Third Party & Independents Archives

Senator Feingold Has Constitutional Opportunity

Like others promoting constitutional amendments, Senator Russ Feingold, Democrat, Wisconsin, apparently is unaware of the refusal by Congress to obey Article V of the Constitution. He has a fine idea: every senator must actually be elected rather than appointed to that position.

In 1913 the 17th amendment created the potential for governors to make appointments to fill Senate seats until the next regular scheduled general election and 38 states allow this; there have been 185 such appointments. Feingold is right to condemn “decisions being made solely by the powerful, without the consent, or even the input, of the people.”

Congress is unlikely to propose the desired new amendment, however. All of the existing constitutional amendments were proposed by Congress. But many worthwhile ones have never been proposed and sent to the states for ratification. There is an alternative. Article V provides a convention route for proposing amendments. Interest in amendments has triggered over 700 applications from state legislatures to Congress for a convention of state delegates that could propose constitutional amendments. However an amendment is proposed, it still must be ratified by three fourths of the states and the constitutional limitations on Congress limiting it to propose amendments to our present constitution equally apply to a convention.

Senator Feingold and his amendment supporters from both parties, including Senators John McCain and Richard J. Durbin, Representatives James Sensenbrenner and David Dreier, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr., know how difficult it has been for Congress to have the courage to propose amendments that could provide needed government reforms despite wide public support, such as a balanced budget amendment and one replacing the Electoral College with direct voting for the president.

Sadly, few Americans know that Congress has stubbornly refused to obey Article V and honor the fact that the one and only stated requirement to have a convention, namely that two-thirds of state legislatures apply for one, has long been satisfied by a huge margin with over 700 applications from all 50 states. It sounds a little nutty to say that Congress has been able for a very long time to get away with violating the Constitution and their oath of office to obey it. But that is exactly what has happened. The Supreme Court even turned down an opportunity to make Congress obey Article V. As a matter of public record, the government in that lawsuit did not dispute the fact that the single constitutional requirement was met. Nor did it dispute that members of Congress had violated their oath of office.

One reason why Congress has gotten away with this is that it has never established a system to collect and make publicly available all state applications. Out of sight has made it easy for politicians, the media, watchdog groups, academics and the public to remain ignorant of the congressional disgrace. Even more ridiculous is that states keep submitting applications for a convention as if more are needed, oblivious to the fact that they have just kept piling up and ignored by Congress. Even now there are efforts in several states to get a convention because of interest in some other types of constitutional amendments. Rather than expend energy on particular amendments what is critically needed is a focus on getting Congress to obey the Constitution and immediately call the first convention. Like many Supreme Court decisions, the inaction by Congress is an illegal form of changing the Constitution.

State applications have been buried in the voluminous Congressional Record over the history of our country. Finally, a private national, nonpartisan group spent its own money to find, collect and copy these hundreds of state applications for a convention and make them readily available. People can access them at www.foavc.org the site of Friends of the Article V Convention that has the single mission of making Congress obey the Constitution and call the first convention; it does not advocate for any specific amendments.

So, please Senator Feingold, as a true reformer and chair of the Senate's Constitution Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee, take the opportunity to address the disappointing and nasty illegal behavior of Congress. Even more disturbing than people becoming senators without being elected to that high office, something impermissible for House Representatives, is this violation of Article V. Please shift your attention to getting Congress to call the first Article V convention by introducing a joint resolution demanding that action. This would require only a simple majority vote in both houses, in contrast to the two-thirds majority needed for a joint resolution proposing an amendment.

Also, implore President Obama, a former constitutional law professor, to publicly support making Congress, finally, obey the Constitution. This is surely a case of better late than never. For more than empty lip service to the principle that no one is above the law Congress must obey the supreme law of the land and honor the Article V provision for the convention option. This is necessary for credible, law-abiding American democracy. Justice demands this. Without fixing this problem there is even more reason for citizens to have little confidence in Congress and government as a whole.

Posted by Joel S. Hirschhorn at March 14, 2009 10:40 AM
Comments
Comment #277633

I can’t argue with you at all Joel. But the idea of a constitutional convention scares me. What I’m afraid of is that when it’s over the CEO’s will come out and tell us what they decided. I know ¾’s of the states have to ratify it, but then as in the warrantless wiretapping, they can convince people that standing up for the constitution is unpatriotic.

Then again, I’d feel a lot better about it now, than I would have 2 years ago.

Posted by: Mike the Cynic at March 14, 2009 11:26 AM
Comment #277638

Yes, Congress needs to obey the Constitution in all cases. Just consider that every day you have Congress passing some idiotic law. There is no reason to believe that a proposal not agreeable to the majority of voters would gain ratification by the states. That’s a 1000 times more reliable and fool proof than having Congress convene on a daily basis to make law.

Otherwise, we have the government we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 14, 2009 12:20 PM
Comment #277645

Joel, I have read your rants regarding Article V conventions for years. I just want it to be known, that many people (including I), believe that the Constitutional requirements for such a convention have not been fulfilled. The text of Article V is slightly vague, and my interpretation of it is that 2/3 of state legislatures have to apply for one within one congressional session, and they should specify a common purpose on the applications. Otherwise, we’d constantly have a fourth branch of government with powers that are unchecked by any other part of the federal government. Mike the Cynic mentions how this convention could be dangerous to our liberties.

Posted by: Warped Reality at March 14, 2009 1:10 PM
Comment #277647

Joel, in the past, elections were costly time consuming affairs to conduct. Appointments made sense, then. You are right, they don’t make sense today, when the cost to taxpayers could be small and the benefit, democracy in practice, enhanced.

