Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

A note on the tsunami disaster

The MSM is full of talk about how we are not giving enough money and help to the devastated area, that we are stingy, that Bush is on vacation and didn’t emote enough, that he is an insensitive goon, and so on. It’s all a bit irritating, isn’t it? Here is just one example of mischievious politics entering what should be ordinary front-page reporting from New York Times. Alas, there is more, but I’m not going to pay much attention to it. The horror of over 100,000 people dying is enough to focus on for now. Bush is right, it is in some ways incomprehensible. Boris Johnson and Peggy Noonan have some thoughts near such matters. I hope that the U.N. administrator who called America stingy takes note of the fact that the private donations to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief fund (just through
Amazon)
is already over five million dollars. And the Red Cross says that it has received over $18 million so far.

Discussions - 9 Comments

Just imagine, however, if the U.S. government pledged just 1% of what we have spent killing Iraqis to aid the wave victims. That would be nearly $2,000,000,000!!

I suspect that aid would do more to deplete terrorism than a war.

Other charities, too, are giving lots of money to relief efforts. Catholic Relief Services’ server has been so overwhelmed by would-be benefactors that it has crashed several times.

The U.N. official was only considering tax dollars being sent overseas. He clearly failed to consider Americans’ private charitable giving (which I would have to say is probably higher than most Europeans).

I do think the U.N.’s comments were directed at our government - not our people.

"Our government" does not create wealth--it takes it from "our people." Most of us would agree that as individuals we have a certain duty to help our fellow human beings. We therefore should by all means back private relief efforts. On the other hand, what is the basis for arguing that the United States Government, charged with using taxpayer money for purposes that clearly serve American interests, has some obligation to send our money abroad? What part of the Constitution authorizes this?

Ok, let’s go with that...

Indeed, if the U.S. Govt. is "charged with using taxpayer money for purposes that clearly serve American interests," then where is the obligation for "our (including MY) money to be sent abroad" to sink us into this blood-soaked quagmire in Iraq (that is certainly only helping to recruit more terrorists worldwide)?

No WMDs found.


No substantive links to Al-Quaeda (at least there weren’t BEFORE we decimated their country, but NOW they seem to be forming).


No substantive links to 9/11.


Iraq posed no danger to the USA or Iraq’s neighbors.
How many Americans have died for this B.S.??

I come from the heart of blue-state Ohio, in Tuscarawas Co.

Happy New Year!

The Constitution clearly grants to the federal government the power to wage war, and it is up to our elected leaders to determine whether a war serves the national interest. Sorry, but you’re obliged to have your tax dollars go to that purpose, whether you agree with their reasoning or not. By contrast, the Constitution does not authorize giveaways of American tax dollars to foreign countries, no matter how worthy the cause might be.

Someone could certainly suggest an ethical or moral basis for the US Govt. to be obliged to send money abroad for purposes of disaster relief and aid, whether anything pertaining to it is in the Constitution or not. (Certainly, hasn’t this been this case in proposing the existing amendments - values-based arguments for addressing issues ostensibly not covered by the constitution?) If our aid to the tsunami victims is unconstitutional (I believe you were suggesting that, right?), do you think it will (or should) be challenged in the courts? Who/what would challenge it? Why?
Also, doesn’t the US Govt. send American tax dollars to Israel, among other places that have not experienced immense natural disasters lately? Is that aid unconstitutional?


Your summation of what the Constitution explicitly allows and does not allow for such expenditures may be the case, but it points out some fundamental issues with our tax system, and how it can be rather undemocratic, in my opinion. I would bet that many NLT bloggers oppose their tax dollars going to anything remotely connected with abortion (and perhaps non-faith-based social welfare programs, too, among other things), and many liberals (and probably some registered Republicans, too) don’t want their $$$ going to sending our soldiers to Iraq for what they see as an unnecessary, elective, immoral war. Maybe there should be a tax system that allows for more participation by those who pay taxes; perhaps taxpayers should determine where their tax dollars go? I suspect you’d oppose this sort of tax reform (but I’d be glad to be wrong, or at least know your reasoning why the tax dollars of anti-war citizens should be appropriated in their current fashion).


Considering all of this, it boggles my mind that some people actually think that if our constitution should be amended, our first priority should be the exclusion of marital rights from gays.

Maybe there should be a tax system that allows for more participation by those who pay taxes; perhaps taxpayers should determine where their tax dollars go?

I’d be all for this, provided that certain activities that are clearly provided for in the Constitution were not subject to the whims of the public. For example, we have a government primarily for the purpose of protection from threats foreign and domestic; the fact that there are some Americans who are pacifists ought not change that.

In other words, I would not want to see this become an instrument for Rousseauvian direct democracy. But for activities that are not clearly constitutional--and I would place foreign aid of all sorts (including aid to Israel) in that category--I’d be perfectly happy to see taxpayers determine for themselves where there money should go.

Considering all of this, it boggles my mind that some people actually think that if our constitution should be amended, our first priority should be the exclusion of marital rights from gays.

I agree wholeheartedly.

In the case of the Iraq war, the range of those opposed to it to various degrees extends well beyond the pacifists. I’m confident that any survey of those opposed to the war would show that WERE THERE CLEAR AND COMPELLING EVIDENCE of involvement by Iraq/Iraqis in 9/11, or that Iraq posed a real danger to the U.S. (pre-invasion), many war opponents would feel differently, and would support the use of military force. Many opponents of the current war are not opposed to war under any & all circumstances.

So, granted, if the primary purpose of our government is "protection from threats foreign and domestic," then the current administration has extended itself well beyond government’s purpose (and continues reaching) in the intervention in Iraq, given the reasons enumerated by "Recovering Repub," among others.

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