Rick Perry: How to Save America From the Feds! (Err…Not Really)
So maybe you are wondering exactly what Gov. Rick Perry’s (R-Texas) stated positions are now that he is making a run for the presidency?
I realize that perhaps you might be slightly confused since he has attempted to have his cake and eat it too by downplaying what he advocated in his book “Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington.” with some questioners and then claiming not to have changed his position at all when speaking to other media sources.
Recently he again firmly re-iterated that he supported his previously written positions and in no uncertain terms.
Later, in Des Moines, when a reporter asked about the suggestion that his campaign was backing off some positions in the staunch states-rights book, Perry
said, “I haven’t backed off anything in my book. So read the book again and get it right.”
OK, so he himself said that we should read his book again and then take it literally, well he did didn’t he? Perhaps he is counting on the fact that most people except for his committed supporters have no idea of the scope of the major changes to the constitution that Perry suggests in his book.
In the interest of public advocacy I’d like to plainly restate the major changes Perry is calling for and also give my take on their effect on our system of government. I also want you to keep in mind that these were positions that he took in writing, in a book, after rewrites, and review by editors and proofreaders. These are not just some ill-considered and intemperate remarks made ‘off-the-cuff’ on the campaign trail, these are views that he seriously reflected upon and then put into writing to be published as his personal ideas on how to fix America.
1. Abolish lifetime tenure for federal judges by amending Article III, Section I of the Constitution.
The plainly obvious purpose here is make Federal judges afraid of re-confirmation hearings (vote our way or else) before the Senate. It also makes it possible to withhold re-confirmation for extended and undefined lengths of time or even to deny re-confirmation to any judge deemed too “activist” (liberal). It basically amounts to giving the Legislative branch complete control and dominance over the Judicial branch of Government in my opinion and would be the end of our country’s founders original plan and intent that the Legislative, Judicial, and Executive branches individual powers balance against each other to prevent excesses by any one of them.
In our current political climate where it often takes up to a year and a half or more to get any nominee confirmed to take their seat do we really want to add dozens of additional “re-confirmation” hearings every single year? Just how well do you think the Federal District and Appeals courts would function with multiple members always currently under Legislative review for re-confirmation by the Senate?
This would also apply to the Supreme Court Justices, but in Perry’s vision they would be granted staggered eighteen year terms with only one of the nine Justice’s coming up for re-confirmation every other year. If you have never paid any attention to the turmoil and political brinkmanship that accompanies every Supreme Court nomination then perhaps this sounds fairly reasonable to you.
Perry justifies it as a way to ensure that no single two-term President would ever be able to appoint a majority of the courts members, something that to my knowledge has never happened since George Washington got to start from scratch. Again in my opinion this is not about a single President being able to ‘stack the deck’ on the court, it is instead intended to discourage Justices from taking any stances outside of the currently accepted status quo of jurisprudence
on controversial social issues. Would any Justice who votes to protect the minority and thereby protect all of our rights against the tyranny of whatever the current ‘mob-think’ is be able to be re-confirmed?
2. Congress should have the power to override Supreme Court decisions with a two-thirds vote.
So even after the Supreme Court has ruled a peice of State or Federal legislation unconstitutional (after typically already going through at least two and as much as ten years of lower court rulings and appeals to Federal district courts) Congress can simply override them without resorting to the remedy they already have which is to amend the Constitution?
Consider this as a worst case example, Congress creates a law banning the building of new Mosques (or perhaps Synagogues, or Cathedrals) in the United States, an injunction against this is granted by a Federal District Court and then appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court citing the First Amendment then strikes down this obviously unconstitutional law on religious freedom grounds.
Under our current system Congress would have to propose an amendment to the Constitution to bypass this which would then require having the amendment ratified by two thirds of the individual State legislatures. Under Perry’s proposed system Congress could simply override the Supreme Courts ruling by a two-thirds vote and enforce a law that is still plainly illegal under the existing Constitution! B.T.W. Right-Wingers should fear this too, suppose someday the far left liberals gained a supermajority in both Houses of Congress and decided to ignore the Second Amendment and ban private gun ownership, hmm?