However, until, the voters are willing and capable to vote for a candidate based on their resume’ instead of their party affiliation or big name connections, democracy in practice still leaves a lot to be desired, in the U.S.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 14, 2009 1:20 PM
Comment #277649

What is scarier is that so few mind that the Constitution is being violated.
Especially Article V, despite 730 amendment applicaitons by all 50 states, and over 34 (over the 2/3 required) for a BALANCED BUDGET applications filed between 1975-to-1980 (not even inlcuding hundreds of applications for a General Call for an Article V Convention to propose amendments).

Whenever something is violated, some people try to rationalize and trivialize it by saying: “The Constitution has always been violated, so why get worked-up about it?”, and you are somehow supposed to relax and accept it.

Just think. Perhaps the United States would not be swimming in a massive, untenable $67+ Trillion debt-bubble ($220,000 per-capita) of historic and nightmare proportions if Congress had allowed the United States the opportunity, per Article V, to ratify a BALANCED BUDGET amendment? Instead, $11 Trillion National Debt is the largest ever in size and per-capita (which does not even include the $12.8 Trillion borrowed and spent from Social Security, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 78 Million baby-boomer bubble approaching), and the $67 Trillion nation-wide has almost quintupled from 100% of GDP in 1956 to 483% of GDP.

  • _________ Nation-Wide (D)ebt and (G)DP __________
  • $70.0T |——————————————
  • $67.5T |—————————————-D (Debt=$67 T)
  • $65.0T |—————————————-D
  • $62.5T |—————————————-D
  • $60.0T |—————————————-D
  • $57.5T |—————————————D-
  • $55.0T |—————————————D-
  • $52.5T |—————————————D-
  • $50.0T |—————————————D-
  • $47.5T |—————————————D-
  • $45.0T |—————————————D-
  • $42.5T |—————————————D-
  • $40.0T |————————————-D—
  • $37.5T |————————————D—-
  • $35.0T |———————————-D——
  • $32.5T |———————————-D——
  • $30.0T |———————————D——-
  • $27.5T |——————————-D———
  • $25.0T |——————————D———-
  • $22.5T |—————————-D————
  • $20.0T |—————————D————-
  • $17.5T |————————-D—————
  • $15.0T |————————D—————G (GDP=$13.86 T in 2007)
  • $12.5T |———————D——————-
  • $10.0T |—————-D————G———-
  • $07.5T |———-D———-G——————
  • $05.0T |-D——-G——————————
  • $02.5T |-G—————————————
  • $00.0T +(1956)————————- (2009)YEAR

Also, it appears Congress has failed miserably (probably by design) to track the hundreds of amendment applications.
Well, no more.
Anyone wishing to see the 730 amendment applications found thus far can see them here: FOAVC.ORG/file.php/1/Amendments/
If enough Americans still don’t care, then they should not be surprised when more onstitutional violations and abuses (One-Simple-Idea.com/Abuses.htm) follow.

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at March 14, 2009 1:30 PM
Comment #277654
Warped Reality (how apropos) wrote: I just want it to be known, that many people (including I), believe that the Constitutional requirements for such a convention have not been fulfilled.
False. They have been met. 37+ different states have submitted 104 BALANCED BUDGET/GENERAL CALL amendments and 34 were between 1975 and 1980.

Besides, there is no (a)time-limit, (a)same-subject, or (a)contemporaneous requirements in Article V whatsoever.
But, even if there were such requirements, those requirements have already been met.
To say there are is complete fiction:

  • Article V of the U.S. Constitution: The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight [1808] shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.

Warped Reality wrote: The text of Article V is slightly vague, and my interpretation of it is that 2/3 of state legislatures have to apply for one within one congressional session, and they should specify a common purpose on the applications.
Really? Where exactly does it state that in Article V? Could you be so kind to point out which words above state anything about time-limits and same-subject requirements?

Regarding interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, especially regarding Article V, please see the following court cases.

Warped Reality wrote: Mike the Cynic mentions how this convention could be dangerous to our liberties.
Not true. It requires 3/4 of all states to ratify any proposed amendments. Also, all 50 states have had 679 Constitutional Conventions, and none of them got out of control. So, such fear-mongering is unjustified.

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at March 14, 2009 1:49 PM
Comment #277659

It just occurred to me that I have never thanked all those involved in running Watchblog and all the many contributors. What a wonderful vehicle for those who wish to post their thinking about issues without fear of ridicule or reprisal.

A hearty thank you for all you have done for us.

Posted by: Jim M at March 14, 2009 2:54 PM
Comment #277663

Ditto!

Posted by: d.a.n at March 14, 2009 2:57 PM
Comment #277672

Agreed! Very much appreciated.

Posted by: Honest at March 14, 2009 4:08 PM
Comment #277674

d.a.n.,

False. They have been met. 37+ different states have submitted 104 BALANCED BUDGET/GENERAL CALL amendments and 34 were between 1975 and 1980.

I said many people believe that the requirements have not been fulfilled. Regardless as to whether this interpretation or that interpretation, is correct, you cannot possibly deny that there are many people who disagree with you.


I said that Article V is vague because the Constitution says, “The Congress,… on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments”. Does the phrase “The Congress” refer to just the Congress currently in session? Or does it refer to all Congress’s that precede it? In other words, is Congress obligated to respect applications that were made to a previous Congresses? I think that point is debatable, and both arguments have valid points.

Also, the phrase “call a convention for proposing amendments” has a vagueness as well. Certainly, such a convention is limited in scope to amending the Constitution, but is it limited in which amendments can be proposed? The Constitution says “a convention for proposing amendments”, with the context that this is happening after applications from 2/3 of the states; therefore, it seems that amendments proposed at such a convention may have something to do with the topics in the applications. Unfortunately, the Constitution is not clear in this regard. There is no adjective before the word “amendments”; thus we do not know if these are certain, specific amendments petitioned for in the states’ applications, or is the convention able to propose any amendment they desire.

