Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tap-Dancing in a Mine Field

There is this quaint musty old document you may have heard of, the Constitution. One of the bits tacked on, the Bill of Rights, has this knee-slapper:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Avoiding all use of technical financial terms like "tranche" and "mark-to-market" and "leveraged assets", what has happened with the AIG bonus kerfuffle is not about rich v. poor, or misuse of taxpayer funds. (if it were, Congress would be declared unconstitutional). It is about the government deciding that contracts are no longer enforceable if they don't want them to be.

I know the sawing noise coming from the limb they are sitting on can be a bit distracting, but have they really considered the consequences of this? Never mind AIG. Just think of all the contracts we have. Congressional salaries are a contract. Oaths of office are contracts. If Congress can void a valid contract, what else can it take? My house, that I am still making timely payments on. My bank account. My cats. How can I be secure in my property this way? How can THEY be secure in theirs?

And if that didn't cheer you up, guess what? The Social Security surplus fund that has been used to mask the true size of the deficit is all used up. Good thing I never thought I'd get any of that money-- but can they stop taking it from my paycheck now? I have a mattress to stuff.


Anonymous BillT said...

Surprise! There hasn't been a surplus in the SS Surplus Fund since LBJ discovered he needed a source of funding for his vision of the Great Society.

Guns *and* butter.

Raiding the SSSF was a quick fix, and Congress used it a *lot* in the ensuing years, until it dried up and the CongressCritters discovered that DoD's budget could also be raided to a certain extent.

The SSSF has been an accounting trick, sorta like the imaginary savings accrued when military payday shifted from the last day of the month to the first. On paper, *instant* savings at the end if the Fiscal Year. For the first year, anyway -- but it was enough to justify giving themselves a pay raise for showing demonstrable financial acumen and fiduciary responsibility.

Follow Congress' featherbedding example and use down in the mattress. I hear spotted owls are particularly fluffy...

7:47 AM, March 27, 2009  

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