ObamaNomics Vs The Constitution

Obama’s  charter of negative liberties.

Yesterday we joined the blogosphere frenzy by commenting on a tape that appeared Monday on YouTube, of segments of a 2001 radio interview of Barack Obama.  A transcript of the entire interview is now available here.

During the interview Senator Obama said:

…the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of basic issues of political and economic justice in this society, and to that extent as radical as people try to characterize the Warren Court it wasn’t that radical.

It didnt break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as it has been interpreted, and the Warren Court interpreted it generally in the same way, that the constitution, as a document of negative liberties, says what the states can’t do to you, and says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.

Some uninformed commentators and bloggers have slammed Senator Obama for “calling liberty negative.”  Obama deserves criticism but not for that.  “Negative liberties” is a legitimate term, understood by Constitutional scholars for decades, maybe centuries.  Put simply, the concept of negative liberties means the absence of barriers, controls or constraints from government.  the First Amendment is a good example, beginning with a negative clause:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The 19th Amendment secured for women the right to vote.  But it’s expressed in the form of a  negative liberty, restraining government:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abbridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

The problem with Senator Obama’s position is that he sees “a document of negative liberties” as inadequate.

In the context of this radio interview, what Obama would have government “do on your behalf” is transfer income from those who earn it to others, deemed more deserving by whatever political faction happens to be in control of Congress.  He goes on…

I think one of the tragedies of the civil rights movement was that [it] became so court focused i think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and organizing activities  on the ground that are able to bring about the coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change  and in some ways we still suffer from that.

Redistribution of wealth, or confiscating a family’s income and transferring it to others deemed more worthy by the political establishment, is an old idea that saw a revival in the sixties.  The Federal Government already violates the Constitution by redistributing income and providing health care, food, housing, and cash to tens of millions of people.  A majority of American voters has steadfastly opposed this concept whenever it has come up as an election issue. In spite of public opposition Congress has managed to contrive ways to defy the Constitution and expand redistribution.

Senator Obama is firmly committed to redistribution.  He said as much to Joe the Plumber.  In the radio interview he said it was a “tragedy” that the civil rights movement failed to achieve greater redistribution.

Obama’s campaign web site offers a long list of new, Unconstitutional, redistribution schemes.  With the enthusiastic help of of the sold-out media he has deceived millions of voters by calling his redistribution schemes “tax cuts.”

In the language of modern, leftist government, they are “refundable tax credits.” Rather than apply for a cash benefit, individuals and families fill out a forms to file with their tax returns and automatically receive the full amount of the cash benefit from the IRS as a so-called “refundable credit,” even if it exceeds their tax obligation, even if their tax obligation is $0.

We’ve posted the list before, here it is again.

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