Friday, March 20, 2009

Banana Republicans (but mostly Democrats...)

I'm obviously not a lawyer. John Hinderaker, who is, expresses concern and dismay about the same issues that I was concerned and dismayed about yesterday.
I'm stupefied to find that some people are defending the constitutionality of Nancy Pelosi's discriminatory, confiscatory and retroactive tax on people who receive bonus income from companies that got TARP money. I would have considered it a bright line rule that the government can't identify a class of unpopular people and impose a special tax on them. ...If the Pelosi bill is actually enacted into law (which I still think is doubtful) and upheld by the courts, there is no limit to the arbitrary power of Congress. In that event, we have no property rights and there is no Constitution--no equal protection clause, no due process clause, no impairment of contracts clause, no bill of attainder/ex post facto law clause. Instead, we are living in a majoritarian tyranny...even if you think it was wrong for AIG to pay them, Pelosi's proposed confiscatory tax--total taxes would exceed 100 percent in some jurisdictions--is an outrage. If Congress can appease a howling mob of demagogues by enacting discriminatory tax legislation against a group of people who are, for the moment, politically unpopular...then the idea that the Constitution affords us any sort of protection against arbitrary government power is an illusion.

He's right, obviously, and it's well worth reading, though, like many things well worth reading right now, both depressing and scary.

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