Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Here's a link to an excellent piece by Lew Rockwell of the Mises Institute. He writes about the original intentions of the founders, pointing out that if the constitution had invested the presidency with as much power as Bush wants to use, it would never have passed. "Fear of a powerful president was one of the main reasons that people were fearful of abandoning the Articles of Confederation, which had no executive to speak of."

The compromise the founders came up with was a hopeful one: "There would be a head of state, but he would be controlled by the legislature. In fact, controlling the president would be the main job of the legislature. The founders went this one better by refusing to invest much power in the central government. Instead, the powers were decentralized and belonged to the member states."

Contrast this original scheme with the current Congress. Forget that little tussle over deadlines and benchmarks. The House armed services committee just took a close look at the Bush defense budget proposal of $503.9 billion -- higher then the defense budget of all other nations in the world combinedm-- and after giving it the gimlet eye, passed out a budget of -- $503.8 billion. A few priorities were shifted around, but the final product includes money for a new aircraft carrier ($3.1 billion), a new nuclear submarine ($2.7 billion), two new destroyers ($3.4 billion), and 12 new F-35s ($2.4 billion).

These funds are exclusive of the costs of fighting the Iraq and Afghanistan wars -- just the inertia of iron triangles with vested interests in continuing to spend on Cold War priorities.

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