The last bit of vagueness is in the phrase “shall call a convention”. It could be that the word shall does not necessarily mean that Congress is forced to call a convention, only that it has the option to do so.


Not true. It requires 3/4 of all states to ratify any proposed amendments. Also, all 50 states have had 679 Constitutional Conventions, and none of them got out of control. So, such fear-mongering is unjustified.

How can 50 states have 679 Constitutional Conventions? Don’t states operate under a Constitution that was adopted when they were admitted to the Union?

Finally, you never addressed my contention that there is no check from the Federal government on what happens at a constitutional convention.

I don’t dispute that the interpretation brought by Joel and you can be supported by the Constitution. My only objection is that such an interpretation has a large potential for unintended consequences. It also means that Article V convention would become a permanent fixture of our government, and that the states would have power unchecked by the federal government.

Posted by: Warped Reality at March 14, 2009 4:17 PM
Comment #277679

Yes, there are some contentious debates at times but doesn’t seem to result in any hard feelings. And, you usually get a better understanding of the issue being debated regardless of side tracks, jokes, lack of debating skills, etc.
Here is a repost of my efforts to gain the attention of my reps in congress regarding Article V. First, from John Warner:

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 14, 2009 5:43 PM
Comment #277680

Yes, there are some contentious debates at times but doesn’t seem to result in any hard feelings. And, you usually get a better understanding of the issue being debated regardless of side tracks, jokes, lack of debating skills, etc.
Here is a repost of my efforts to gain the attention of my reps in congress regarding Article V. First, from John Warner:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the process by which the United States Constitution may be amended. I appreciate your thoughtful inquiry on this matter.
As you know, Article V of the United States Constitution states: “The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress….”

With respect to amending the Constitution by convention, to date, this method of amendment has never been invoked successfully. Additionally, history documents that there have been many attempts to amend the Constitution. According to one study, since 1789, over 10,000 amendments to the Constitution have been proposed in Congress, but only twenty-seven amendments have ever been ratified.
When considering proposed amendments to the Constitution, I first look back to history. In the summer of 1787, fifty-five individuals gathered in Philadelphia to write our Constitution. It was a very hot summer, and it was a long and arduous debate. Finally, in mid-September, our Founding Fathers produced a Constitution that was a monumental achievement; an achievement that would enable the United States, today, these 200-plus years later, to become the oldest continuously surviving Republic form of government on Earth today.
Should you have other questions or concerns regarding the Constitution or the amendment process, please do not hesitate to contact me again.
Again, thank you for contacting me.
With kind regards, I am
Sincerely,
John Warner
United States Senator

I responded, with the help of Bill Walker:

Senator (John Warner)
In 2006 you joined a federal lawsuit to declare you and all other members of Congress had the right to veto the law of the Constitution under the political question doctrine. The suit was Walker v Members of Congress which dealt with the peremptory obligation of Congress to call an Article V Convention. There are over 500 applications on file from all 50 states. Only 34 applications from 34 states are required in order to have Congress issue a call. The actual texts of these applications are now available for public viewing at the website www.foavc.org. Your attorney of record, the Solicitor General of the United States stated at the Supreme Court that the required call is based solely on a numeric count of states. He also stated that by you even joining this federal lawsuit and asserting in a public lawsuit you have the right to veto the Constitution you violated federal criminal law, specifically your oath of office. Would you care to comment, senator, on why you feel you have the right to veto the Constitution and has your position changed on your opposition to an Article V Convention?
In light of these facts of public record do you still hold that your constitutionally mandated obligation to call an Article V Convention as specified in Article V is still somehow related to submissions of individual amendment proposals by members of Congress in Congress as your letter seems to indicate and if so, would you please explain how a “peremptory” constitutional duty, as admitted by your counsel of record the Solicitor General of the United States at the Supreme Court bears any relationship to the fact individual member of Congress have submitted amendment proposals which Congress has disposed of? Are you suggesting that simply because Congress can reject amendment proposals submitted by individual members of Congress that this empowers
Congress to be able to veto the Constitution in regards to the rest of the amendatory process?

And, a response from Eric Cantor:

Thank you for contacting me with regard to Article V of the United States Constitution. I appreciate hearing from you and having the benefit of your views.

Article V of the Constitution lays out the process by which amends to the document can be made. Amendments may be proposed by the Congress or by a national convention called for by at least two-thirds of state legislatures. You may be assured that I will keep you thoughts about Article V in mind during my time in the House of Representatives.

Again, thank you for contacting me…(etc)

Must of been wrote by a GS-6 with a hangover. Anyway, the Founder’s called for an Article V Convention and therefore, I want one. Congress simply doesn’t want to share power under any circumstance, even if it means violating the Constitution. Just think, if we threatened an Article V to gain a flat tax or healthcare the system might respond. Nah!

Otherwise, we have the government we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 14, 2009 6:01 PM
Comment #277721
Warped Reality wrote: I said many people believe that the requirements have not been fulfilled. Regardless as to whether this interpretation or that interpretation, is correct, you cannot possibly deny that there are many people who disagree with you.
OK, some people believe the requirements of Article V have not been met.

However, most Americans don’t even know what Article V is.
And despite what some people think, the conditions of Article V have been met, and far exceeded (730+ applications from all 50 states, 104 applications for a BALANCED BUDGET/General-Call-for-an-Article-V-Convention amendments from 37 states, and 34 BALANCED BUDGET amendments between 1975 and 1980).

Those that don’t think so have a very weak case, and will dig themselves into a very deep hole trying to resort to construction and re-interpretations of the Constitution, ignoring the true spirit of law, ignoring the massive number of applications from all 50 states, the 34 BALANCED BUDGET amendments between 1975 and 1980, and/or trying to fear-monger about Article V.

