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View Diary: Getting It: Interstate Commerce & the New Deal (290 comments)

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  •  Your next mission (none)
    should you choose to accept it:

    I recall perusing an article, perhaps on Alternet, just maybe within the last week, about an attempt afoot to expand the range of the ICC.

    The goal is to destroy the practice of communities racing to the bottom for the sake of additional investment by providing big giveaways in land, tax rebates and other goodies to corporations that relocate.

    I think it's a pernicious practice, and one that only a broader interpretation of the ICC could possibly eradicate.  This is something we should all get behind, and I'd love to see it written up by an astute legal observer.

    The corporate-relocation shell game has set our states and municipalities against each other, ultimately aiding the overall conservative agenda of emasculating government.  Perhaps we could call it the "I got mine, now fuck all y'all" principle.

    On the street, the consequences are often disastrous.  The promised jobs don't materialize, the relocating entity is often indemnified against considerable losses, and very unfortunate planning decisions get made far beyond the light of day.

    Wanna check it out?

    •  Different Ballgame... (4.00)
      That's the "Dormant Commerce Clause."  The Interstate Commerce Clause debate is about what the federal government can regulate.  The Dormant Commerce Clause is the flipside--a state can't unduly burden interstate commerce by law.  For instance, Texas can't suddenly start placing tarriffs on oil imported from other states in the U.S.

      The "true believer" conservative school takes both of these to their extremes.  The federal government can regulate almost nothing because it's "purely intrastate," but the states can't regulate because it "affects interstate commerce."  It's a way of getting to anarchocapitalism without regulation.

      •  "Anarchocapitalism" (none)
        Word of the day! Here's a 4.
        •  Actually... (none)
          a goodly number of libertarians consider "anarchocapitalism" their goal.  Scary.
          •  Pure Libertarians do (none)
            They also don't believe in things like public schools or taxpayer funded roads.  They are a few beers short of a six pack.
            •  aoeu (none)
              But they believe in artifical imaginary boundries on land recognized by the government.

              Go figure.

              no haikus now,
              join your local democratic party.
              There are fights in 2005 coming up.

              by TealVeal on Tue Dec 14, 2004 at 02:33:35 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  asdf (none)
                Well, the most extreme of libertarians would argue that you have the right and obligation to defend your own property.  It's not the government's job.  It's yours.
                •  aoeu (none)
                  At some point I can't see the difference between libertarianism and anarchy.

                  no haikus now,
                  join your local democratic party.
                  There are fights in 2005 coming up.

                  by TealVeal on Tue Dec 14, 2004 at 02:39:23 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Natural rights (none)
                    that's the only difference.  The libertarian says state power is justified only as necessary to protect the natural right to property.  Pull out that wedge and libertarianism slips into anarchism.

                    Join the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy: www.acslaw.org

                    by yella dawg dem on Tue Dec 14, 2004 at 02:54:50 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  aoeu (none)
                      Do you know how libertarians justify a "natural" right to property rights on land?

                      no haikus now,
                      join your local democratic party.
                      There are fights in 2005 coming up.

                      by TealVeal on Tue Dec 14, 2004 at 03:05:37 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  As a "Green Libertarian" (none)
                        I argue for a "natural right" to property for bears.
                      •  My ancestors took it (none)
                        It was just sitting there. We took it.

                        A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. - Emerson

                        by freelunch on Tue Dec 14, 2004 at 04:31:25 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  You work it, you own it. (none)
                        If it's previously unowned, that is.  The idea comes from John Locke's Second Treatise of Government:  what's primarily yours is your own activity, and because you own that activity, you also own all the economic value you produce.  This doesn't mean of course that we all have to be subsistence farmers.  Value can be created by different forms of activity.  Anyway, that's the only argument I can recall hearing for a natural right to private property.  

                        Join the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy: www.acslaw.org

                        by yella dawg dem on Tue Dec 14, 2004 at 06:25:32 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  aoeu (none)
                          At first glance this thought doesn't sit right with me.  Does one lose property rights if one stops working it?  Did the Indians have property rights on land?  They were working the land well before we showed up.  If so these were stolen from them as the Indians were driven off their lands and/or slaughtered.

                          Thanks for the reply.

                          no haikus now,
                          join your local democratic party.
                          There are fights in 2005 coming up.

                          by TealVeal on Tue Dec 14, 2004 at 06:33:38 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Yeah, there are problems. (none)
                            It's impossible to trace the authority of current property holders back to some "state of nature."  Ultimately some sort of conquest gets in the way.  But the conqueror gets to make the property laws and to set up the courts that enforce them.