3. Scrap the federal income tax by repealing the Sixteenth Amendment.
Perry calls the Sixteenth Amendment “the great milestone on the road to serfdom” then more specifically goes on to object to the language of the Amendment which gives Congress the “power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” Perry opines that this gives the Federal Governemnt a blank check to use without regard to, or input from consultation with the States.
This would revert all tax collections for the Federal Government to requesting (begging) levies from the individual State legislatures, these would then have to be approved by and collected by each State. Each State would also be able to add conditions for continued approval, dictating exactly what the Feds could spend the money contributed to the Federal Government on. In addition each State would decide for themselves how to raise the money, if they even approve the request to begin with that is.
Sure with all the write-offs and deductions there are many inequalities written into the Federal Income tax code, but seriously, do you trust your own State Legislature to decide who will be taxed and for how much to pay the Federal Levies? I certainly don’t, instead of an income tax we would end up with a thousand different use taxes, increased sales taxes and god knows what else they might come up with. One thing I can guarentee you based on national past experience, what little is left of the middle class and the lower income but not quite yet poverty level taxpayers would be required to pay the vast majority of them, the already wealthy would of course be almost entirely exempt.
4. End the direct election of Senators by repealing the Seventeenth Amendment.
Sure because when we allowed the State Legislatures to appoint people to the Senate before the Seventeenth Amendment passed it worked so well?
It isn’t as if people got so fed up with the political favoritism and cronyism that basically ensured that every appointy to the Senate was a weak willed moron who could be told exactly how to vote by whoever controlled the State Legislature that appointed him. Or that the Seventeenth Amendment was ratified by a majority of the States to stop this ugly practice under intense duress by the common public in an attempt to limit Legislative corruption…err…right?
We tried that already Mr. Perry, and it didn’t effing work! In fact it sucked so badly that a Constitutional Amendment (by no means a trivial exercise) was passed to correct it. Now you want to take us back to the old system simply because it would be another means to increase State power against the Federal Government? I. Don’t. Think. So.
5. Require the federal government to balance its budget every year.
He’s kidding right? He does know that short of a default on our bonds that this is impossible, right?
87 cents out of every Federal dollar spent currently is ‘mandatory’ spending on our debt or on programs that are already written into law. Considering that Congress only gets to vote on 13 cents of spending out of every dollar just how much do you think they can cut overnight? This is nothing but a sound bite for the economically ignorant, I will not even try to answer this one here because it would require a page of it’s own to properly discuss.
Still I can feel very comfortable in calling Bullshit on anyone advocating for a Balanced Budget Amendment before any groundwork is laid by Legislative changes to ‘mandatory’ spending programs. (Is Perry a closet anarchist or just moronically ignorant?)
6. The federal Constitution should define marriage as between one man and one woman in all 50 states.
This is what you want to spend your time and effort on when economically the country is very busily circling the drain? Hey Rick get a clue, we have bigger issues to deal with already and we can’t put them off much longer. I realize that you want to focus on the gay marriage issue solely to divide the electorate along religious lines, but by doing so you are doing a major disservice to the country as a whole.
7. Abortion should be made illegal throughout the country.
How is it that I just knew that was coming next? Bah and humbug, this position is nothing but a place holder to garner support from the evangelical Right-Wing. “Well I would do it if I could but that evil activist Left-Wing leaning Supreme Court won’t let me…wahhh!”
Time after time, day after day, year after year, decade after decade, we see the Right-Wing candidates glibly tell their supporters that they are “against and will work to overturn” things that they know no mere president can change solely on his own. No wonder many on the Right seem to now favor the complete destruction of the Federal Government, after all “it” has prevented their candidates from keeping their promises to them for more than thirty years now…well, either that or their candidates were simply liars…naw…it has to be the Government that is at fault!!11!ty