Warped Reality wrote: I said that Article V is vague because the Constitution says, “The Congress,… on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments”. Does the phrase “The Congress” refer to just the Congress currently in session? Or does it refer to all Congress’s that precede it? In other words, is Congress obligated to respect applications that were made to a previous Congresses? I think that point is debatable, and both arguments have valid points.
There is only one Congress at any given time, and that is yet another lame obfuscation to cloud the issue, obscure the facts, and re-interpret the Constitution.

Again, there are no time-limits or same-subject requirements whatsoever in Article V, and to say there is requires construction and re-interpretation of the Constitution.
But regarding contemporaneousness, you are still ignoring the 34+ BALANCED BUDGET amendment applications submitted between 1975 and 1980.
How about the 104 BALANCED BUDGET/General-Article-V-Call applications submitted by 37 different states?
How about the 154 Amendments by 34 States (sorted by State) in 7 years from 1963 to 1969?
How about the 102 Amendments by 35 States (sorted by State) in 7 years from 1965 to 1971?
How about the 730+ amendments applications by all 50 states?
That’s 14.6 amendment applications per state.
Many occurred in a short period of time (e.g. BALANCED BUDGET Amendment).
Anyway, where in Article V does it state anything about time-limits or same-subject requirements?

Another important point about whether the intended meaning of the word “whenever” in Article V implies some sort of expiration time-limit was intended by the framers is further deteriorated by the fact that the framers of Article V carefully specified an expiration time-limit within Article V for restrictions on amendments to the 1st and 4th clauses of the 9th section of the 1st Article prior to year 1808. Therefore, if the framers intended for there to be an expiration time-limit on proposed amendments for other parts of the U.S. Constitution, how likely is it that they would so explicitly include restrictions on amendments to the 1st and 4th clauses of the 9th section of the 1st Article prior to year 1808, but forget to specify expiration time-limits for restrictions for future amendments to other parts of the U.S. Constitution?

Warped Reality wrote: Also, the phrase “call a convention for proposing amendments” has a vagueness as well.
Not true. The langauge is very clear and unambiguous. In fact, with regard specifically to Article V:
  • United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931), the Supreme Court stated: “The United States asserts that article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity and calls for no resort to rules of construction. A mere reading demonstrates that this is true. It provides two methods for proposing amendments. Congress may propose them by a vote of two-thirds of both houses, or, on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the States, must call a convention to propose them.”
  • Hawke v. Smith, 253 U.S. 221 (1920): “The framers of the Constitution realized that it might in the progress of time and the development of new conditions require changes, and they intended to provide an orderly manner in which these could be accomplished; to that end they adopted the fifth article. This article makes provision for the proposal of amendments either by two-thirds of both houses of Congress or on application of the Legislatures of two-thirds of the states; thus securing deliberation and consideration before any change can be proposed. … The fifth article is a grant of authority by the people to Congress. The determination of the method of ratification is the exercise of a national power specifically granted by the Constitution; that power is conferred upon Congress, and is limited to two methods, by the action of the Legislatures of three-fourths of the states, or conventions in a like number of states. The framers of the Constitution might have adopted a different method. Ratification might have been left to a vote of the people, or to some authority of government other than that selected. The language of the article is plain, and admits no doubt in its interpretation. It is not the function of courts or legislative bodies, national or state, to alter the method which the Constitution has fixed.”
Warped Reality wrote: Certainly, such a convention is limited in scope to amending the Constitution, but is it limited in which amendments can be proposed?
No. Why should it be, when it requires 3/4 of the states to ratify any proposed amendment. To do so would obviosly defeat the purpose of proposing amendments, now wouldn’t it.
Warped Reality wrote: The Constitution says “a convention for proposing amendments”, with the context that this is happening after applications from 2/3 of the states; therefore, it seems that amendments proposed at such a convention may have something to do with the topics in the applications.
False. There is no requirement whatsoever for same-subject amendments. But even if that were true, that condition has already been met too, by the 104+ Balanced Budget/General Amendments by 37 Different States (source: FOAVC.ORG/file.php/1/Articles/AmendmentsTables.htm#Table03 , FOAVC.ORG/file.php/1/Articles/AmendmentsTables.htm#Table04).
Warped Reality wrote: Unfortunately, the Constitution is not clear in this regard.
False. It’s very clear, and your weak and lame excuses don’t change the facts. As stated above in Hawke v. Smith, 253 U.S. 221 (1920): “The language of the article is plain, and admits no doubt in its interpretation.”
Warped Reality wrote: There is no adjective before the word “amendments”; thus we do not know if these are certain, specific amendments petitioned for in the states’ applications, or is the convention able to propose any amendment they desire.
There is no need for an adjective.

You’re getting desparate now, eh?
Also notice the word “amendments” is plural.
There is no same-subject requirement whatsoever, and no amount of construction or re-interpretation will change that.

You’re reaching and resorting to construction and re-interpretation. Again, as stated above: “United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931), the Supreme Court stated: “The United States asserts that article 5 is clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity and calls for no resort to rules of construction. A mere reading demonstrates that this is true.”

Such construction and re-interpretations clearly go against the courts’ common-sense rules of interpretation of the Constitution. Do you really believe that this sort of obfuscation and construction has not been visited before? That’s why, long ago, the courts developed rules for the interpretation of the Constitution.

Warped Reality wrote: The last bit of vagueness is in the phrase “shall call a convention”. It could be that the word shall does not necessarily mean that Congress is forced to call a convention, only that it has the option to do so.
Not only are you attempting to contruct and re-interpret the Constitution, but the English language too, eh?

shall

    1. Used before a verb in the infinitive to show:
  • (a) Something that will take place or exist in the future: We shall arrive tomorrow.

