Skip to comments.Unprecedented Presidential Posturing (Peter Schiff)
Posted on 04/13/2012 8:21:26 PM PDT by sickoflibs
Last week, responding to President Obama's latest populist assault on the wealthy, I issued a commentary in which I explained why his ideas about American economic history were fundamentally flawed. As dangerous and erroneous as those views are, at least I can cut the President some slack for commenting on a subject in which he really has no basis for expertise. Hailing from academia and local community organizing, Barack Obama likely did not spend huge amounts of time boning up on economic history. However, there are other subjects where he should find firmer footing. Constitutional law certainly comes to mind. After all, Obama rose to national prominence based on his status as a legal scholar. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was elected president of the prestigious Harvard Law Review. He went on to teach constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School, one of the top ranked schools in the country.
Based on these achievements, it is simply stunning that he made so many fundamental errors last week in his analysis of the Supreme Court's review of his sweeping health care legislation. Not only did he make grossly inaccurate statements with regards to the health care legislation, and the history of Supreme Court decisions that relate to it, but he also showed little understanding of the very purpose that the Court serves within the constitutional framework of the U.S. government. These remarks either indicate that a Harvard degree isn't worth the paper it's written on or that there is nothing Obama won't say to advance his political agenda.
In his apparently off-the-cuff remarks he stated that "I'm confident that the Supreme Court will not take what will be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress." Before even turning to the more nuanced parts of that statement, I would ask the President what he considers to be a "strong majority?" His health care legislation (dubbed "Obamacare" by Republicans), passed the House of Representatives in March 2010 on a nearly party line vote of 220-221 (some would call this result "a squeaker.") What's more, just six months later, the slim majority that voted to pass the legislation was voted out of existence. Not only would the law stand no chance of passage in the current Congress, the majority of Americans still show misgivings about the expansion of federal power that the law involves. So much for a groundswell of national support. But that's just the appetizer.
Obama claimed that it would be "unprecedented" for the Supreme Court to overturn a law passed by Congress. Is he kidding? Every seventh or eighth grader who has taken a civics course knows that the Supreme Court acts as a check on the executive and legislative branches of government (who can often disregard the Constitution in their quests for votes and power). The intent of the framers of the constitution was affirmed in 1803 by the landmark case "Marbury v. Madison" in which Chief Justice John Marshall established the doctrine of "judicial review," whereby the Court can strike down any law that it feels to be unconstitutional. Is it possible that they never got around to that case at Harvard?
Since Marbury the Supreme Court has undone sweeping economic policies many times. Perhaps the most significant example was in 1895 when the Income Tax Act of 1894 was undone by Pollock v. Farmers Loan and Trust. By ruling that the new income tax did not conform to the taxing powers delegated in the Constitution, the Supreme Court derailed the revenue seeking agenda of the federal government. Proponents of the tax had to revert to the constitutional amendment process, a workaround that took 18 years and ultimately resulted in the 16th Amendment.
Forty years after Pollock the Supreme Court struck again when it invalidated the National Recovery Act (NRA), Franklin Roosevelt's signature piece of Depression Era legislation. The NRA was truly an "unprecedented" intrusion into the commercial lives of Americans which injected U.S. government micromanagement into almost every facet of commercial activity. It told merchants and industries how much they could charge for particular products, how much they should pay workers, how long workers could work, how employers could negotiate with unions, and established "codes of fair competition" for all business to follow.
In a unanimous decision in the 1935 Schechter Poultry Corp v. United States, the Supreme Court threw out the NRA. The Court ruled that the Act's draconian economic engineering was too broad an interpretation of the Constitution's infamous "commerce clause." After the ruling, Justice Louis Brendeis (not known for his strict adherence to conservative constitutional interpretation) famously remarked to a presidential aide, "This is the end of this business of centralization, and I want you to go back and tell the President that we're not going to let this government centralize everything." Wow, President Obama, now that's a whole lot of precedent.
What is perhaps even more shocking than Obama's ignorance on these subjects is the media's reluctance to really hold his feet to the fire. Imagine if Sarah Palin had made similarly ignorant statements during the presidential campaign of 2008. She would have been absolutely crucified in the press for her lack of understanding of the basics of federal checks and balances. But Sarah Palin would have had an excuse, she was a sports reporter, turned small town mayor, turned one-term governor of Alaska. She never taught a class in constitutional law at an elite law school.
Although subsequent statements by the President and his spokespeople have attempted to "clarify" (and soften) his originally indefensible remarks, the impression he made will be hard to erase. My hope is that his attempt to intimidate the court into upholding his law will backfire, and what is left of judicial independence will save us from Obama's impractical health care plan. If so we will have John Marshall to thank.
If you realize both parties in Washington think that our money is theirs and you trust them to do the wrong thing, this list is for you.
If you think there is a Santa Claus that has some magic easy cure for the economy; someone who is going to get elected in Washington and fix everything just by cutting your taxes, investing (more government spending) a few trillion more we don't have and will never have, and who will just command some countries to lower their prices and others to raise their prices all to suit your best interests, then this list is not for you.
