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Governmental Balancing Act

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  • Dan Minette
    ... Sometimes worse; sometimes much better. One of the problems we have right now is that Bush has operated with minimal oversight for the last 5 years. The
    Message 1 of 79 , Apr 25, 2006
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      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: brin-l-bounces@... [mailto:brin-l-bounces@...] On
      > Behalf Of Nick Arnett
      > Sent: Monday, April 17, 2006 9:16 PM
      > To: Killer Bs Discussion
      > Subject: Re: Liberal Capitalist Fundamentalism

      >
      >> With our political system, this was a
      >> deliberate construction by the founders of the US government. By
      >> separating powers between the federal government and state governments,
      >> and between the branches of the federal government, they planned on
      >> the desire for power and influence by one block to perform a check on
      >> excessive power by other blocks.
      >
      >
      > And how well does it work when the branches regard themselves as
      > adversarial, as compared with when they acknowledge common goals?

      Sometimes worse; sometimes much better. One of the problems we have right
      now is that Bush has operated with minimal oversight for the last 5 years.
      The Republican Congress does not check to see if he has exceeded his
      authority. The Supreme Court has been reluctant to get into the questions
      of the authority of the Commander in Chief to do as he sees fit.

      We see the same problem in earlier times. The Supreme Court and Congress
      cooperated with FDR's detention of Japanese-Americans. The Supreme Court
      had to look at the Constitution upside down and sideways to do this, mind
      you, but no one wished to be seen as not cooperating with the war effort.


      >It is not a competitive model. Otherwise, the rules would be set up so
      >that one of the branches could "win," accumulating greater power, but
      >that's exactly what the system was intended to prevent.

      That would require winner-take-all as the only model for competition. The
      standard assumption in marketplace competition is that competition would be
      ongoing. IIRC, it's the critics, not the supporters, of free market theory
      who talk about one eventual winner.

      The competition between the members/leaders of the branches of the US
      government and between the leaders of the US government and the leaders of
      the various states was set up deliberately...and was set up to be ongoing.
      It was set up as an answer the question: "who guards the guardians?" The
      answer is that you set them up to guard each other. This is done by making
      excesses by one branch of government being perceived as encroachment on the
      power and privileges of other branches.

      It certainly hasn't worked perfectly. The US did end up fighting a bloody
      civil war. But, it worked far better than, say, the French revolution.
      IIRC, the balance of competition between various groups was not as well set
      up in France as it was in the US.



      >One of the worst things happening in government today is that very sort of
      >nonsense, particularly between courts and legislatures.

      You would want them to cooperate more? Many presidents wanted the same
      thing. :-) The most famous example is FDR's impatience with the Supreme
      Court that resulted in his attempt to pack the Supreme Court with justices
      more to his liking. After two straight elections that gave wide and
      increasing popular margins to FDR and the Democrats in their attempt to
      implement a New Deal, he was constantly thwarted by losing 5-4 votes among
      "9 old men." He proposed to the Senate a means of getting more cooperation
      from the Supreme Court.

      It didn't happen. Instead, some narrow votes did go FDR's way, and justices
      finally retired, and he was finally able to appoint Supreme Court justices,
      and the New Deal was allowed to go forward.

      As it was, FDR had the most power of any president since Lincoln. No
      president, since then, has gotten as much cooperation from other branches of
      government. I would argue that we are lucky that the Supreme Court and the
      Congress were not more cooperative with Nixon.

      Dan M.


      _______________________________________________
      http://www.mccmedia.com/mailman/listinfo/brin-l
    • Dan Minette
      ... Sometimes worse; sometimes much better. One of the problems we have right now is that Bush has operated with minimal oversight for the last 5 years. The
      Message 79 of 79 , Apr 25, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: brin-l-bounces@... [mailto:brin-l-bounces@...] On
        > Behalf Of Nick Arnett
        > Sent: Monday, April 17, 2006 9:16 PM
        > To: Killer Bs Discussion
        > Subject: Re: Liberal Capitalist Fundamentalism

        >
        >> With our political system, this was a
        >> deliberate construction by the founders of the US government. By
        >> separating powers between the federal government and state governments,
        >> and between the branches of the federal government, they planned on
        >> the desire for power and influence by one block to perform a check on
        >> excessive power by other blocks.
        >
        >
        > And how well does it work when the branches regard themselves as
        > adversarial, as compared with when they acknowledge common goals?

        Sometimes worse; sometimes much better. One of the problems we have right
        now is that Bush has operated with minimal oversight for the last 5 years.
        The Republican Congress does not check to see if he has exceeded his
        authority. The Supreme Court has been reluctant to get into the questions
        of the authority of the Commander in Chief to do as he sees fit.

        We see the same problem in earlier times. The Supreme Court and Congress
        cooperated with FDR's detention of Japanese-Americans. The Supreme Court
        had to look at the Constitution upside down and sideways to do this, mind
        you, but no one wished to be seen as not cooperating with the war effort.


        >It is not a competitive model. Otherwise, the rules would be set up so
        >that one of the branches could "win," accumulating greater power, but
        >that's exactly what the system was intended to prevent.

        That would require winner-take-all as the only model for competition. The
        standard assumption in marketplace competition is that competition would be
        ongoing. IIRC, it's the critics, not the supporters, of free market theory
        who talk about one eventual winner.

        The competition between the members/leaders of the branches of the US
        government and between the leaders of the US government and the leaders of
        the various states was set up deliberately...and was set up to be ongoing.
        It was set up as an answer the question: "who guards the guardians?" The
        answer is that you set them up to guard each other. This is done by making
        excesses by one branch of government being perceived as encroachment on the
        power and privileges of other branches.

        It certainly hasn't worked perfectly. The US did end up fighting a bloody
        civil war. But, it worked far better than, say, the French revolution.
        IIRC, the balance of competition between various groups was not as well set
        up in France as it was in the US.



        >One of the worst things happening in government today is that very sort of
        >nonsense, particularly between courts and legislatures.

        You would want them to cooperate more? Many presidents wanted the same
        thing. :-) The most famous example is FDR's impatience with the Supreme
        Court that resulted in his attempt to pack the Supreme Court with justices
        more to his liking. After two straight elections that gave wide and
        increasing popular margins to FDR and the Democrats in their attempt to
        implement a New Deal, he was constantly thwarted by losing 5-4 votes among
        "9 old men." He proposed to the Senate a means of getting more cooperation
        from the Supreme Court.

        It didn't happen. Instead, some narrow votes did go FDR's way, and justices
        finally retired, and he was finally able to appoint Supreme Court justices,
        and the New Deal was allowed to go forward.

        As it was, FDR had the most power of any president since Lincoln. No
        president, since then, has gotten as much cooperation from other branches of
        government. I would argue that we are lucky that the Supreme Court and the
        Congress were not more cooperative with Nixon.

        Dan M.


        _______________________________________________
        http://www.mccmedia.com/mailman/listinfo/brin-l
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