"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Monday, September 18, 2006

Earmarks and the Constitution

Back from China, where, unlike California, capitalism and property rights actually mean something. Anyway, I notice today that Senator Jim DeMint argues that some 95 percent of all earmarks are listed in committee reports rather than in actual appropriation bills, that is, in actual law. And so DeMint argues that El Presidente W could simply refuse to spend, without need for an item veto.

Well, excuse me, but the last time I read the Constitution---Article 1, section 9, but who's counting?---it said something to the effect that "No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law..." That means something rather different than DeMint's point: W has a duty not to spend, rather than merely the right not to do so. Of course, W, among his other virtues, seems to have forgotten that enforcement of the Constitution is his job; his casual approval of McCain-Feingold is all the proof we need. This apparently is what it means to be a uniter, not a divider.

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