Politics & Policy

So Much for ‘We the People’

This administration has used many different ploys to circumvent the people’s right to debate their nation’s laws.

‘We the people” are the central concern of the Constitution, as well as its opening words, since it is a Constitution for a self-governing nation. But “we the people” are treated as an obstacle to circumvent by the current administration in Washington.

One way of circumventing the people is to rush legislation through Congress so fast that no one knows what is buried in it. Did you know that the so-called health-care-reform bill contained a provision creating a tax on people who buy and sell gold coins?

You might debate whether that tax is a good or a bad idea. But the whole point of burying it in legislation about medical insurance is to make sure “we the people” don’t even know about it, much less have a chance to debate it, before it becomes law.

#ad#Did you know that the huge financial-reform bill that has been similarly rushed through Congress, too fast for anyone to read it, has a provision about “inclusion” of women and minorities? Pretty words like “inclusion” mean ugly realities like quotas. But that too is not something that “we the people” are to be allowed to debate, because it too was sneaked through.

Not since the Norman conquerors of England published their laws in French, for an English-speaking nation, centuries ago, has there been such contempt for the people’s right to know what laws are being imposed on them.

Yet another ploy is to pass laws worded in vague generalities, leaving it up to the federal bureaucracies to issue specific regulations based on those laws. “We the people” don’t vote for bureaucrats. And, since it takes time for all the bureaucratic rules to be formulated and then put into practice, we won’t know what either the rules or their effects are prior to this fall’s elections when we will vote for (or against) those who passed these clever laws.

The biggest circumvention of “we the people” was of course the so-called “health-care reform” bill. This bill was passed with the proviso that it would not really take effect until after the 2012 presidential election. Between now and then, the Obama administration can tell us in glowing words how wonderful this bill is, what good things it will do for us, and how it has rescued us from the evil insurance companies, among its many other glories.

But we won’t really know what the actual effects of this bill are until after the next presidential election — which is to say, after it is too late. Quite simply, we are being played for fools.

Much has been made of the fact that families making less than $250,000 a year will not see their taxes raised. Of course they won’t see it, because what they see could affect how they vote.

But when huge tax increases are put on electric utility companies, the public will see their electricity bills go up. When huge taxes are put on other businesses as well, they will see the prices of the things those businesses sell go up.

If you are not in that “rich” category, you will not see your own taxes go up. But you will be paying someone else’s higher taxes, unless of course you can do without electricity and other products of heavily taxed businesses. If you don’t see this, so much the better for the Obama administration politically.

This country has been changed in a more profound way by corrupting its fundamental values. The Obama administration has begun bribing people with the promise of getting their medical care and other benefits paid for by other people, so long as those other people can be called “the rich.” Incidentally, most of those who are called “the rich” are nowhere close to being rich.

A couple making $125,000 a year each is not rich, even though together they reach that magic $250,000 income level. In most cases, they haven’t been making $125,000 a year all their working lives. Far more often, they have reached this level after decades of working their way up from lower incomes — and now the government steps in to grab the reward they have earned over the years.

There was a time when most Americans would have resented the suggestion that they wanted someone else to pay their bills. But now, envy and resentment have been cultivated to the point where even people who contribute nothing to society feel that they have a right to a “fair share” of what others have produced.

The most dangerous corruption is a corruption of a nation’s soul. That is what this administration is doing.

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. © 2010 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Thomas Sowell — Thomas Sowell is an American economist, social theorist, political philosopher, and author, whose books include Basic Economics. He is currently senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

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