20 August 2011

Five Reasons I Like Rick Perry

And two that don't really do it for me.
Note: my commentary will be in [square brackets]. The rest of the text is directly from the Yahoo News story.

1. Abolish lifetime tenure for federal judges by amending Article III, Section I of the Constitution.

[Couldn't agree more. Kings serve for life, and we fought two wars to rid ourselves of the yoke of a king (the Revolution and War of 1812, when Britain fought back). By giving the judges lifetime tenure it divorces them from reality and from the people, the concent of whom is from whence they derive their power.]

2. Congress should have the power to override Supreme Court decisions with a two-thirds vote.

[Maybe not a two-thirds vote, maybe something stronger, but nothing in government should be final. Even the Constitution can be amended, so should the Supreme Court, lest they become absolutist.]

3. Scrap the federal income tax by repealing the Sixteenth Amendment.

[Last year this was one of two BIG things I said needed to be done to fix the country. If not possible to achieve a repeal I did propose an alternate income tax scheme.]

4. End the direct election of senators by repealing the Seventeenth Amendment.

Overturning this amendment would restore the original language of the Constitution, which gave state legislators the power to appoint the members of the Senate.

Ratified during the Progressive Era in 1913 , the same year as the Sixteenth Amendment, the Seventeenth Amendment gives citizens the ability to elect senators on their own. Perry writes that supporters of the amendment at the time were "mistakenly" propelled by "a fit of populist rage."

"The American people mistakenly empowered the federal government during a fit of populist rage in the early twentieth century by giving it an unlimited source of income (the Sixteenth Amendment) and by changing the way senators are elected (the Seventeenth Amendment)," he writes.

[This is even more important than getting rid of the tax. When the Constitution was written it was decided that the two houses of Congress would be populated in two different ways: Representatives are chosen by the people and Senators are chosen by the state legislatures. This was one of the most brilliant decisions in all of world history. The whole point of the Constitution was to maximise the power of the States, but reign them in just enough so the Union could stick together, which wasn't possible under the Articles of Confederation. Representatives were elected by popular vote and each state got a number of Representatives proportional to total population, this way we the people get our say. Senators were chosen by the state legislatures and each state got two so that the power held by big states and small states would be equal where it really counted. Having Senators chosen by the state legislatures was a guarantee to states' rights. The Senators represented the will of the states whereas the Representatives represented the will of the people. This was a brilliant balancing act to protect everyone from each other. Then along came the populists who wanted to turn the United States into a mobocracy and changed the Constitution to say the Senators are elected by the people too, taking power away from the states and giving it to whoever had the deepest pockets and the Federal government, as the two are one and the same.]

5. Require the federal government to balance its budget every year.

Of all his proposed ideas, Perry calls this one "the most important," and of all the plans, a balanced budget amendment likely has the best chance of passage.

"The most important thing we could do is amend the Constitution--now--to restrict federal spending," Perry writes in his book. "There are generally thought to be two options: the traditional 'balanced budget amendment' or a straightforward 'spending limit amendment,' either of which would be a significant improvement. I prefer the latter . . . . Let's use the people's document--the Constitution--to put an actual spending limit in place to control the beast in Washington."

A campaign to pass a balanced budget amendment through Congress fell short by just one vote in the Senate in the 1990s.

Last year, House Republicans proposed a spending-limit amendment that would limit federal spending to 20 percent of the economy. According to the amendment's language, the restriction could be overridden by a two-thirds vote in both Houses of Congress or by a declaration of war.

[I want to scream in orgasmic delight at the thought of a balanced budget. I even like the provision that special circumstances, like war, can call for extra spending, because Hitler had to die whatever the cost in treasure.]

And the two I'm not too thrilled about:

6. The federal Constitution should define marriage as between one man and one woman in all 50 states.

[I don't think government has the power to make this decision. The government, including state governments, should stay as far away from marriage as possible.]

7. Abortion should be made illegal throughout the country.

[I lean toward states rights on this one, but not entirely. There are circumstances where I think abortion is justified (e.g. certain congenital abnormalities that are always fatal, often with the baby surviving only a few hours or days), or even required (situations that lead to maternal death). Is Perry saying he would rather have the mother die to preserve "the soul of this country and to the traditional values [of] our founding fathers"?]

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