Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Two Facts

Two Facts

From Fournier for Congress * www.fournierforcongress.org

Two facts: US government ownership of private business is un-American. The economy's in trouble because people don't have enough money to pay their debts.

When a capitalist wants to take over a business (for profit), the capitalist puts a pot of money together and makes an offer to its owners. When government wants to take over a business (in the public interest), it applies to a court to appoint receivers, trustees, conservators, or other fiduciaries, depending on what the law directs, and these officers administer the affairs of the business. They don't have to pay for this authority, and they don't have to buy anything. A judge puts them in charge. As agents of the judiciary, they can't share in profits. It's entirely fitting for law enforcement agencies, like our government, to seize corrupt enterprises from their owners and managers, all in accordance with our laws.

What we don't allow is the merger of government and for-profit business. We consider such arrangments to be dangerous and un-American, and the eldest of us remember that government-business arrangements were fundamental to the establishment and maintenance of Fascist regimes in 20th-Century Spain, Germany, and Italy. Such arrangements are inherently corrupt, as freedom-loving people around the world well know.

To the credit of our founders, they gave us a government of enumerated powers, and the power to operate for-profit business isn't in there. There is a clause that gives Congress the authority to do what is "necessary and proper" to carry out its constitutional duties, but there are limits, and this has to be one of them. The idea that Congress can open the treasury to executive officials for speculation in private markets is preposterous. The reason no group of leaders before this one has ever proposed such a thing is that it's un-American and almost certainly unconstitutional. It's far more radical than Roosevelt's New Deal, most of which was struck down by the Supreme Court. This means Congress can't do it, and it's time to consider something reasonable and legal.

That's where the second fact comes in. Suppose people had sufficient income to pay their debts. Then the debts wouldn't be bad, and the banks wouldn't be insolvent. If we're going to print a trillion bucks, let's use them to employ workers to build a fast train across the USA or install photovoltaics wherever the sun shines or repair rotting bridges and decrepit schools, empowering more people to pay their debts and improving the general quality of life at the same time. It's a percolate-up strategy, as opposed to the trickle-down approach now under consideration. Don't say we can't afford it, because Congress is ready to put these sums on the table in a game of chance. This is a sure thing. Demand it next time somebody asks for your vote.

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Connecticut Readers: Rally at Capitol Opposing Constitutional Convention, 9/28 1:30 pm Link