  • (b) Something, such as an order, promise, requirement, or obligation: You shall leave now. He shall answer for his misdeeds. The penalty shall not exceed two years in prison.

  • (c) The will to do something or have something take place: I shall go out if I feel like it.

  • (d) Something that is inevitable: That day shall come.

  • 2. Archaic:
  • (a) To be able to.

  • (b) To have to; must.

Webster’s New Students Dictionary (legal meaning of “shall”):

shall

    1. (a) used to express a command or exhortation (you shall go).
  • (b) used in laws, regulations, or directives to express what is mandatory (it shall be unlawful to carry firearms).

  • mandatory:
  • 1. (a) containing or constituting a command: Obligatory (mandatory tasks)(attendance at the first meeting is mandatory) one giving a mandate.

Seems pretty clear to me what “shall” means. No where does “shall” equate to “optional”. Also, if you investigate the meaning of the word “shall” in 1787, you will find that the meaning in 1787 also referred to a command, requirement, obligation, or mandatory obligation. Besides, if you still have any doubt about the meaning of “shall”, the Federalist 85 Papers make it very clear that Article V is peremptory:

  • Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist 85 Papers: The words of this article [5] are peremptory. The Congress “shall call a convention.” Nothing in this particular is left to the discretion of that body. And of consequence, all the declamation about the disinclination to a change vanishes in air. Nor however difficult it may be supposed to unite two thirds or three fourths of the State legislatures, in amendments which may affect local interests, can there be any room to apprehend any such difficulty in a union on points which are merely relative to the general liberty or security of the people. We may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority.

Would you now like to debate the meaning of the words: “peremptory” , “obligatory” , “mandatory” ?

Warped Reality wrote:
  • d.a.n wrote: It requires 3/4 of all states to ratify any proposed amendments. Also, all 50 states have had 679 Constitutional Conventions, and none of them got out of control. So, such fear-mongering is unjustified.
How can 50 states have 679 Constitutional Conventions? Don’t states operate under a Constitution that was adopted when they were admitted to the Union?
Are you disputing the evidence? And that evidence of 679 State Constitutional Conventions is only up to year 1917. There have been others since. Just google “state constitutional convention” (over 2 million hits). States change their constitutions all the time. That’s a little fact that you were apparently unaware of, and makes fear-mongering about Article V a bit inconvenient, since none of those conventions got out-of-control, eh? Iraq had a Constitutional Convention recently. So did Afghanistan. So have many nations. Thus, the fear-mongering about Article V doesn’t make sense.
Warped Reality wrote: Finally, you never addressed my contention that there is no check from the Federal government on what happens at a constitutional convention.
I did. No amendments becomes law without ratification by 3/4 of all states. Nothing can be changed without ratification by 3/4 of all states.
Warped Reality wrote: I don’t dispute that the interpretation brought by Joel and you can be supported by the Constitution. My only objection is that such an interpretation has a large potential for unintended consequences.
Not true. No amendments becomes law without ratification by 3/4 of all states. Besides, are we supposed to only enforce the parts of the Constitution we like? If you don’t like Article V, then perhaps you should propose an amendment to change it? Oh wait … someone already did that too. What good is it when Congress choosed to blatantly violate the Constitution? What’s next? If citizens allow some violations of the Constititution, they should not be surprised when other parts of the Constitution are violated too, and continue to grow in number.
Warped Reality wrote: It also means that Article V convention would become a permanent fixture of our government, and that the states would have power unchecked by the federal government.
In case you haven’t noticed, the severely bloated federal government has too much power now over the states, because of constitutional violations such as Article V.

Just think. Perhaps the United States would not be swimming in a massive, untenable $67+ Trillion debt-bubble ($220,000 per-capita) of historic and nightmare proportions if Congress had allowed the United States the opportunity, per Article V, to ratify a BALANCED BUDGET amendment between 1975 and 1980, when 34+ BALANCED BUDGET amendment applications were submitted (source: foavc.org/file.php/1/Amendments/CR%20127%20%20%20Pg%2021538%20%20Yr%201981-Summary%20of%20Applications.JPG)? Instead, $11 Trillion National Debt is the largest ever in size and per-capita (which does not even include the $12.8 Trillion borrowed and spent from Social Security, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 78 Million baby-boomer bubble approaching), and the $67 Trillion nation-wide has almost quintupled from 100% of GDP in 1956 to 483% of GDP.

Roy Ellis, Thank you for sharing those letters from Senator John Warner and Representative Eric Cantor. Notice how they evade your questions and assertions that more than 2/3 of all 50 states have already submitted 730+ Article V amendment applications? Is anyone really surprised that incumbent politicians in Congress, with a clear conflict of interest, are determined to disallow anything that may possibly reduce their power, opportunities for self-gain, and the security of their cu$hy incumbencies?

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at March 15, 2009 12:56 PM
Comment #277730
* d.a.n wrote: It requires 3/4 of all states to ratify any proposed amendments. Also, all 50 states have had 679 Constitutional Conventions, and none of them got out of control. So, such fear-mongering is unjustified.

How can 50 states have 679 Constitutional Conventions? Don’t states operate under a Constitution that was adopted when they were admitted to the Union?

Are you disputing the evidence? And that evidence of 679 State Constitutional Conventions is only up to year 1917. There have been others since. Just google “state constitutional convention” (over 2 million hits). States change their constitutions all the time. That’s a little fact that you were apparently unaware of, and makes fear-mongering about Article V a bit inconvenient, since none of those conventions got out-of-control, eh?

I plead ignorance here. The only state Constitution I am familiar with is the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which is the same one John Adams wrote in 1780. I didn’t know we were a rarity amongst the fifty states and that the other states like to change their constitutions so much.

