Politicians and diapers should be changed often, and for the same reason. Mark Twain
Although conceived as a republic, with the passage of time, our system of government now more closely resembles that “form of popular government” rejected by the Founders for reasons enumerated in Federalist 10:
When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government… enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens… Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.…
Madison further warned, there are no limits to the behavior of tyrannical majorities.
If the impulse and the opportunity be suffered to coincide, we well know that neither moral nor religious motives can be relied on as an adequate control. They are not found to be such on the injustice and violence of individuals, and lose their efficacy in proportion to the number combined together, that is, in proportion as their efficacy becomes needful.
His words were borne out when, by dint of a numerical majority, bribery and executive intervention, the majority faction passed major legislation without a single bi-partisan vote and despite the opposition of a significant portion, if not a majority, of the electorate. The manner in which the misnamed “Affordable Health Care Act” was passed marks a first in the nation’s history.
On July 1, the process was repeated. As part of a procedural vote on the emergency war supplemental bill, House Democrats attached a document that “deemed as passed” a non-existent $1.12 trillion budget. The procedural vote passed 215-210 with no Republicans voting in favor and 38 Democrats crossing the aisle to vote against “deeming” the phony budget resolution passed.
The “deeming” chicanery, another first since the creation of the Congressional budget process, permits the majority to start spending money for Fiscal year 2011 sans budgetary restraints. And perhaps most important of all, it frees members of the majority from having to explain, prior to the election, a budget that reveals extravagant irresponsibility.
Unfortunately, the major media has chosen to give the majority faction a pass, paying little attention to either their dereliction of duty or its obvious consequences. According to the Congressional Budget Office, if President Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget is enacted, it will generate nearly $10 trillion in cumulative budget deficits over the next 10 years, $1.2 trillion more than the administration projected, and raise the federal debt to 90 percent of the nation’s economic output by 2020.
Under the President’s budget, debt held by the public would grow from $7.5 trillion (53 percent of GDP) at the end of 2009 to $20.3 trillion (90 percent of GDP) at the end of 2020, about $5 trillion more than under the assumptions in the baseline. Net interest would more than quadruple between 2010 and 2020 in nominal dollars (without an adjustment for inflation); it would swell from 1.4 percent of GDP in 2010 to 4.1 percent in 2020.
Whatever the outcome in November, the final chapter in the tyranny of the majority circa 2010, may still to be written. Assuming the election results in loss of majority status, the pink-slipped, having nothing to lose, could return for a lame-duck session and … enact all or most of the legislation they were afraid to approve before the election.
In a recent column, Charles Krauthammer suggested preventive measures need to be taken now, “applying the check-and-balance of the people’s will before it disappears the morning after Election Day. Every current member should be publicly asked: In the event you lose in November — a remote and deeply deplorable eventuality, but still not inconceivable — do you pledge to adhere to the will of the electorate and, in any lame-duck session of Congress, refuse to approve anything but the most routine legislation required to keep the government functioning?”
Krauthammer notes that such a pledge is not necessarily failsafe. ”The Democrats could, of course, make the pledge today and break it tomorrow. Call me naive, but I can’t believe anyone would be that dishonorable.”