He's taxing imports coming into the US. It's well within the power of the president.
It is nothing of the sort. I give you, first, the relevant sections of the Constitution as pertain to the specific powers of the Congress...
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States...To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes...To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures... (From Article I, Section 8)
And, where it specifies the powers or privileges of the President viz legislation:
He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.
There you have it. There is nothing in the Supreme Law Of The Land which empowers the President to, in effect, legislate on his own as regards the power of the tariff (if you will, duties, imposts and excises) - or anything else, for that matter...just because the President can recommend a package of legislation does not bind or require Congress to give it even one minute of consideration; it is a recommendation alone, being that the specified legislative power is granted to Congress.
The executive order, if I am not mistaken, was supposed to be limited strictly to the administration of the various divisions of the executive branch of government and not - as was so often remarked during Bill Clinton's rather shameless flouting of the Constitution by way of executive order - as a lawmaking device. I have frankly found it tirelessly fascinating to see instances in which a President whom we (properly) despise receives our denunciation for such misdeployment of the executive order as precisely a flouting of the Constitution ("Stroke of the pen - law of the land"), yet a President whom we respect receives our acquittal for committing the same misdeployment which performs the same flouting of the Constitution.
Incidentally, if you really think the effect of a tariff upon consumers is merely a trickle-down effect (remember: Mr. and Mrs. America buying that new car or electric mixer or whatever it is they're buying that is made in whole or in part from steel, are not the only steel consumers - those who make the products are also steel consumers, and they will be having to pay a price above proper market value for the steel, and guess how they're going to cushion that price hike?), I would invite you to have a review of the infamous Smoot-Hawley Tariff. You know - the one which lit the wick on that powder keg which became the Great Depression and sentenced us to the New Deal...
I caught my error in the next post concerning power of the president.
Still the trickle down is irrelevant. I'm persoanlly not that thrilled with the tariff but the intention is to force domestic buyers to buy domestically. The trickle down effect applies there as well. What effect is greater depends upon which economist you talk to.
posted on 03/18/2002 9:35:57 PM PST
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