Our Politicos Constitutional Ignorance

It’s commendable that Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann carry around with them a copy of the U.S. Constitution. Now they should take time to read the document, or, at least have someone in their staff study it for them. They would then learn that the President is not empowered to raise taxes or declare war arbitrarily. So to talk about the Reagan tax cuts and the Reagan strong stance on national defense, their relentless appeal to conservative voters, is blatantly Un-Constitutional.

The way the system works is as follows: Taxing issues originate in the House of Representatives, the branch of government entrusted with of the nation’s purse strings (Article I, Section 7). Similarly, war must be declared by Congress. (Article I, Section 8.) Before it can be waged, and only when is so waged is the President accorded the title of Commander in Chief. (Article II, Section 2). True, as leader of his party, the President has considerable political sway. But the fact remains that legally he is not empowered to raise or lower taxes or to declare war unilaterally.

And speaking of Ronald Reagan, What was so great about the man? As governor of California, he was the most egregious tax and spend governor in state history. During his tenure as U.S. President, the national debt tripled from a mere $1000 billion to $300 trillion (rounded off in 2010 dollars), so it's quite likely that all the economic growth he allegedly spurred was due not to tax cuts, as fiscal conservatives would have it, but by lavishly borrowing to pay for it. Nor was the size of the government cut, as he had promised to do. Actually, it grew 2.5% a year. Furthermore, his second term was marked by banking scandals, recession, support of dictators, military intervention in democratically elected nations, and outright treason (the Iran Contra Affair). Yet, he got away with it all. Not for nothing he was dubbed the "Teflon President"--the studied charm of the professional Hollywood actor--.

Nor did force the economic collapse of the Soviet Union with his Star War Spending. The Soviet Union had been collapsing since the days of Breznev in the 1960's when in effect the Russian Mafia took over the Soviet government. When Reagan told Gorbachev to "tear down this wall," Gorbachev had already agreed to tear it down. I was all theatrics. Again the Hollywood actor seizing the moment.

Toward the end of his term was the onset Alzheimer's disease. History will not absolve Ronald Reagan. After his die-hard idolatrers pass on, we can be sure that he will not be ranked along with Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln as one of our great Presidents. And by association whatever legacy Michele Bachmann leaves behind will be sorely diminished for donning "The Reagan Mantel."

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