the election.

    And now that we know things will eventually get better, now that we know the American economy will survive, don’t worry – you and your fellow cons will claim it was the tax cuts in the stimulus bill that did it…at which time Obama can claim that HE and the House Democrats put the tax cuts in the bill before they ever asked for your input!

    The ONLY argument you’ll have left is that the cons argued for MORE tax cuts and LESS infrastructure for the states (and which Republican governors are going to ‘patriotically’ refuse the money?)…but it won’t matter because the economy will be improving, and the guys presently in office will get the credit!

    Best of all, all of America can see how he DID reach out to Republicans not once, but several times and was rebuffed and denigrated for his efforts. America can see who SAID they were attempting to be ‘bipartisan’, and who was truly doing his level best to BE bipartisan.

    I didn’t really think that one through until I read your post…and unless I’m WAY wrong (economic history says I’m right) or something truly terrible happens to Obama himself, he may have ensured victory the next election by his actions in his very first month in office….

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Clyburn inserted an amendment empowering state legislative leaders to accept the special federal aid if the governor fails to act within 45 days of the measure’s enactment

    Describing this as allowing legislatures to override the authority of the governor is a distortion. And the actual protocol for requesting federal funds [any funds, not just this bill] may vary from state to state anyway.

    In other words, typical rightist paranoid tempest in a teapot.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com Dave Nalle

    Handy, you have no idea what you’re talking about here. Go read up on the Clyburn amendment. It allows the speaker of the state house in any state to request the federal funds with no vote or approval process whatsoever. It totally negates state law and sovereignty.

    Dave

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Me: “The bill is law now. Worry about something else.”

    Sussman: PATRIOT Act. You’ll get over it.

    Touche. I guess the poor, put-upon rightists may continue to whine all they like. And no doubt they would, with or without my blessing.

    I hope and believe the new administration has already started, and will continue, to undo some of the more pernicious consequences of the deranged and unconstitutional mindset that gave us the, ugh, USA-Patriot Act.

    Our turn now.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The quote at the beginning of my comment, describing the Clyburn amendment, was from news wire services, dated Jan. 30. It was all I could find in a quick Google. If you have contradictory info, pray share it with us, O wise one.

    There actually doesn’t seem to have been any coverage of it since Jan. 30…maybe it was watered down or removed? The bill has gone through multiple revisions since then.

    But your description of it serves your argument too conveniently. I would trust an actual quote more.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com Dave Nalle

    You can hope all you want, Handy. Truth is that Bush has handed them a powerful tool of oppression and they’re unlikely to give that power up. It’s out of character.

    Dave

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I just scanned the bill – it is pretty damn ginormous, eh? And I did not see the 45-day governor/state legislature provision. That doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

    It is relatively clearly divided into sections and subsections. I guess that amendment could be hiding somewhere illogical, or I may have simply missed it.

  • http://www.fontcraft.com Dave Nalle

    Clyburn is on record discussing the amendment quite a bit after it was first proposed on the 30th. I quoted him earlier, but although I found the text once before quoted in an outside source I’m still looking for it in the bill.

    Dave

  • Baronius

    cut and pasted from the Congressional Record, February 12:

    ADDITIONAL FUNDING DISTRIBUTION AND ASSURANCE OF APPROPRIATE USE OF FUNDS SEC. 1607.

    (a) CERTIFICATION BY GOVERNOR.– Not later than 45 days after the date of enactment of this Act, for funds provided to any State or agency thereof, the Governor of the State shall certify that: (1) the State will request and use funds provided by this Act; and (2) the funds will be used to create jobs and promote economic growth.

    (b) ACCEPTANCE BY STATE LEGISLATURE.–If funds provided to any State in any division of this Act are not accepted for use by the Governor, then acceptance by the State legislature, by means of the adoption of a concurrent resolution, shall be sufficient to provide funding to such State.

    (c) DISTRIBUTION.–After the adoption of a State legislature’s concurrent resolution, funding to the State will be for distribution to local governments, councils of government, public entities, and public-private entities within the State either by formula or at the State’s discretion.

    Section 1607 provides additional funding distribution and assurance of the appropriate use of funds. Not later than 45 days after the enactment of this Act, the governor of each state shall certify that the state will request and use funds provided by this Act to the state and its agencies.

    If funds made available to a state in any division of this Act are not accepted for use by its governor, then acceptance by the state legislature, by adoption of a concurrent resolution, shall be sufficient to provide funding to the state. After adoption of a concurrent resolution, funding to the State will be for distribution to local governments, councils of governments, public entities, and public-private entities within the State, either by formula or at the State’s discretion.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Thanks, Baronius. This doesn’t seem to be in the OpenCongress link Dave provided. Not sure why that would be.

    I did find this in a more recent story:

    In an interview with The Hill before the bill passed, Sanford indicated he would check with his lawyers about the provision, but he might not be able to trump Clyburn’s move.

    “I’ve learned the Irish prayer,” he said. “God grant me the power to change what I can, the serenity to accept the things I can’t and the wisdom to know the difference.”

  • Baronius

    Suss, you crack me up every time.

    Glenn, your post #16 was bafflingly wrong. The Bush administration led on the TARP. McCain tried to ride the wave a bit. Obama stayed on the campaign trail, and showed no leadership at all. Your account of Obama’s leadership and bipartisanship on the ARRA is just as incorrect. He reflexively went on the campaign trail again, leaving the House and Senate to fight it out.

    Handy, if Sanford’s principled stand reduces the national debt, then shame on every governor who doesn’t follow suit.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Yes, the national debt trumps being unemployed, poor or hungry every time. Unless there’s an undeclared war that needs to be funded! Or rich people suffering under a tax burden that needs to be relieved!

    Both Obama and McCain returned to Washington in September, and met with Bush and Congressional leaders at the White House to hear about what would later be called Tarp. McCain’s demonstration of ‘leadership’ by ‘suspending’ his campaign has been widely and properly mocked as nonexistent.

