The Corner

Re: A Different Kind of Moral Hazard

Jonah, I think that’d be true if the precedent they were trying to set was that the government has the power to control compensation levels if you’ve taken money from the government. But that “if . . .” will quickly fade from the Dem rhetoric . . . and from memory. What they’re trying to establish is the power to control compensation levels, period. In fact, more and more Democrats are making the insane argument that doing this, and much, much more, is within Congress’s purportedly limitless constitutional power to “promote the general welfare.” This is really scary stuff, and I’m afraid I don’t see a silver lining.

I’m gonna plagiarize Mark Levin here. Mark has been recounting how, when FDR foisted social security on the country, his administration told the public it was an insurance program. This was legally dubious — the government has no constitutional authority to force people to buy insurance — so his Solicitor General told the Supreme Court it was a tax, an argument the justices bought. 

The moral of the story is that the public pretty quickly loses track of the legal niceties involved when government power expands. They just get used to the idea that this is something government does, and they accept it. That, I think, is what’s going on with the pay czar . . . and health-care “reform” . . . and auto-company takeovers . . . and government taking equity positions in banks . . . and . . . and . . . and . . .