Regarding the Supreme Court, as far as I know, none of those court cases dealt with the clause regulating Constitutional Conventions, but with the other parts of Article V. Also, didn’t the Court reject an appeal advocating for establishing such a convention? Didn’t the court say that it is the domain of Congress to settle any questions regarding an Article V convention?

Nevertheless, I concede to arguments against some of my parsing of the language in Article V, especially regarding the plurality of the word “Amendments” implying the adjective “any” and the mandatory nature of the word shall. I still think that the reference to Congress may refer to a single session of Congress, which usually lasts two years. I think this is analogous to a bill that fails to be voted upon in one session of Congress; it must start the process all over again after the new congress is sworn in.

I have looked at that FOAVC site again and I cannot find whether at any point 2/3 of the states submitted applications within the span of one session of Congress. If I am wrong, please point me to the right place. The best I can find are the two seven year spans that you have already cited.

However, I still think the clauses of Article V referring to a new Constitutional Convention are poorly thought out, and should be fixed by a new amendment if necessary. Our government is built upon checks and balances; an Article V convention would be unchecked by the federal government. It does not matter that you and some people feel that the federal government holds too much power right now. I currently think the executive branch has to much power, this does not mean I advocate removing the veto power of the President. Congress should have the power to block Constitutional Conventions (even if it does not presently have that power, Article V should be amended so that it does).

Posted by: Warped Reality at March 15, 2009 2:31 PM
Comment #277733

States AMEND their constitutions all the time. Texas is a leader in this, precisely to AVOID a Constitutional Convention, which has the potential of rewriting the Constitution from Scratch, which Texas’ Constitution absolutely requires. No one, not even the most scholarly Constitutional lawyer in Texas, can grasp the mile high documented amendments that have accrued since the State’s incorporation into the Union.

But, state’s constitutional conventions are a very different animal than a federal constitutional convention. Who can credibly make the case that if a federal Constitutional Convention were held, that it would begin with throwing the current Constitution, replete with its Amendments and court rulings, out the window to start anew? No One, would be my answer. Though there are some who would make that motion, but the motion would obviously not carry.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 15, 2009 2:51 PM
Comment #277739
Warped Reality wrote: The only state Constitution I am familiar with is the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which is the same one John Adams wrote in 1780. I didn’t know we were a rarity amongst the fifty states and that the other states like to change their constitutions so much.
Actually, Massachussetts had 4 state constitutional conventions between years 1778 and 1917:
  • (1) CONVENTION 1778
  • (2) CONVENTION 1779-1780
  • (3) CONVENTION 1820-1821
  • (4) CONVENTION 1853
See page 21 of 48 for details. I think there were 2 or 3 more Massachussetts state constitutional conventons in years 1917 (source: www.questia.com/library/book/debates-in-the-massachusetts-constitutional-convention-1917-1918-by-massachusetts-constitutional-convention.jsp), 1920, and 2007 (source: www.youtube.com/watch?v=PU71RjMPKdQ).
Warped Reality wrote: Regarding the Supreme Court, as far as I know, none of those court cases dealt with the clause regulating Constitutional Conventions, but with the other parts of Article V. Also, didn’t the Court reject an appeal advocating for establishing such a convention? Didn’t the court say that it is the domain of Congress to settle any questions regarding an Article V convention?
The court refused to hear “Walker v Members of Congress” regarding Article V, claiming the plaintiff had “no standing”. It was only case ever regarding the violation by Congress to call an Article V Convention). Since the court refused to hear the case on the basis of “no standing”, the court has essentially made revealed that a citizen of the U.S. can not question any violation of the Constitution. There’s much more about that here.
Warped Reality wrote: Nevertheless, I concede to arguments against some of my parsing of the language in Article V, especially regarding the plurality of the word “Amendments” implying the adjective “any” and the mandatory nature of the word shall.
That shows integrity.
Warped Reality wrote: I still think that the reference to Congress may refer to a single session of Congress, which usually lasts two years.
Well, since it doesn’t say so, it can’t be assumed that any time-limit exists. After all, Congress allowed many years and decades for states to ratify some amendments. Some people have argued for 7 year time limit. Once an amendment is provided to the states for ratification, Congress can set a time limit (typically 7 years) for amendment to be ratified by 3/4 of the states. However, the 27th Amendment was ratified after 203 years. Beginning with the proposed 18th Amendment, Congress has customarily included a provision requiring ratification within 7 years from the time of the submission to the States. The Supreme Court, in Coleman v. Miller, 307 U.S. 433 (1939), declared that the question of the reasonableness of the time within which a sufficient number of States must act to ratify an amendment is a political question to be determined by the Congress.

Therefore, even if a 7 year period existed, since it is acceptable for ratification, then it seems reasonable that 7 years is acceptable for the expiration of proposed amendments. If so, that condition has been satisfied at least twice (for the 7 years from 1963 to 1969, and from 1965 to 1971), as shown below in TABLE 06 (FOAVC.ORG/file.php/1/Articles/AmendmentsTables.htm#Table06) and TABLE 07 (FOAVC.org/file.php/1/Articles/AmendmentsTables.htm#Table07) respectively.

Warped Reality wrote: I think this is analogous to a bill that fails to be voted upon in one session of Congress; it must start the process all over again after the new congress is sworn in.
That is an opinion, which lacks any language in Article V of the U.S. Constitutuion or any court cases to support it. There are several statements by the courts that specifically refer to Article V and its meaning being “clear in statement and in meaning, contains no ambiguity” (United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716 (1931)), and “the article [5] is plain, and admits no doubt in its interpretation” (Hawke v. Smith, 253 U.S. 221 (1920)).