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The Austrian Economics Schools Commandments plus :From : link
1) You cannot spend your way out of a recession
2) You cannot regulate the economy into oblivion and expect it to function
3) You cannot tax people and businesses to the point of near slavery and expect them to keep producing
4) You cannot create an abundance of money out of thin air without making all that paper worthless
5) The government cannot make up for rising unemployment by just hiring all the out of work people to be bureaucrats or send them unemployment checks forever
6) You cannot live beyond your means indefinitely
7) The economy must actually produce something others are willing to buy
8) Every government bureaucrat should keep the following motto in mind when attempting to influence the economy: First, do no harm!
9) Central bank-supported fractional reserve banking is an economically distorting, ethically questionable activity. In particular, no government should ever do anything to save any bank from the full consequences of a bank run, no matter what the short-term consequences.
10) Gold is Gods money.
1) Businesses don't hire workers just because of demand for products or services, they hire because it makes them money. Sorry to have to state the obvious.
2) Government spending without taxing is still redistribution
3) Taking one man's money and giving it to another is not a job.
4) Paul Krugman and Bernake have been wrong about everything, as well as the other best and brightest Keynesian's who have been fixing our economy for over a decade.
5) Republicans in the minority (esp out of the White House) act like Republicans, in the majority they act like Democrats .
Equity bubble rules:
1)If something goes up too fast, it is going down faster,
2) By the time it looks like everybody is getting rich, its too late, stay out!
3) To get rich you have to get in early start of recovery and get out at the first really 'bad' news, and ignore the experts that claim that they will stop the next crash(our buddy Bernake.).
4) Don't invest money you will probably need, or worse money you don't really have.
Good read. Thanks.
Obama is brilliant.
Obama graduated from Harvard law magna cum laude because he is brilliant.
Obama became a Constitutional Law Professor at prestigious Chicago u.
We have only Obama's and the media's word as to his brilliance and that his brilliance led to his election to Harvard law Review. There is nothing to support these premises because it has all been battened down--for a reason?
He was a part time lecturer in Constitutional law at Chicago, not a professor. And from what I have heard him say about the Constitution--it is a list of negative rights, written by old dead white men and needs to be rewritten--he is just regurgitating what is being taught at Harvard Law by professors like Obama's former idol, Derrick Bell.
Obamna was invented by people like Soros and Wm. Ayers and is a practiced vaudevillian performer when not admiring himself and contemplating his navel.
Ten million Saudi petrodollars buys a lot of juice in academic eyewash country.
You whining is unnecessary. Schiff Nuked Obama. We can only dream that Republicans communicate like this.
The fact that we send so many idiots to congress instead of men/women like Schiff explains the sorry state of our nation.
Anyone who starts with unproved information (Obama at Harvsrd and Chicago) how can you believe anyting else he say?
Where is the evidence of the “magna cum laude”?
This is the first I've seen this.
Everything about Obama is a sham and has been manufactured. I’d wager if the truth of who and what he is ever comes out, even half the sheeple will be shocked. Can you imagine someone who held those prestigious positions at harvard having the vocabulary and vernacular that this rabble rouser exhibits?
In the vernacular of my youth in Carolina, “If he ain’t tha dumbest clown I ever seen he’ll damned shore run a close second.”
I do not think Obama is brilliant, especially not as intelligent as he is constantly given credit for.
Then Schiff says some good things, but belabors the point from ACCEPTING the given liberal premises--"Obama is a brilliant legal scholar".
I see signs of Obama's tenacious, narcississtic belief that he can declare black is white and make it so; I do not see brilliance; I see practiced sophistry. I see a pundit on our side stating facts, but coming at them from the point or premise set by the left--Obama is soooo brilliant, so intellectual, so learned.
Even stating the obvious facts/flaws from the point of view that Obama is brilliant doesn't expose the man. It strokes him, because Obama and his admin already know these facts. They simply present their premises, and the end result is Repubs seem to be knocking this absolutely most brilliant, intellectual being ever to grace the WH--and he dresses well, too, and is sooo likable.I simply find these "known truthes" to be a play conceived, enacted,and praised to fool the public, and our side premises EVERYTHING with how brilliant this man is but "he is in over his head", "he simply does not understand", he is sooo likable, but wrong", etc. I find none of these "Known" facts about Obama to be true.
If you don’t think Schiff wrote those lines with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek, you need to reread the article.
B U M P
With all due respect and deerence to Mr. Schiff, I would suggest we owe a lot more to Justice Brandeis.
In addition to being more "contemporary," his words seem to address not only the megalomania of the "great" grabber, Roosevelt, but also fit Obama's signature achievement :
After the ruling, Justice Louis Brendeis (not known for his strict adherence to conservative constitutional interpretation) famously remarked to a presidential aide, "This is the end of this business of centralization, and I want you to go back and tell the President that we're not going to let this government centralize everything."