                            I suppose a libertarian could decide to jettison the notion of natural rights, and I'm sure many people in the Libertarian party wouldn't defend natural rights, if pressed with arguments like this.  They'd be pragmatists about it, like the rest of us.  But the question then becomes how to justify the limitation of state authority to the protection of person and property.  If property rights are positive rights created by the government, rather than natural rights that the government is chartered to protect, then why should property rights have a special status that, say, welfare entitlements don't have?  And why can't property be taken away through taxation when the government decides some other goal is more important?

                            Join the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy: www.acslaw.org

                            by yella dawg dem on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 09:15:27 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  aoeu (none)
                            If only we had more libertarians well versed in their ideology here..Thanks for your long reply, it's something I intend to ask my libertarian friend about next time I see him.

                            no haikus now,
                            join your local democratic party.
                            There are fights in 2005 coming up.

                            by TealVeal on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 10:37:08 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  Libertarians (none)
                      Okay, this is silly. "The libertarian says state power is justified only as necessary to protect the natural right to property."

                      Libertarians object to power based on coercion. The libertarian objection to most of what "liberals" want is simply that it is obtained at the point of a gun. You don't freely choose to pay taxes and have them used for the things they are used for, you do it because you are coerced.

                      Take "abstinance only sex education" for example. I don't want my money wasted on that worthless crap. Libertarians argue that that money is taken from me in taxes. I'm coerced into paying taxes because if I don't I go to jail and I go to jail, ultimately, because a police officer with a gun comes around and will shoot me if I try to escape.

                      This is a legitimate argument. At what point does the government (or anyone else for that matter) have a right to force you to do things? If it's for the common protection (paying the army, paying the cops), a libertarian will go along. But just for social justice, no.

                      The biggest flaw in the libertarian argument is that this is a modern world and it wasn't built on libertarian principles from the ground up. Since most people accept the modern world more or less as is, it would be very disruptive to remake it as a strictly libertarian society.

                      The second biggest flaw is that might doesn't make right. There are inherent inequities in, for example, economic power. Ignoring them means some (in fact most) people are never given equal opportunity. That isn't the way the vast majority of people want to run society.

                      As an ideal, libertarianism has a lot to recommend it. And it is not equivalent to anarchy. (I'll grant that it sometimes seems like anarchy when you talk to Libertarians, but that's another story.)

                      Liberal Thinking

                      Think, liberally.

                      by Liberal Thinking on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 02:08:22 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I don't agree. (none)
                        I'll grant you that my characterization of libertarianism was over-simplified -- it would have to be, given its length -- but it wasn't silly.  It's a very common libertarian position that the function of the state is to protect private property -- and personal safety, which I neglected to mention because everyone but the most extreme anarchist agrees on that -- and that any exercise of state power beyond that is illegitimate.

                        You propose two different alternatives.  First, you say that libertarians "object to power based on coercion."  Surely libertarians don't object to all power based on coercion.  If they did, they would have to object to the criminal law, which is necessarily based on coercion.  We don't just ask people if they'd like to go to jail.  

                        Second, you ask, "at what point does the government (or anyone else for that matter) have the right to force you to do things?"  The person who asks this question isn't objecting to all power based on coercion, but only to some of it.  The question is how to draw the line.  The classic libertarian position, held by many supporters of institutions like the Cato Institute, is that you draw the line at the protection of person and property.  Everything else is libertarian lite.  Not that there's anything wrong with that:  I have never found the arguments for pure libertarianism all that persuasive.  

                        Join the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy: www.acslaw.org

                        by yella dawg dem on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 07:25:35 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

            •  Simply not accurate (none)
              Libertarians in general believe in individual liberty above all else (something democrats used to believe in). They also believe the highway system is a legitimate use of federal money as the federal highway system was and s built as a means of military transport (the dimensions are determined by military needs). You're right that they believe the fed shouldnt be involved in education.. but the fed doesnt fund education except to get votes. Local property taxes usually fund education.

              You should try talking to a few of them for a while before misinterpreting what they think.

              The Democratic party needs to adopt its own moral and values principles (clawed) My other Drunken ravings

              by cdreid on Tue Dec 14, 2004 at 09:30:33 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Consistency (none)
                Except that libertarians don't believe in my personal liberty when I choose to exercise that liberty and vote for politicians who implement programs which libertarians say infringe on personal liberty!

                If you stop me from voting, or stop the politicians from enacting what I voted them in office to do, well, you've infringed my liberty.