    Obama’s trips outside Washington during the lead-up to ARRA were not frivolous. They served both a political and a policy purpose. The GOP were holding daily, repetitious press conferences declaring the bill ‘pork,’ etc, and the drumbeat was moving public opinion [slightly].

    Obama succeeded in turning the debate back in his direction with the town meetings and speeches. Of course you don’t like what he did, because it worked. He is hardly the first president to leave Washington to ‘take his case directly to the people.’ Virtually every modern president has done it, often in connection with key legislation. And when the presidents were Republicans, I bet you didn’t whine about it.

    The president has every right to capitalize on his popularity. Many of us applaud his doing so. Of course, you are inclined to view his every breath and footstep negatively. It’s a tedious viewpoint, but you are welcome to it.

  • DB

    For those who suggest that ‘many’ Americans support this bill and that Obama was following the will of the people – wrong. Only 38% of Americans felt this bill was going to make a positive impact and over 60% wanted more tax cuts. That’s from recent Rasmussen Report polls which are some of the most accurate out there. Even CBS – who did the same poll by calling 10 of Katie Courics best friends – found that about only 35% were in favour of this bill. I have a husband and 2 children. We are now on the hook for about 120k. For all the rush that it took the stimulus package to get through – it sat for 3 days while Obama took a holiday. That, to me, is complete irresponsibility. The Democrats broke their promise to post it on the internet 48 hours before it would be voted on – and when they did, they went to great pains to take screen grabs of the pages so that key words could not be searched. Transparency? Honesty? Responsibility? Nope.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    DB’s description of the CBS poll [‘phoning 10 of Katie Couric’s friends’] is funny, but also an indicator of how fact-based the rest of the comment is.

    What Rasmussen actually said was [on Feb 16]:

    38% think the stimulus will help
    24% believe it will have little impact
    29% think it will hurt

    What the Gallup poll said [Feb 17]:

    59% favor the bill
    33% oppose it

    So it’s entirely possible that 20-25% of the public, while not opposing the bill, are skeptical that it will work.

  • Baronius

    Handy, I may be viewing it wrongly. Obama did a great job of salesmanship on the package. I just find Glenn’s comments maddening. It’s as if he reads the Democratic talking points, picks out the one or two most inaccurate, and runs with those. You care whether your comments reflect reality, although I think you misinterpret reality. Glenn’s comments gravitate to the inaccurate.

    McCain and Obama didn’t show any leadership on the original TARP. McCain pretended to. Glenn’s instinct is to look at that situation and of all the possible Democratic spins, he chooses “Obama led”. He could have blamed Republican Wall Street fat cats for the banking collapse, or pointed to the Republican House failing to support their own president, or said that Geithner’s plan will save the industry, or any number of other points. He does touch on some of them. But he makes Obama’s leadership on a matter on which Obama didn’t lead his central point.

    I know that everyone makes those mistakes, and there are some on my side who always seem to choose the weakest arguments. That’s why people like you shoot them down. Pointing out Glenn’s mistakes feels like a full-time job.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Baronius –

    Howzabout making sure your claims are inaccurate before laughing at others?

    From the Wikipedia, concerning the FIRST vote on the TARP on 9/29:

    “The amendment was not accepted by the roll call vote of 228-205, with one not voting. Democrats voted 140 to 95 in favor of the legislation, while Republicans voted 133 to 65 against it.”

    The Dow immediately dropped 777 points…and whaddaya know – the bill passed on October 3.

    So if Bush was showing such WONDERFUL leadership, then why were so many of his own party against it? If a president can’t lead your own party…that president’s not a good leader. It DID show that Bush had the guts to go against his party and that speaks well of him…but he could not LEAD his own party.

    Obama, OTOH, DID bring his party to the table, and without his leadership in reassuring the American public and bringing along the Democratic party elite, the TARP would have been DOA.

    You also said that McCain even left the campaign trail to go work on the TARP, while Obama stayed on the campaign trail. Perhaps you missed Obama’s point that a president needs to be able to multi-task. Perhaps you also missed the fact that all McCain did when he left to go to D.C. on his ‘rescue mission’ was work the phones…which is the same thing he could have been doing anywhere else in the country…and he finally caved and went to the debate anyway.

    Who truly showed leadership? With the possible exception of Judd Gregg who was working with Pelosi to make TARP happen, it wasn’t anyone with an ‘R’ after their names….

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Baronius, the version you quote in #24 may not be the final language. Supposedly the requirement for a resolution was done away with in favor of a simple request from legislative leadership.

    Dave

  • Baronius

    The White House site has 5 .pdf files of the bill posted, taken from the Congressional Record. I don’t see how that would differ from the final text of the new law. Maybe I missed something though.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Dave, just curious, what is your #32 based on?

    I’m thinking the OpenCongress link has several versions on it, and I was looking at an earlier one. So maybe the final bill does have the Clyburn provision.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    #32 is based on quotes from Clyburn over the last couple of days. I’m going to go see if I can find a full and complete version of the legislation.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Dave – #35 — thanks. I spent some time scanning the link provided in #15, and couldn’t find anything resembling the Clyburn amendment to the House bill. The link provided seems to be to the Senate bill (which did not include language reflecting the Clyburn amendment). My understanding is that if there is such language in the final enactment, it was added by the Conference Committee; few beyond Zeus* probably know for sure exactly what was added or subtracted or how things are to work.

    One hint that the link in #15 is to the Senate Bill is that it seems to call for “only” $2,000,000,000 for high speed rail transport (the amount provided in the Senate Bill), whereas the Conference Report, approved by both houses last Friday, apparently added another $6,000,000,000. I think.

    So, it is still very difficult at best to determine what the legislation approved on Friday and signed by President Obama yesterday actually says.

    Good luck.

