Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Build the Fence!!

Yet another American has been murdered by an illegal alien and several handicapped girls were raped by illegals, but still George Bush thinks there's no problem with an open border. His and the Republican Senate's complete cluelessness on this issue probably did as much as anything to lose Congress to the Democrats. Our political leaders will dawdle and twiddle on this issue until there is so much resentment in this country toward Hispanics that we find ourselves in open conflict.

There are only two reasons for allowing the problem of illegal immigration to continue and both of them are ignoble. Businesses want cheap labor, and the major political parties don't want to antagonize the massive immigrant population because they don't want them to join the other party when they get citizenship. That's assuming, of course, that someone will even need to be a citizen to vote in the next election.

Americans of both parties should make it clear that they will not support any candidate in the next, or any future, election who does not take an oath that he will vote to build and fund the fence along all 1200 miles of the border with Mexico. Anything less than this is indicative of a lack of committment to stopping the tidal wave of illegals pouring across the Rio Grande and all of the social and environmental problems they bring with them. Anyone running for public office who is indifferent to this crisis, in our opinion, thereby disqualifies him or herself from serving.

This is indie film-maker Adrienne Shelly, the woman murdered in New York by an Ecuadoran illegal, who told police he "was having a bad day":

See Cheat Seeking Missiles and Michelle Malkin for the awful details.

Rummy's Obsession

A friend sends along a column which advances one theory about why Donald Rumsfeld is no longer the Secretary of Defense. The essay is by Frederick Kagan at the LA Times. I don't know if Kagan is right, but his column makes a lot of sense. I'm sure Rumsfeld is a good man, and he presided over two very quick and impressive military victories in Afghanistan and Iraq. But a military leader must be flexible, and apparently flexibility was not Rumsfeld's greatest virtue.

Read the whole article at the link.

Antonin Scalia

A friend links me to this excellent article in The Weekly Standard by Terry Eastland on Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The essay does a fine job of not only explaining who Scalia is and what his judicial philosophy looks like but also of explaining what the alternatives to Scalia's philosophy are and why the differences matter. Anyone who wishes to understand more about the sort of person that President Bush said serves as his role model for what a Supreme Court Justice should be would do well to read Eastland's column in it's entirety. In case you can't, here are just a few excerpts:

More than a century ago, in the hands of the Supreme Court, the judicial power began to undergo a transformation that was well advanced by the time Scalia was in elementary school. In the 1986 book tracing the evolution of the judicial power, published just as Scalia joined the Supreme Court, political scientist Christopher Wolfe described the emergence of "judge-made law," which, against the hopes of the Framers, had become "another variant of legislative power."

The growth of judicial power is in an important sense a story of liberties taken with texts--specifically of the refusal by justices to follow the text of laws as understood at the time of their enactment and of the willingness by courts to "interpret" the law in light of various extratextual considerations. The kind of text in a given case--statutory or constitutional--did not matter. The result was the same: The people's text, whether made by majorities or, in the case of the Constitution, supermajorities, would be displaced by the judges' text. The justices became lawmakers.

For Scalia, the right kind of judging is much different. It construes the text of the statute, he says, neither "strictly" nor "liberally" but "reasonably." The judge--the good judge--should ask what the statute meant to the legislators who enacted it and the people whom it obligates and also--as the Court did in Holy Trinity before it went off the rails--understand the statute in terms of the law or code of which it is a part. Dictionaries, including ones from the era in which the law was enacted, may prove helpful.

For Scalia, the starting point for constitutional interpretation is recognition that the Constitution, as he put it in the Tanner Lectures, is "an unusual text." It is the supreme law through which we govern ourselves and thus does not contain "nit-picking detail" (which detail is found in the mind-numbing U.S. Code). Its words and phrases should be given, says Scalia, "an expansive rather than narrow interpretation--though not an interpretation the text will not bear." Not "strict construction" but "reasonable construction" is the goal.

Here, too, Scalia is a textualist, since he starts with a legal text, the Constitution. And he is an "originalist," since he seeks the "original meaning" of the text. He does so not by pursuing the subjective intentions of individual framers, but by asking how the text was understood by the society that adopted it. Nor is Scalia unaware of the difficulties posed by originalism, for as he said in his Taft Lecture at the University of Cincinnati in 1988, "historical research is always difficult and sometimes inconclusive."

Scalia has a simple way of capturing what happened to constitutional interpretation. It came to serve the "Living Constitution," which Scalia defines as "a body of law that (unlike normal statutes) grows and changes from age to age, in order to meet the needs of a changing society."

Maybe Scalia was right when he said in his Tanner Lectures that "the American people have been converted to belief in the Living Constitution." Still, with the change in the Court's composition over the past year, Scalia has more colleagues receptive to his interpretive approach than he did when he went to the Court two decades ago. With another "good judge" or two, the Court could start to turn his way.

That is a prospect fervently to be hoped for.

Cut Taxes, Raise Revenue

Ed Feulner at Fox News explains why it is that cutting some taxes actually increases the tax revenue flowing into the national treasury:

[W]hen the government cuts confiscatory tax rates, people tend to work more, save more and invest more. That improves the economy, which means tax collections can also increase. Lower tax rates also improve compliance since people have less incentive to avoid and evade the IRS.

Problem is, Congress doesn't count these "supply-side" benefits of lower tax rates. Instead, before lawmakers vote on a spending or taxation bill, they give it to the Joint Committee on Taxation. The JCT is supposed to "score" it, or explain what the revenue effects of the legislation will be.

If the bill calls for a tax cut of, say, $100 billion over 10 years, the JCT generally subtracts $100 billion from its revenue predictions. But this approach simply doesn't work, because it ignores the fact that certain types of tax cuts -- such as lower tax rates -- tend to boost the entire economy.

Remember the 2004 American Jobs Creation Act? When lawmakers were debating that bill, the JCT guessed the entire tax cut package would cost some $4.5 billion in its first year. That was off by just a bit. In fact, the change brought in an additional $16 billion in the first year.

Feulner's reasoning throughout the rest of the article is unassailable and one would think that liberals and other left-minded folk would embrace the idea of cutting taxes since what they want, presumably, is for the government to have more money to spend on the programs they promote. Nevertheless, the left almost always opposes tax cuts, which leads one to wonder whether they really want more revenue flowing into the treasury or whether they simply want to punish people in upper income brackets by taking as much of their wealth as they can.

The only other possibility is that, despite the lessons of history which teach that every time taxes have been cut revenues grow, liberals just don't believe that tax cuts work. If you know someone like that, forward them Feulner's article.