by Mario Rizzo
This is more an intellectual experiment than a normal post. What I am asking you to do is to clear your mind of its cobwebs. Just “marvel” at the contrast between the classic statements of the limits of the federal government and the recent report in the Wall Street Journal:
“The U.S. pay czar will cut in half the average compensation for 175 employees at firms receiving large sums of government aid, with the vast majority of salaries coming in under $500,000, according to people familiar with the government’s plans.
As expected, the biggest cut will be to salaries, which will drop by 90% on average. Kenneth Feinberg, the Treasury Department’s special master for compensation, also intends to demand a host of corporate governance changes at those firms.”
I am not here concerned with whether this is a good idea but I am simply in a state of naïve wonderment that we got to the point where this is legally possible.
Consider now the classic limited-government statements:
1. Powers given to Congress: “To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.” (U.S. Constitution, Article I, sec.8, emphasis added.)
Comment: The list contains no reference to bailouts or pay czars.
2. “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” (U.S. Constitution, Tenth Amendment)
3. James Madison, the Father of our Constitution, clarified the authority of the federal government in the Federalist Papers #45: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.”
I know the constitutional history but sometimes you just can’t believe it.
This is the world we lost.