    Although Zeus does have a website, it is primarily concerned with thunderbolt vector analysis and does not stoop to mundane money matters.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    I found the final version. Here’s how the wording ended up – substantially similar to what someone quoted earlier:

    ADDITIONAL FUNDING DISTRIBUTION AND ASSURANCE OF
    APPROPRIATE USE OF FUNDS
    SEC. 1607. (a) CERTIFICATION BY GOVERNOR.—Not later than
    45 days after the date of enactment of this Act, for funds provided
    to any State or agency thereof, the Governor of the State shall certify
    that: (1) the State will request and use funds provided by this Act;
    and (2) the funds will be used to create jobs and promote economic
    growth.
    (b) ACCEPTANCE BY STATE LEGISLATURE.—If funds provided to
    any State in any division of this Act are not accepted for use by the
    Governor, then acceptance by the State legislature, by means of the
    adoption of a concurrent resolution, shall be sufficient to provide
    funding to such State.
    (c) DISTRIBUTION.—After the adoption of a State legislature’s
    concurrent resolution, funding to the State will be for distribution
    to local governments, councils of government, public entities, and
    public-private entities within the State either by formula or at the
    State’s discretion.

    So they at least let the legislature vote on the issue, which is slightly better than what I had last heard, but still blatantly unconstitutional. I’m particularly bothered by the concept of going direct to “local governments, councils of government, public entities, and public-private entities” presumably without state government oversight.

    The final version is available at the Library of Congress. Download H.Rept.111-16.

    Dave

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    This is all hypothetical unless a governor is politically inept enough actually to turn down the money. I predict that in the end none of them will.

    For the record, I don’t agree with Clyburn’s putting this in the bill. It grew out of a specific animus between him and Sanford. But I also think Sanford is wrong even to threaten to withhold the money.

    And genuinely needy people and projects would be the losers if the funds don’t go through. That’s not irrelevant.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    This is all hypothetical unless a governor is politically inept principled enough actually to turn down the money.

    There, I fixed that sentence for you.

    But I also think Sanford is wrong even to threaten to withhold the money.

    Sanford isn’t alone in his concerns, he’s just the most likely to stick by principle. And he has very good reasons for not wanting to take the money. The long-term impact for his state is likely to be more cost and more deficits when the feds won’t be there to bail him out.

    And genuinely needy people and projects would be the losers if the funds don’t go through. That’s not irrelevant.

    I disagree. People aren’t losers because they don’t get federal bailout money. In many ways they’re better off relying on their own resources or those of government closer to home and more responsive to their needs. The cost to help out the genuinely needy is far below what’s being spent in this stimulus package and the states could handle it on thier own if they needed to, because unlike the federal government they don’t run deficits year in and year out and don’t have huge debt loads.

    Dave

  • Baronius

    Dave, I don’t know anything about Sanford, but if he really does turn down funding and challenge the act’s constitutionality, I’ll check him out in 2012.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    So far I’ve seen two GOP governors – TX and LA – claim they may not accept funds for their states from the stimulus package. I strongly feel that ‘may’ is the operative word. Frankly I’ll be shocked (and so will their respective constituents) if they follow through with their threats.

    Do you know of any other GOP governors who are ‘principled’ enough (in your opinion) to refuse the stimulus funding for their states?

  • lumpy

    rumor is that a sovereignty bill will be submitted here in virginia before the end of the month.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Dave, your completely ideological [oh, excuse me, pinicipled] interpretation of all this is remarkably tunnel-visioned and offensive.

    This is an emergency bill, intended to be temporary. The states’ rights bullshit is irrelevant.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Dave:
    “People aren’t losers because they don’t get federal bailout money. In many ways they’re better off relying on their own resources”

    First, gag me. Could you be more condescending?

    Second, tell that to the people in the poor, rural majority-black district that Clyburn represents, while folks in the other 49 [or 47 or whatever] states get these [almost entirely unobjectionable] benefits.

    You’re just playing a dead-end intellectual game about libertarianism and federalism. You’ve never had to worry where your next job, or meal, was coming from.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    handy – I wouldn’t make that presumption about his life, for there are some who scrabbled their way up from the pits who do take a strong libertarian outlook on life.

    That said, while America is certainly the “Land of Opportunity”, it just doesn’t seem right that some want America to be the “Land of I Got Mine And Who Gives A Flip About You?”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    But such has been the mentality of late, Glenn. They all come to rape her and squeeze her dry until she’s a lifeless carcass.

  • Baronius

    Handy, it’s not like Sanford is talking about shutting the state down. Last month, all the states had to figure out how to make a budget. Some of them have been doing it for 200+ years. Just because Schwarzenegger can’t balance his budget, we’re supposed to abandon constitutional principles “temporarily”?

    Also, why did you inject race into this?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    So if Bush was showing such WONDERFUL leadership, then why were so many of his own party against it? If a president can’t lead your own party…that president’s not a good leader. It DID show that Bush had the guts to go against his party and that speaks well of him…but he could not LEAD his own party.

    Glenn, this example goes directly to what I wrote about in my somewhat overlooked article Are We Really All Socialists Now? where I make the point that Bush’s positions really didn’t represent his party and that many of the worst things he did like TARP were done in alliance with the Democrats, not Republicans.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    It strikes me that with Section 1607 (provided by Dave in Comment #37), it will be politically easier for a Governor not to accept the funds; he can simply say and do nothing. His failure to accept within forty-five days automatically allows the State Legislature, by concurrent resolution, to take the money. A Republican Governor with a Democratic majority in the legislature could do just that; it might even be an appealing approach to the problem. With any luck, a Governor so inclined could probably so orchestrate things as to seem principled rather than otherwise. Perhaps the former Governor of Illinois might be willing to consider consulting privately on this matter, for a modest fee.

    Scattered throughout the legislation, there are various requirements that each Governor of a State receiving “stimulus” funds subsequently certify that his State’s expenditures actually complied with numerous conditions on the ways the funds were required to be spent.

    The interesting part may come when, after funds have been accepted by concurrent resolution of a State legislature and spent, the Governor declines to provide the required certification on the ground that he didn’t want the money in the first place and was in no position to direct or even monitor its expenditure by its recipients, “local governments, councils of government, public entities, and public-private entities within the State.”

    I have found no provision analogous to Section 1607 which would allow substitution of an after-the-fact concurrent resolution of the State legislature for an after-the-fact certification declined to be made by the Governor. Section 1607 does not address the matter of after-the-fact certification and, under customary rules of statutory construction, I would not expect that it would be interpreted to do so.