Again, there is no such language, time-limits, or same-subject requirements in Article V. If a time limit was intended, it seems very unlikely that the framers of Article V would so carefully specify an expiration within Article V for restrictions on amendments to the 1st and 4th clauses of the 9th section of the 1st Article prior to year 1808. Therefore, if the framers intended for there to be an expiration time-limit on proposed amendments for other parts of the U.S. Constitution, how likely is it that they would so explicitly include restrictions on amendments to the 1st and 4th clauses of the 9th section of the 1st Article prior to year 1808, but forget to specify expiration time-limits for restrictions for future amendments to other parts of the U.S. Constitution?

Warped Reality wrote: I have looked at that FOAVC site again and I cannot find whether at any point 2/3 of the states submitted applications within the span of one session of Congress. If I am wrong, please point me to the right place. The best I can find are the two seven year spans that you have already cited.
There is no time-limit requirement. However,
Warped Reality wrote: However, I still think the clauses of Article V referring to a new Constitutional Convention are poorly thought out, and should be fixed by a new amendment if necessary.
I also think the language should be improved to dispell the attempts at construction and re-interpretation, but that may be futile since the real intention and spirit of any law are always vulnerable to construction and re-interpretation. That is, laws don’t mean much when they are ignored or selectively enforced. Congress and the courts have chosen to violate Article V, and revealed that U.S. citizens have “no standing” when they feel that Article V (and possibly other parts) of the U.S. Constitution has been violated.
Warped Reality wrote: Our government is built upon checks and balances; an Article V convention would be unchecked by the federal government.
Not true.

It is not “Unchecked”, since no proposed amendments can become law without ratification by 3/4 of the states.
We’ve already had 27 amendments ratified by the states.
That process has worked OK, so why undermine it?
And in undermining it, is it not a violation of the Constitution?
If we allow one parts of the Constitution to be violated, should we be surprised when more parts are subsequently violated?
Without consistent enforcement of the law, it will lead to more lawlessness and trampling of the Constitution.
Wanting the Constitution to be obeyed is not unpatriotic.
And if the Constitution has a problem, we should have a means to amend it.
That was the purpose of Article V, and I personally believe that the framers of the Constituion were wise to include Article V in the U.S. Constitution.
I only wish they had been careful to make it crystal clear to rule out any construction and re-interpretation of Article V that fuel the theories of same-subject amendments and/or contemporaneousness. But, the language doesn’t really matter when corruption has been allowed to grow too far for too long.

Warped Reality wrote: It does not matter that you and some people feel that the federal government holds too much power right now.
The federal government obviously has too much power if it is able to violate the Constituion (in several ways: One-Simple-Idea.com/ConstitutionalViolations1.htm), has the power to ruin the economy with massive fiscal irresponsibility, massive debt, and not only allows but fosters numerous abuses and manifestations of unchecked greed (One-Simple-Idea.com/Abuses.htm). Congress is violating the states rights by refusing to call an Article V Convention.
Warped Reality wrote: I currently think the executive branch has to much power, this does not mean I advocate removing the veto power of the President.
I agree.

However, that’s a separate issue, which can also be addressed via Article V, if enough states want it and can ratify any amendment(s) to limit such power. It still does not change the fact that sufficient (34+) states have submitted more than enough amendment applications to require Congress to call a peremptory Article V Convention. All 50 states have submitted 730+ amendments (14.6 per state on average). Eventually, when the federal government has grown sufficiently corrupt, as it will since power corrupts, the states will finally demand that Congress obey the Constitution.

Warped Reality wrote: Congress should have the power to block Constitutional Conventions …
Really? That is essentially saying that Congress should have the power to violate the Constitution.
Warped Reality wrote: Congress should have the power to block Constitutional Conventions (even if it does not presently have that power, Article V should be amended so that it does).
And who is going to ratify amendments to Article V?

Even if Congress put an amendment of Article V up for a vote for the states to ratify, do you seriously believe 3/4 of the states are going to ratify an amendment to relinquish their check on the federal government’s thirst for power?

Not likely.
Eventually, as the federal government grows fiscally and morally bankrupt, the states will suffer and that pain and misery will most likely lead the states to finally force Congress to adhere to Article V of the Constitution.
But, if the states did ratify an amendment to Article V to allow Congress total control over the amendatory process, it would eventually lead to something worse, since power corrupts. The 2/3 requirement for an Article V Convention , and the 3/4 ratification requirment to make any amendment law is the checks-and-balances that the framers of the Constitution intended for the states to have, because they knew someday that the federal government would eventually abuse its power. How much more proof of that do we need? Consider the arrogance of Congress today, which just gave itself its 10th raise in 12 years and $93,000 per Congress person for petty cash and expenses, while U.S. troops risk life and limb, go without armor, adequate medical care, and promised benefits, and have to do 2, 3, 4+ tours in Iraq and Afghanistan?

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at March 15, 2009 6:02 PM
Comment #277744

Refering to state constitutions as a framework for the US Constitution is worrisome at best.

We’ve seen the stupidity of California’s problems with ballot propositions.

We’ve seen the complete idiocy of Texas’ constant amending of it’s constitution.

The Texas Constitution is one of the longest in the nation and is still growing. As of 2007 (80th Legislature), the Texas Legislature has passed a total of 632 amendments. Of these, 456 have been adopted and 176 have been defeated by Texas voters. Thus, the Texas Constitution has been amended 456 times since its adoption in 1876.

Few here are proponents of the US taxcode. Do you want an even more complex and lengthy Constitution? Be careful what you wish for.

Posted by: gergle at March 15, 2009 7:10 PM
Comment #277748

Any amendment requires 3/4 states to ratify.

Is that a trivial hurdle?

