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Yes, I get it, whining and crying about the mean ol’ federal government is great politics for the teabagger lumpenproles. So I don’t really get all bent out of shape when Republicans whine and cry about the mean ol’ federal government.
But when Republican lawmakers make the step over the line into lying to their constituents about what the Constitution says on the issue, that’s when I get pissed. Why? For one, because they are currently putting on a huge melodramatic kabuki play about how they are the only true defenders of the Constitution.
With all that in mind, are you interested in hearing about a new bit of Tenther idiocy? Here’s Utah Senator Mike Lee on child labor:
Congress decided it wanted to prohibit [child labor], so it passed a law—no more child labor. The Supreme Court heard a challenge to that and the Supreme Court decided a case in 1918 called Hammer v. Dagenhardt. In that case, the Supreme Court acknowledged something very interesting — that, as reprehensible as child labor is, and as much as it ought to be abandoned — that’s something that has to be done by state legislators, not by Members of Congress. [...]
This may sound harsh, but it was designed to be that way. It was designed to be a little bit harsh. Not because we like harshness for the sake of harshness, but because we like a clean division of power, so that everybody understands whose job it is to regulate what.
Now, we got rid of child labor, notwithstanding this case. So the entire world did not implode as a result of that ruling.
As usual, this Republican Senator is only telling the part of the story that he likes:
The Constitution gives Congress the power “[t]o regulate commerce…among the several states,” and to “make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution” this power to regulate commerce. Even ultraconservative Justice Antonin Scalia agrees that these powers give Congress broad authority to regulate “economic activity” such as hiring and firing. Which explains why the Supreme Court unanimously overruled Hammer v. Daggenhardt in a 1941 decision called United States v. Darby.
Moreover, Lee is simply wrong to claim that child labor magically disappeared after the Supreme Court rendered Congress powerless to prevent it. The reason why exploitative child labor has largely disappeared is because Congress placed very strict limits on child labor when it enacted the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, and the constitutional cloud over this law was removed three years later when the Court overruled Lee’s pet decision.
I really don’t understand what within the modern Republican soul makes them so reflexively defensive of oppressive corporate excess vis a vis the federal government.
Yes, I understand that it is good politics among the teabagger base to lay out a case for why the mean ol’ federal government should get out of the business of banning child labor (!!).
What I don’t get is why the teabagger base finds such mendacious demagoguery so damn appealing.
What else might affect the economy? The answer is obvious, but its implications are frightening. War and peace influence the economy.No David, the answer isn’t obvious, as you suggest. It’s literally insane! First, who among us would make the argument that our $2 trillion wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, coupled with a ruinous set of tax cuts, made our economy stronger? Unlike what your failing geriatric memories tell you war-waging was like back in the Good Ol’ Days, Modern American Warfare™ doesn’t involve millions of Rosie The Riveters fanning out all across the country to flood desperately needed cash into hundreds of communities. Nowadays, the weapon systems have already been paid for and the only place where trillions of dollars get funneled is into the hands of corrupt overseas officials and the coffers of a select few War Contractors (e.g., Xe nee Blackwater and Halliburton).
Look back at FDR and the Great Depression. What finally resolved that economic crisis? World War II.
Here is where Obama is likely to prevail. With strong Republican support in Congress for challenging Iran’s ambition to become a nuclear power, he can spend much of 2011 and 2012 orchestrating a showdown with the mullahs. This will help him politically because the opposition party will be urging him on. And as tensions rise and we accelerate preparations for war, the economy will improve.
I am not suggesting, of course, that the president incite a war to get reelected. But the nation will rally around Obama because Iran is the greatest threat to the world in the young century. If he can confront this threat and contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions, he will have made the world safer and may be regarded as one of the most successful presidents in history.
Not to mention the fact that the only way to spark your magic economy-fixing solution is to, you know, go to war with Iran. And leave no doubt, when we talk about going to war with Iran, we are talking about the killing of hundreds of thousands of people (mostly Iranian but also American)!
I especially loved this bit at the end: “I am not suggesting, of course, that the president incite a war to get reelected.” Noooooo, of course not! You’re only suggesting that Obama incite a war in order to make Americans fat and happy again. That’s so much less offensive than the idea of murdering hundreds of thousands of people for political reasons! How gauche!
What kind of a sociopath just whimsically tosses out cynical people-killing bullshit like this?
Or, as Matt Duss puts it:
Leaving aside the ridiculous idea that we can just ramp up the war machine, whip America into an anti-Iran frenzy and then shut it all down once the economy’s back on track, there’s the question of basic human decency. Especially in light of what has just occurred in Iraq, what kind of moral degenerate seriously suggests we get ready to do it again in neighboring Iran, just as a way to spur job growth?
The kind who writes a regular column in the Washington Post, apparently.
For your consideration, check out the ever-charming Ben Stein on how most of the desperately unemployed are just valueless, shitty workers and deserve what they’re getting:
The people who have been laid off and cannot find work are generally people with poor work habits and poor personalities. I say “generally” because there are exceptions. But in general, as I survey the ranks of those who are unemployed, I see people who have overbearing and unpleasant personalities and/or who do not know how to do a day’s work. They are people who create either little utility or negative utility on the job. Again, there are powerful exceptions and I know some, but when employers are looking to lay off, they lay off the least productive or the most negative. To assure that a worker is not one of them, he should learn how to work and how to get along — not always easy.
Yeah, I’m reaalll sure that multimillionaire, NYC-livin’ Ben Stein is routinely exposed to all those unemployed, unwashed masses he’s passing judgment on en masse.
Just a thought: In order to become part of the permanent, conservative Elect, do you have to undergo a ritualistic heart-ectomy to get initiated?
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