    What happens if a Governor declines to certify State compliance? Can he be forced to certify? By whom? His State Legislature? The Federal Government? Contempt proceedings at the State or Federal level, perhaps? Probably not. Would the State have to give the money back?

    What happens if the Governor complies with the legislation to the extent of certifying that the funds provided to his State were not, to the best of his knowledge and belief, spent in compliance with the law? Could his certification be overridden by a concurrent resolution to the effect, “Yes they were, and the Governor is a nasty brute!” I doubt it. Would the State have to give the money back?

    Whatever Constitutional crises may be created by the massive “stimulus” legislation, it seems likely that some of those crises will be at the State level.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Second, tell that to the people in the poor, rural majority-black district that Clyburn represents, while folks in the other 49 [or 47 or whatever] states get these [almost entirely unobjectionable] benefits.

    Handy, the truth is that the poor are the LEAST harmed by recession and depression, because they are already poor and know how to deal with it. They can live on a budget and make the most of what they have. This is particularly true of the rural poor who Clyburn represents. What’s so devastating in this situation is the completely uncalled for wealth redistribution which is going on. What it will do is impoverish more people and grow the poor class in America. I wrote about this before. By devaluing the currency and forcing medium size and entrepreneurial businesses out of business Obama is increasing unemployment and impoverishing people who might have weathered this storm without intervention.

    You’re just playing a dead-end intellectual game about libertarianism and federalism. You’ve never had to worry where your next job, or meal, was coming from.

    You know nothing of my experiences, Handy. Several times in my life I’ve had to scrape to get by. I’m not doing all that great now, all things considered, because I’m in that class of people who are entrepreneurs and whose reserves and investments are dwindling away. I’m not broke yet, but I can see the devastation which these policies are going to cause for the working poor and the lower middle income range.

    Bailing out the poor while making more poor people is terrible policy.

    On another topic, Sanford is running a significant, but probably managable deficit, but the greedheads in his legislature want that fat federal pork roll.

    And Glenn, governors who have expressed concern about mandates and the stimulus along with Sanford include Perry in TX, Jindal in LA, Patrick in MA and Otter in ID. Others are just rubbing their hands in glee to get money redistributed to them from states like Texas which only get about 80 cents back from every dollar we send to the feds in taxes.

    Dave

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I stand by my assertion: your comments on this matter are about ideology, not people.

    The way you have demonized this bill [you lump it all together, as if it all the same]: ideological.

    The way you describe the economic crisis and the way forward [it’s either your way, or doom]: utterly, rigidly ideological.

    The more ideological Republicans insist on becoming, the more elections they will continue to lose.

    Latest Gallup Poll approval numbers for:

    Dems in Congress: 43% [up 25 points since the first of the year]

    GOP in Congress: 19%

    The GOP is becoming the Party of No. It’s a sorry spectacle.

    And all your Alice-in-Wonderland logic [if we just cut taxes, everything will get better] in the face of a major economic crisis starts to look immoral as well as stupidly stubborn.

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    States Sovereignty sounds an awful lot like States Rights. I even catch Dave slipping up and saying it out loud in #10.

    When I hear Southern State governors talking about States Rights those Star Trek red-alert horns sound off in my head.

    This is really starting to get scary.

    –Cobra

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave – and all those who want a really good insight into the conservative frame of mind:

    Handy, the truth is that the poor are the LEAST harmed by recession and depression, because they are already poor and know how to deal with it.

    Don’t worry about the poor – they’re already poor so it’s no big deal. What a wonderful example of the conservative – and NOT the American – mindset. Dave, you said it better than I ever could.

    America – the Land of Opportunity – but if you’re poor, you’re screwed because the conservatives don’t give a tinker’s damn about you. (please forgive my language, but this royally ticks me off!)

    Dave – wanna be a true patriot? Do what is best for ALL Americans, and not just the ones who give the best donations to the GOP coffers! It’s the mindset that YOU just stated that shows the magnitude of the conservatives’ error! THIS MINDSET is precisely why thirty years of conservative economic policy has given us the greatest gap between highest and lowest incomes since the Great Depression!

    Conservatives are bound fast to the paradigm that if they help the rich, the rich will invest more and the benefits will ‘trickle down’ to help everyone else…but this has never…NEVER been the case in America’s economic history! It…does…not…work as the past 30 years has shown, so it’s time to change your paradigm! Even GREENSPAN admits that now!

    On the other hand, if you INCREASE the opportunities for the POOR, if you open the door a little wider and even give them a leg up, there are that many more who will succeed and bring themselves up out of poverty and become part of the middle class! Not only that, but their success means they will spend MORE money, there will be MORE income to state and federal coffers, and the CEO’s and business owners will receive MORE income because the ex-poor are now NOT so poor and have more to spend!

    Is this really so hard to understand? “A rising tide floats ALL boats”, Dave – meaning if you increase the opportunities for ALL Americans, the rich will benefit too!

    DO THE RIGHT THING, Dave! Support ALL Americans including the poor, and the rich will benefit too! But if you only support the moneyed, then the pool of those who benefit from their largess is far smaller indeed!

    Let me close with my most favorite lines of all poetry (which you can see referenced in the poem I sent you):

    “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

    Give the poor a sincere welcome, greater opportunity, and even a leg up…and what do you get? AMERICA!

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle


    When I hear Southern State governors talking about States Rights those Star Trek red-alert horns sound off in my head.

    You mean Southern states like New Hampshire and Massachusetts and Maine and Indiana and Idaho? Those backwoods, racist southern rednecks?

    This is really starting to get scary.

    When your horizons have been constrained by bigotry the whole world looks scary.

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Don’t worry about the poor – they’re already poor so it’s no big deal. What a wonderful example of the conservative – and NOT the American – mindset. Dave, you said it better than I ever could.

    You seem to have missed my point entirely. The poor aren’t made poorer by a general decline in the economy. They are also not made poorer by misguided attempts at relief.