                But if you let the politicians go ahead and implement something libertarians think is coercive, then you've infringed liberty, too!

                It's a no-win situation for libertarians.

                •  Where exactly did you get this from? (none)
                  You're claiming libertarians dont believe you have the right to vote?????

                  This post is just mind boggling.

                  The Democratic party needs to adopt its own moral and values principles (clawed) My other Drunken ravings

                  by cdreid on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 12:53:51 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Trying again (none)
                    That is not what I said at all. Let me try again.

                    What I said is that if you are a libertarian and you support my personal freedom, that means you support my personal freedom to vote as I see fit.

                    I want to vote for politicians who will create or support programs which many self-described libertarians say impermissibly infringe personal liberty. (Let's say, for example, Social Security. Many libertarians think compulsory retirement savings represents an impermissible infringement of liberty.)

                    In other words, I want to use my personal liberty (to vote) to restrict my personal liberty (to be required to contribute to Social Security).

                    A libertarian who opposes Social Security will want to see the program eradicated. But if, say, 60% of the population votes in favor of Social Security, then the libertarian is left with an untenable situation. If he tries to get rid of Social Security at that point (perhaps by trying to get it delcared unconstitutional, for instance), then he's going to be abridging the personal freedom of all those who supported it in the first place.

                    (Leave aside the fact that it is extremely unlikely Social Security would ever be declared unconstitutional - I am using it for illustrative purposes only.)

                    •  Actually david (none)
                      Thats exactly what you said.

                      This last post seems to state that if a libertarian works against your political views he or she denies your right to vote. The thinking is muddled and the point is illogical.

                      As i've said before. Try actually talking to some libertarians. Speaking to and learning the reality of those they stereotype is something quite a few Kossacks might want to consider.

                      The Democratic party needs to adopt its own moral and values principles (clawed) My other Drunken ravings

                      by cdreid on Thu Dec 16, 2004 at 08:07:52 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  No (none)
                        You're accusing me of "muddled thinking"? Oy vey. Thanks - that's very generous of you. I could accuse you of muddled reading, but I won't.

                        I've spent a great deal of time studying and thinking about this topic. Your accusation is baseless and unfriendly. Rather than ask me for a further clarification, you attack me and assume the worst of me. That's hardly in the spirit of a site such as this, and certainly not the kind of thing I come here to experience.

                        I'm through discussing this with you.

                        •  You're claiming (none)
                          people you neither know nor understand believe something they dont. I happen to know quite a few of them and understand their philosophy well. And what you very clearly said was wholely untrue.

                          You said
                          Except that libertarians don't believe in my personal liberty when I choose to exercise that liberty and vote for politicians who implement programs which libertarians say infringe on personal liberty!
                          If you stop me from voting, or stop the politicians from enacting what I voted them in office to do, well, you've infringed my liberty.

                          Twice claiming libertarians somehow would refuse your right to vote. Clearly. Your words not mine.
                          You are free to get in a huff and storm off as you will. Enjoy yourself. But those are your words.

                          The Democratic party needs to adopt its own moral and values principles (clawed) My other Drunken ravings

                          by cdreid on Fri Dec 17, 2004 at 03:07:11 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                •  This Is Simple (none)
                  Different libertarians obviously believe different things, but this is a pretty good basic statement:

                  We hold that all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.

                  This is from the big-L Libertarian site. Go look here for more.

                  Liberal Thinking

                  Think, liberally.

                  by Liberal Thinking on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 02:19:14 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  What motivates Libertarian voters (none)
                    I'm not talking theory here, rather what pushes people into identifying with the LP.

                    At least for Wisconsin, most members are either self-employed, or run quite small businesses. While they resent having to pay taxes, what they really hate is the amount of time spent in dealing with paying taxes, documenting expenses, and documenting compliance with all the other regulations covering their business.

                    •  Its' more than that (none)
                      Ive talked to libertarians across the board. A very few are republicans in sheeps clothing. But thats true of the democratic party as well.

                      The common thread i find among libertarians is distrust of government, of corporations, of americas ruling class. It is distrust of those who desire power over their lives. Some its over regulation as you said. Some it is the governments desire to stick its nose into every aspect of their lives. Some distrust an armed government that wants to disarm its citizenry. Some it is the fear of the foolishness and fear-based-legistlating mobs tend to create.

                      The striking thing about democrats who dont understand libertarian thinkign is that libertarians were once , and recently, a large part of the core of the democratic party.

