Monday, October 27, 2008

Obama Redistributionist Ideas

Would this video have made a difference if aired two weeks ago? Maybe.

Will it make a difference now? Maybe.

Here is the thing, most of Americans know the economy is in the toilet. Most Americans could use a little help and would probably take that help from the government if from no-one else.

However, I do believe that most Americans don't really subscribe to a total "Robin Hood-style, steal from the rich to give to the poor" mentality. I do believe that most Americans want to at least have the promise of a better time ahead and a certain segment of the population is willing to suffer the bad times for the short term in order to see better times in the long term.

But the larger issue is whether enough people will understand what this means and how it informs how Obama thinks and feels about the role of government in our lives.

Obama looks at the Constitution as a document of negative rights, i.e. it lists the things government can't do to you. Fine, in so far as it goes, but Obama says the document doesn't say what government may do for you. Well, that is also true, to a certain extent.

What Obama is forgetting is that the Constitution, and the state constitutions as well, were written from a viewpoint of limited government, i.e. these are not only the things government can't do to you, but this is the list of the things government is permitted to do.

What has happened through the mechanism of the spending power and the commerce clause, is that the federal government has taken what was supposed to be a very limited scope of power and expanded it to encompass just about anything it wants. How did that happen, oh, yeah, the Courts. Including, I might add, the Warren Court.

Interesting listening though.

1 comment:

dweir said...

"Obama says the document doesn't say what government may do for you."

You are too kind.

He doesn't use the soft conditional "may." He uses the language of mandate -- "what the government must do for you on your behalf."

A minor difference in words. A huge difference in meaning.