    While you worry about raising up the poor – which our economy does naturally for almost 90% of them – I’m much more concerned about not driving hard working folks down into poverty with them. Why is that bad?

    America – the Land of Opportunity – but if you’re poor, you’re screwed because the conservatives don’t give a tinker’s damn about you. (please forgive my language, but this royally ticks me off!)

    Except that it’s all in your head and certainly not in anything I wrote. What conservatives want to give the poor is opportunity to go out and earn a living and get an education and advance themselves. Why is that bad? Plentiful jobs, upward mobility, minimal barriers in their way. That’s how you help the poor and help society at the same time.

    Dave – wanna be a true patriot? Do what is best for ALL Americans, and not just the ones who give the best donations to the GOP coffers! It’s the mindset that YOU just stated that shows the magnitude of the conservatives’ error! THIS MINDSET is precisely why thirty years of conservative economic policy has given us the greatest gap between highest and lowest incomes since the Great Depression!

    But Glenn, in my comment I never said anything about helping out the rich. I talked about helping out the working poor and the middle class. Why is the guy earning $25K a year who might lose his job less important to you than the person who is on public assistance and looking for a job. If the $25K a year guy can’t support his family on his wages because of runaway inflation, or loses his job because businesses shut down then you’ll be worrying about two poor guys instead of one. I can’t believe you’d rather see two people poor than one poor and one at least getting by.

    Conservatives are bound fast to the paradigm that if they help the rich, the rich will invest more and the benefits will ‘trickle down’ to help everyone else…but this has never…NEVER been the case in America’s economic history! It…does…not…work as the past 30 years has shown, so it’s time to change your paradigm! Even GREENSPAN admits that now!

    But this isn’t what I’ve said here, and it’s not necessarily what conservatives believe. On a purely economic basis the best place to insert wealth into the economy is in the middle. Put it in the hands of consumers. Put it in the hands of middle class entrepreneurs who create most of the new jobs in the country.

    On the other hand, if you INCREASE the opportunities for the POOR, if you open the door a little wider and even give them a leg up, there are that many more who will succeed and bring themselves up out of poverty and become part of the middle class! Not only that, but their success means they will spend MORE money, there will be MORE income to state and federal coffers, and the CEO’s and business owners will receive MORE income because the ex-poor are now NOT so poor and have more to spend!

    I agree 100%. And the best way to give them a hand-up is to get them a job, preferably one with some hope for advancement. But jobs don’t come out of nowhere, and if the government is going to be in the job making business the best way to do that is to help out the middle class and upper middle class who make most of the jobs and hire most of the people.

    Is this really so hard to understand? “A rising tide floats ALL boats”, Dave – meaning if you increase the opportunities for ALL Americans, the rich will benefit too!

    How can I disagree, unless you’re setting a very low bar for who is “rich?” As I’ve written before, the super-rich who most of the class-envy is directed at are essentially outside of the domestic economy. Taxing them more or taxing them less is meaningless. They proved that in England in the 1970s. And if you do the math, even if you took all their money away and distributed it to the poor it wouldn’t do more than buy them a couple of meals.

    Give the poor a sincere welcome, greater opportunity, and even a leg up…and what do you get? AMERICA!

    Works for me. So why are unions, their lobbies and the legislators they’ve bought so adamantly opposed to guest worker programs and expanded immigration?

    Dave

  • Cannonshop

    I know this: I’ve worked my ass off to get to a point where I’m earning sixty-one thousand a year, which in 2009 is giving me a lifestyle equal to that I enjoyed when I was starting out at thirty-two thousand a year.

    Make the inflation go faster, and it’s going to be more like what I was living at at nineteen thousand a year, just out of the army.

    Where the hell is MY upward mobility in your model, Glenn?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    You seem to have missed my point entirely. The poor aren’t made poorer by a general decline in the economy. They are also not made poorer by misguided attempts at relief.

    “They aren’t made poorer” – um, Dave, when one can’t get a job because of a general decline in the economy and one’s unemployment benefits run out, one DOES become ‘poorer’. The RELIEF comes from jobs – which the private sector is presently having a very hard time doing. That’s the purpose of the infrastructure sections of the stimulus bill – giving people a chance to work…and even if you want to take Michael Steele’s view that it’s just ‘busy work’, it’s work rebuilding our long-neglected national infrastructure…which (like the CCC projects in the Great Depression) will render benefits for generations to come.

    While you worry about raising up the poor – which our economy does naturally for almost 90% of them – I’m much more concerned about not driving hard working folks down into poverty with them. Why is that bad?

    Um, I’d love to see where you came up with that “90%”. Until I see a reference, I’ll assume that’s a mere baseless assumption. And when it comes to driving hard-working folks down into poverty, I think you’ll find that since most large corporations ALREADY pay no federal taxes, you canNOT use ‘oppressive federal taxes’ as a scapegoat for millions of layoffs in the past year and millions more jobs shipped overseas in the previous three decades of deregulation and tax-cutting.

    Remember, one of America’s strongest economic times was during the 50’s, even though we had a 90+% top marginal tax rate. If one were to listen to the conservatives, that’s a sure-fire recipe for disaster. But there was no disaster – that didn’t happen until the Republicans went on a tax-cutting spree…just like back in the 1920’s….

    Except that it’s all in your head and certainly not in anything I wrote. What conservatives want to give the poor is opportunity to go out and earn a living and get an education and advance themselves. Why is that bad? Plentiful jobs, upward mobility, minimal barriers in their way. That’s how you help the poor and help society at the same time.

    ‘Conservatives want to help’. What a compassionate way to say ‘tough love’. Now ‘tough love’ isn’t always bad – I like deadbeats about as much as you do. However, IMO most conservatives use the ‘tough love’ approach as their excuse to not have to do anything at all for the poor! After all, how often do you see Republicans really go to any effort to organize poor minority communities to increase their access to education and health care? Instead, it’s “let them eat tax cuts!” When I see REAL compassion and REAL effort by the Republican elite to spend actual face time inside the ghetto to help better the lives of those trapped in poverty (90% get out of poverty, you say?), THEN I’ll believe there’s such a thing as compassionate conservatism…but not before.