                      The Democratic party needs to adopt its own moral and values principles (clawed) My other Drunken ravings

                      by cdreid on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 03:43:44 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Roads (none)
                    I don't get that philosophy at all.

                    Let's say I like roads. I like it when the government builds and maintains roads.

                    Joe down the street hates roads - or, more accurately, he hates paying taxes which support road building and repair.

                    If I vote for a politician who plans to impose a road-building tax, I've just utilized my right to exercise "sole dominion" over my life, so I've permissibly followed the first part of that credo.

                    But when that politician imposes a road-building tax, he is now "forcibly interfering" with Joe's right to live however he chooses. Thus, I have impermissibly violated the second part of that credo.

                    My point is that no matter what I do or desire, it will necessarily conflict with at least one other person's desires. And if I vote into office people who carry out my desires, those elected officials will necessarily "forcibly interfere" with the desires of those other people.

                    There's no way to win here.

                    •  I'm With You Up to the Last Point (none)
                      There are plenty of things you can do that won't conflict with anyone else's rights. It's true that in a modern society it's pretty hard to make that work. That's why you don't see people migrating to the LP in droves.

                      LP voters seldom make up more than 5% of any election. But if the Democratic Party wants to attract more libertarian votes, I suggest we think of ways to achieve liberal goals that don't involve government coercion. At the same time, I think we need to emphasize the coercive power of corporations and ask the question: "Would you rather have the government coerce you or a corporation? At least with the government most of those affected get a vote."

                      I'd also specifically address the "right to work" issue by saying: "If everyone has a right to associate with whomever they please, then that right applies to workers just like it applies to employers. If you have a majority of workers who only want to associate with union members, that's a strong argument to give them a union."

                      Libertarians strongly believe in doing the right thing. We need to be very clear about what the right thing is.

                      Liberal Thinking

                      Think, liberally.

                      by Liberal Thinking on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 05:12:21 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Lib (none)
                        There are plenty of things you can do that won't conflict with anyone else's rights.

                        I'm really not sure what those might be. Someone will always be unhappy with something I like. And even if you can think of some things, a lot of even the most "basic" things do piss other people off - like the roads example, above.

                        If the simplest things that many of us expect (eg, taxes to pay for roads) infringe other people's rights, then I don't find the libertarian philosophy especially helpful in determining what's appropriate.

                        •  The Hard Cruel World (none)
                          Apparently 90% of people agree with you.

                          Libertarianism is a great philosophy for a world with lots of room. It's hard to imagine it working in a modern large city where you can hardly breath without violating someone's rights.

                          But I hardly think that you fill your day violating other people's rights. You wouldn't get invited to the family gathering at the holidays if you did.

                          The value I've found in libertarianism is a point of view for looking at proposed actions. It might not be possible to put in a road using strictly libertarian principles, but it might do to ask who's rights we're paving over and what we can do about it.

                          Liberal Thinking

                          Think, liberally.

                          by Liberal Thinking on Thu Dec 16, 2004 at 05:18:53 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Once again (none)
                            Please people try actually talking to libertarians or learning something about their philosophy or.. better yet.. your government.

                            Even the most hardcore libertarians strongly support a standing national army and see that as one of the core jobs of the federal government. Now.. heres the kicker.

                            The federal highway system was created and is Directly descended from the need of the US military to rapidly move across the nation. Nothing indirect or hidden. The highways you travel on are designed first around military needs.

                            Please please stop setting up straw horses.

                            The Democratic party needs to adopt its own moral and values principles (clawed) My other Drunken ravings

                            by cdreid on Thu Dec 16, 2004 at 08:12:07 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

      •  Speaking of which (none)
        there is a case out of the 6th on the dormant clause and the race to the bottom (i.e. tax breaks for corporations who locate in within the tax authority's jurisdiction)- Cuno v. Daimler-Chrysler. The court ruled that giving benefits to favor local states was a violation as just as taxing out of state entites was an undue burden.

        "Once in a while you get shown the light In the strangest of places if you look at it right"

        by molly bloom on Tue Dec 14, 2004 at 05:16:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  That wouldn't take a broader interpretation. (none)
      Indeed, the Congress would have the authority to legislate on the matter even under a much narrower interpretation of the Commerce Clause than Wilburn's.
      •  Corrected (none)
        That may have been the issue--something about legislation.  Again, I don't remember the particulars of the piece I heard.  It was about ending state and local giveaways, but it may have been either judicial or legislative.

        Sadly, at the moment my job keeps me too busy to do much digging on it.

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