    But Glenn, in my comment I never said anything about helping out the rich. I talked about helping out the working poor and the middle class. Why is the guy earning $25K a year who might lose his job less important to you than the person who is on public assistance and looking for a job. If the $25K a year guy can’t support his family on his wages because of runaway inflation, or loses his job because businesses shut down then you’ll be worrying about two poor guys instead of one. I can’t believe you’d rather see two people poor than one poor and one at least getting by.

    That’s good rhetoric – but you’re making a grand assumption that (1) I care about one less than the other and (2) that whatever the Obama administration is doing, it must be worse than what the conservatives have done for nearly thirty years. Are you really insisting that even more tax cuts are the way to go when the past three decades (and the years preceding the Great Depression) all indicate strongly to the contrary?

    Dave, I suggest that, just as you had the courage to change your mind about political matters in the past, find the courage to admit to yourself that what’s been ‘business as usual’ for the past three decades is what’s landed us in this mess…and doing more of the same will NOT get us out of it.

    But [trickle-down economics] isn’t what I’ve said here, and it’s not necessarily what conservatives believe. On a purely economic basis the best place to insert wealth into the economy is in the middle. Put it in the hands of consumers. Put it in the hands of middle class entrepreneurs who create most of the new jobs in the country.

    Incredible. TDE “isn’t necessarily what conservatives believe”? Actually, that’s RIGHT. Because there are some conservatives – like Ah-nold (and Bush 41) – who discovered that there IS such a thing as cutting taxes too deeply.

    But you insinuate that we’re not trying to help the middle class! Have you not read the infrastructure support projects? Are those not golden opportunities for the small businessman to work with the government and/or larger corporations and hopefully make a profit doing it? When a small contractor gets a bid to work on the high-speed rails or any of the other hundreds of projects in the plan, you don’t think life will get better for him and for everyone that he would hire?

    Dave, the SOCIAL initiatives are for the poor. The INFRASTRUCTURE initiatives are golden opportunities for the middle class and small businesses.

    I agree 100%. And the best way to give them a hand-up is to get them a job, preferably one with some hope for advancement. But jobs don’t come out of nowhere, and if the government is going to be in the job making business the best way to do that is to help out the middle class and upper middle class who make most of the jobs and hire most of the people.

    And THAT is why the Obama administration insisted on the INFRASTRUCTURE improvements in the bill. The SOCIAL initiatives are for the poor. Speaking of which, I believe you when you said how you’ve struggled in the past. However (assuming you’re white), I strongly doubt that you can compare your struggle to that faced by those minorities trapped in inner-city poverty. You canNOT compare your experience to theirs. On the other hand, those who DID rise up out of the ghettos are quite enthusiastic about social programs to help those still in the ghettos. Whose experience should be more applicable – yours? Or theirs?

    How can I disagree, unless you’re setting a very low bar for who is “rich?” As I’ve written before, the super-rich who most of the class-envy is directed at are essentially outside of the domestic economy. Taxing them more or taxing them less is meaningless. They proved that in England in the 1970s. And if you do the math, even if you took all their money away and distributed it to the poor it wouldn’t do more than buy them a couple of meals.

    Hm – if we took all the money away from the rich…let’s examine that statement! “In 2007, the richest 5% of Americans paid over half of federal income taxes. The top 1% of income earners pay 25% of total income taxes.” That was from the Wikipeda, with the top marginal tax rate be 35%.

    But we DON’T want to take away their money! What we DO want is the realization that historically speaking, 35% is LOW, and that periods of low top marginal tax rates preceded fiscal crises, whereas periods of HIGH top marginal tax rates, our economy has performed just fine!

    Sorry, Dave, but those are the HISTORICAL FACTS. Whatever your rhetoric and principles may be, those are the HISTORICAL FACTS…and the conservatives are proving yet once more that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

    Works for me. So why are unions, their lobbies and the legislators they’ve bought so adamantly opposed to guest worker programs and expanded immigration?

    ‘Scuse me, but legislators on BOTH sides of the aisle are howling about immigrants! How about taking a more comprehensive look before making such blanket statements, hm?

    “Republicans and Democrats take different approaches on the subject of immigration. The Republican Party Platform supports border security and employment enforcement, but not amnesty or legalization, while McCain himself supports a pathway to citizenship, which he carefully terms as “addressing the undocumented.” The Democratic Party Platform supports comprehensive immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship, but remained silent on the border fence, while Obama and Biden both initially supported the border fence and additional security, while remaining fairly quiet on the subject today. On these issues where the candidates adopt a stance different from their respective party’s stance, the candidates actually meet. They also meet on employment eligibility verification and enforcement against employers, but Obama thinks that enforcement against the undocumented workers themselves is expensive and ineffective when the employer has no sanctions and can just go out and hire a new batch of workers ready to take the places of the deported workers. The candidates all seem to agree on the need for comprehensive immigration reform, while McCain’s earlier ardent support of the comprehensive immigration reform bill waned when seeking the Republican Party nomination.”

    In other words, both sides support legal immigration…but they take wildly different positions on illegal aliens. Republicans – like you – base their opinion more on principle than on pragmatism by opposing any consideration of amnesty.

    Democrats, OTOH, are more pragmatic. We KNOW we’ll never get rid of eleven million illegal immigrants and destroy the Californian economy by doing so. So we are more open to amnesty.

    Frankly, in MY opinion, I’m all for amnesty for those with spotless records…but ONLY if a fence is built to stanch the daily flood of illegal aliens. It won’t stop all, but that would cut it down by half or even three quarters.

    In summary, in most fights between principle and pragmatism, pragmatism will prevail.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Glenn/Dave:

    In my opinion, you’re all over the map in your #55 and 57. Why don’t you narrow the subject down to one particular principle or issue and discuss it in depth. I know it’s all connect, but I’d try to find the core of the disagreement and go from there. As things stand, it’s not just that it is hard to follow but the entire discussion tends to be scattered – like trying to score on points.

    Roger

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    I was thinking the same thing, but the exercise allowed me to identify something that I posted in the other thread: the main difference between Dave and myself is that he puts principle before pragmatism, whereas I feel pragmatism must be paramount in the determination of what should and should not be done. You can see that difference nearly every one of our discussions.

    And just while I was typing this, I was listening to the radio and Nancy Pelosi was speaking about the necessity to ‘marry’ principle with pragmatism! Hm…and perhaps the offspring would be…’Prankenstein’? Owww…..

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Glenn, I’m all about pragmatism. I just don’t agree with what you think is pragmatic in a lot of these cases. Your pragmatism seems formed largely by ideology and wishful thinking.

    Um, I’d love to see where you came up with that “90%”. Until I see a reference, I’ll assume that’s a mere baseless assumption.t

    That seems singularly ungracious. I based it off of the 1998 CBO study of income mobility, which has about 86.5 of people in the lowest income quintile moving up in income in the course of their working life. Your query caused me to go out and look and discover that the CBO has finally issued a new study which suggests that income mobility is considerably better now than it was in the 90s, with about 55% moving out of the bottom quintile in a decade and 91% moving up in 30 years.

    And when it comes to driving hard-working folks down into poverty, I think you’ll find that since most large corporations ALREADY pay no federal taxes, you canNOT use ‘oppressive federal taxes’ as a scapegoat for millions of layoffs in the past year and millions more jobs shipped overseas in the previous three decades of deregulation and tax-cutting.

    It’s actually quite a small number of corporations which pay little or no federal taxes, but the problem is that so long as our tax rates are the highest in the world more and more smaller companies will try to join them by offshoring.

    Remember, one of America’s strongest economic times was during the 50’s, even though we had a 90+% top marginal tax rate. If one were to listen to the conservatives, that’s a sure-fire recipe for disaster. But there was no disaster – that didn’t happen until the Republicans went on a tax-cutting spree…just like back in the 1920’s….

    Money given to the government never produces prosperity, so at worst a high tax rate is bad for the economy and at best it’s irrelevant because those it applies to find ways to hide their money. So why engage in the hypocrisy?

    ‘Want to help’. What a compassionate way to say ‘tough love’. Now ‘tough love’ isn’t always bad – I like deadbeats about as much as you do. However, IMO most conservatives use the ‘tough love’ approach as their excuse to not have to do anything at all for the poor! After all, how often do you see Republicans really go to any effort to organize poor minority communities to increase their access to education and health care?

    Again, you engage in stereotyping based on prejudices rather than engaging with reality. Republicans/Conservatives do a great deal on a local level to help out people in their communities through private charity. Why is charity better when it’s delivered by government?

    Instead, it’s “let’them eat tax cuts!” When I see REAL compassion and REAL effort by the Republican elite to spend actual face time inside the ghetto to help better the lives of those trapped in poverty (90% get out of poverty, you say?), THEN I’ll believe there’s such a thing as compassionate conservatism…but not before.

    I’ve cited the studies before. Conservatives are by far more involved in charitable giving and volunteering than those who consider themselves liberal.

    That’s good rhetoric – but you’re making a grand assumption that (1) I care about one less than the other and (2) that whatever the Obama administration is doing, it must be worse than what the conservatives have done for nearly thirty years.

    It’s pretty much the same policy as the last 20 years, and it’s not a conservative policy and never ha been.

    Are you really insisting that even more tax cuts are the way to go when the past three decades (and the years preceding the Great Depression) all indicate strongly to the contrary?

    Except that there’s no evidence of this at all. Between 1913 and 1929 the top marginal tax rate went up from 7% to 25%. Then if anything the depression was accelerated by the increase of the top marginal rate abruptly to 63% in 1932. And FDR kept raising it and the depression kept getting worse and worse until it was ultiamtely up to 94%.

    In the 1950s tax rates were lowered substantially for most taxpayers. While the top rate was only lowered from 94% to 91%, the rate for someone earning $20,000 a year went down from 56% to 38%. So your decade of prosperity was characterized by lower taxes, not higher taxes.

    Dave, I suggest that, just as you had the courage to change your mind about political matters in the past, find the courage to admit to yourself that what’s been ‘business as usual’ for the past three decades is what’s landed us in this mess…and doing more of the same will NOT get us out of it.

    Sure, if you’ll admit that what’s been done in the economy in that period has largely not been conservative and that what Obama wants to do is largely more of the same.

    But you insinuate that we’re not trying to help the middle class! Have you not read the infrastructure support projects? Are those not golden opportunities for the small businessman to work with the government and/or larger corporations and hopefully make a profit doing it? When a small contractor gets a bid to work on the high-speed rails or any of the other hundreds of projects in the plan, you don’t think life will get better for him and for everyone that he would hire?

    Short term jobs at relatively low wages. Jobs most Americans aren’t interested in or even looking for. Good for the Mexican immigrant population, though. Maybe we can persuade them to come back.

    On the other hand, those who DID rise up out of the ghettos are quite enthusiastic about social programs to help those still in the ghettos. Whose experience should be more applicable – yours? Or theirs

    You ought to get out and talk to some of those former ghetto residents before you make this sort of assumption. The left’s talking points on this sort of issue are based more on their wishful thinking than on reality.

    Hm – if we took all the money away from the rich…let’s examine that statement! “In 2007, the richest 5% of Americans paid over half of federal income taxes. The top 1% of income earners pay 25% of total income taxes.” That was from the Wikipeda, with the top marginal tax rate be 35%.

    Do you realize that the top 5% includes incomes down to as low as about $150K a year, which is hardly rich by any stretch of the imagination.

    But we DON’T want to take away their money! What we DO want is the realization that historically speaking, 35% is LOW, and that periods of low top marginal tax rates preceded fiscal crises, whereas periods of HIGH top marginal tax rates, our economy has performed just fine!

    Except that the top marginal tax rate is not what matters and if you look at more typical incomes, it is high rates at those levels which precede economic crises.

    Sorry, Dave, but those are the HISTORICAL FACTS.

    In some cases the wrong facts and in others ones where causality has not been proven.

    Whatever your rhetoric and principles may be, those are the HISTORICAL FACTS…and the conservatives are proving yet once more that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

    What is being repeated here is the massive, unwarranted spending of the Bush administration.

    ‘Scuse me, but legislators on BOTH sides of the aisle are howling about immigrants! How about taking a more comprehensive look before making such blanket statements, hm?

    And I disagree with both factions on this issue.

    A border fence is a ludicrous waste of money. The only ways to stop illegal immigration are to make jobs available here legally under a large-scale guest worker program and to work to improve wages and conditions in Mexico.

    Dave

  • JudiBug

    I hope by rightists, I do hope you don’t mean the lousy Republican Party and conservatives.

    I’m an independent, part Libertarian and whatever else I think makes common sense. I would like to see drugs legalized for adults to defund criminality and drug cartels instead of a durn invasion of Mexico, and I would like the federal government to stop overrunning our state, making us pay for a highway none of us want or need (corridor) while at the same time very giving little aid, much less representation.

    Sorry, but some of us are just a little tired of being fed a bunch of lies and led around by the nose by politicians (ALL BIG PARTIES)who are only out to help themselves, and you can’t put us in some pigeon hole according to the dogma of your political religion to make yourself feel cozy, because we don’t swallow that garbage.

    Thanks.

    Thanks.

  • BlueBonnie

    Someone please tell us everything that is in this bill that is going to help the economy. Don’t post a link….just say from your own personal knowledge of the content of this bill, what is in it that will save us from this mess?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Blue, this bill is NOT going to save the economy. It’s going to spend a lot of money, produce a very few jobs, pay off special interests and cause hyperinflation. Have fun.

    Dave

  • Arch Conservative

    “America – the Land of Opportunity – but if you’re poor, you’re screwed because the conservatives don’t give a tinker’s damn about you. (please forgive my language, but this royally ticks me off!)”

    Yeah that would be a telling tale that spoke pretty ill of conservatives Glenn………..if it were true. But it’s not.

    Every major study of charitable giving that’s been done shows that red states where the majority of citizens tend to be more conservative, give far more in charitable donations than do blue states where progressives/liberals such as yourself and your mythology that you’re the only compassionate ones rule the day.

    But hey…….Glenn………..please don’t let anything as trivial as the truth get in the way of your little rants. [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

  • BlueBonnie

    Bank of Omerica has a new policy. Any bank account with excess funds will be used to cover the funds in overdrawn accounts. Also, they will use any remaining funds to open accounts for those who don’t have an account. Anybody want to open an account with B.O.?

  • Arch Conservative

    I hope the editors of BC realize that by removing my alleged personal attack on Glenn they’re actually hurting him and not me.

    Because the comments were removed Glenn will not be able to document them as evidence when he files a 4 billion dollar lawsuit against me because I offended him.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    But with it deleted we can all imagine what you said and come up with even better insults.

    Dave

  • Arch Conservative

    Well Dave it wasn’t even that creative and and it was so mild that it could barely be construed as a personal attack so you’re not missing much.

    But I’d rather people pay attention to the meat of that post which was basically me pointing out that assertions of Glenn and other liberals that conservatives are all heartless bastards just don’t jibe with reality.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    BlueBonnie @ #65: My credit union does that already, and has for years.

    Archie @ #66: Firstly, LOL. Secondly, whatever it was you said may have been pretty mild but your track record has earned you the ‘privilege’ of being edited more strictly than most other commenters.

  • Cindy

    Glenn,

    …conservatives don’t give a tinker’s damn about you. (please forgive my language…)

    Could you please watch that shit…what the fuck do you think this is–a locker room?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Besides, the actual phrase is “a tinker’s dam.”

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Which is a pretty ugly expression, when you think about it.

    Is it the Oakland Raiders’ locker room, perchance?

  • mikeylikesit

    handy: “This is an emergency bill, intended to be temporary. The states’ rights bullshit is irrelevant.”

    Ummm…yes, the spending only lasts a couple years, with some of the long-term infrastructure projects lasting longer. However, the debt is not temporary.

    Nor is the social agenda.

    Nor are the spending commitments that will linger after the stimulus bill expires, requiring more appropriations.

    If Obama had been honest, he would have simply labeled this his “budget” and been done with it. Instead, he marketed it as an emergency stimulus bill, and went ahead and pushed through a lot of spending under the radar than never would have sailed in a normal budget bill.

    Cash-strapped states, too, would be smart to reject this money…for economic reasons. The stimulus bill funds or partially funds a lot of programs, including outlays in welfare that roll back the ’90s welfare reform that even Bill Clinton takes credit for. For the couple years that the stimulus bill funds, states will be OK. After that, states will have committed themselves to spending programs, and the certainty of federal funding vanishes.

    And should states like California and elsewhere who are facing huge deficits plug their budgets with the stimulus money? Suppose a year or two from now that the economy is still in the doldrums, which is a real possibility. Instead of having made the painful cuts now, those states will be facing even more painful cuts in their next budget cycles.

    The better option might be to turn down the money now, make the necessary adjustments to the state budgets to keep the states solvent, and avoid entangling the states in a lot of spending commitments and social programs that could come back to cost the states billions in a few years.

    Of course, the argument against rejecting funds is also strong. Taxpayers in the state will have to pay that money to the federal government anyway, so wouldn’t it be better just to take the money so that those tax dollars don’t leave the state?

    But then with TARP, tax dollars from every other state seem to be flowing to the financial centers like New York, so it’s not like taxpayers in most states aren’t seeing their dollars fly elsewhere already.

  • Robert (WYOMING)

    The news media isn’t on the rights of americans citizens and they only encourage unjust laws against law abiding citizens. State soverieghty is the way to protect the citizens and states. The 1st and 2nd amend is under fire and needs protected. The 2nd amend is now incorprated to the 14th amend as of april 20, 2009, thanks to the 9th circuit court