Posted by: d.a.n at March 15, 2009 8:24 PM
Comment #277771

d.a.n, huge hurdle, and one which would favor delegates to the convention who rest easier with tampering with U.S. Constitution as little as necessary. Hence, a federal Constitutional Convention poses far fewer risks than most people realize. Of course, I have to now throw in the caveat, that it would depend upon the political climate at the time, and procedures by which, delegates to the Constitutional Convention were chosen. To be sure, some states would attempt to revise their delegate selection process in the advent of a real possibility of a federal Constitutional Convention. I am not sure that would constitute a very large concern though, either.

I suspect that an Article V convention would produce a fairly small number of changes to our Constitution, and of those which did not work as anticipated, amendments would follow, likely reversing the language change, as consensus on any other option would prove most difficult.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 16, 2009 2:15 PM
Comment #277795

Right. It would probably only produce a few changes, if any. Even though 37 or 38 states have submitted 104+ Article V Applications to propose a BALANCED BUDGET amendment, it would require 38 states to ratify it, and there would most likely be a 7 year time-limit in which to ratify it. And it seems logical (even though it is not explicity spelled out anywhere) that the counters of the number of all proposed amendments would restart at ZERO after an Article V Convention.

But for me, what is of more urgent concern than any proposed amendments is Congress’ refusal to obey the Constitution. Most of the BALANCED BUDGET Amendments were submitted in the 1960s and 1970s. If Congress had obeyed the Constitution and a BALANCED BUDGET Amendment had been ratified, we may not have the massive debt-bubble that exists today.

And going forward, if we allow Congress to violate 1, 2, or more portions of the constitution, it makes each violation easier, and it won’t be long before the Constitution is mostly (if not completely) useless.

Having said all of that, an Article V Convention is not going to solve this nation’s most pressing problems. Most likely, only the voters can it now, and that ain’t likely while too many voters continue to reward incumbent politicians in Congress with 85%-to-90% re-election rates.

Ben Bernanke is now perdicting the end of this recession around the end of 2009. That doesn’t seem even remotely likely to me, and most of his predictions so far have been wrong. Also, the real problem that got us here not only still exists, but has grown larger (i.e. a massive debt-bubble of both federal and non-federal debt; $11 Trillion federal National Debt, and $54.2 Trillion nation-wide debt, excluding the $12.8 Trillion borrowed and spent from Social Security, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 78 Million baby-boomer bubble approaching).
And what makes even less sense to me is the idea that the solution to our massive debt-bubble is more easing on lending.
How if most people are already swimming in debt?
How if most people are tapped out?
How when 80% of Americans own only 17% of all wealth?
How when 90%-to-95% of all U.S. Dollars in existence in the U.S. exists as debt?

The math still doesn’t make any sense to me, and I’ve still seen no economic theory, or historical precedent that makes the math look any better.

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at March 16, 2009 6:42 PM
Comment #277810

d.a.n, I agree about the convention.

As for Bernanke, I think your comments have not researched his speeches and actions of the last 18 months. For you to say most of his predictions have been wrong, attests 1) that you have not surveyed ALL his predictions, and 2) that your comment does not do Bernanke’s statements credit since Bernanke is very, very careful about making predictions without that incredibly all important word of logic, if. I think if you research his projections, and whether or not the IF portions played out or not, you will find that Bernanke’s projections are pretty accurate.

His one projected error was in projecting that the financial institutions would not domino as a result of Lehman Bros. being allowed to fail. To his credit, he admits this error and having been blinded to it by his immersion in the robust banking transactions taking place just prior to Lehman Bros.’s bankruptcy declaration.

Perhaps you could quote some other projections of his which you believe were erroneous, as I am unfamiliar with them in my review of his speeches and remarks before Congress.

Bernanke was dead on right with his remarks of yesterday morning. Or, was that this morning? It is all taking place at such a blurring pace.

Again, Bernanke’s remarks about the recession ending this year are predicated on IF statements. You must pay very close attention to those if conditions. Here are the exact quotes, d.a.n:

Pelley: “Mr. Chairman, I’m gonna start with a question that everyone wants me to ask: when does this end?” 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley asked Bernanke.

Bernanke: “It depends a lot on the financial system,” he replied. “The lesson of history is that you do not get a sustained economic recovery as long as the financial system is in crisis. We’ve seen some progress in the financial markets, absolutely. But until we get that stabilized and working normally, we’re not gonna see recovery. But we do have a plan. We’re working on it. And I do think that we will get it stabilized, and we’ll see the recession coming to an end probably this year. We’ll see recovery beginning next year. And it will pick up steam over time.”

As you can readily see, Bernanke is saying IF the financial system is stabilized this year, then we will probably see the recession end by the end of this year, BUT, he notes, job losses will abate, but job creation will only pick up steam over time.

He is no magician, and though the Fed Reserve has a plan, that plan entails many other players playing their part in the plan if it is to succeed. Bernanke cannot force people to jump to the Fed Reserve’s plan, and that includes the Obama Administration and Congress, though it is likely the Obama administration will work in concert with the Fed’s plans. They have given every indication of doing so.

It is wholly inappropriate d.a.n, to speak of debt in this all inclusive way as the cause of the crisis today, in economic terms. The national debt did NOT precipitate this crisis. The leveraged debt of the mortgage and financial industry in conjunction with the bursting of the real estate valuation bubble, is the ONLY debt that triggered this crisis.

Consumer debt exacerbated the crisis to the extent that it preempted consumer economic activity as usual.

Lumping all debt into the cause of this crisis is inaccurate. If you want to make an argument against debt in general, or an argument of the limitations on opportunity inherent in debt, I will agree with you. But, your statement above has some erroneous word choices rendering the comment inaccurate, in terms of economic variable relationships having to do with the causation and triggering of the Financial community crisis.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 16, 2009 10:36 PM
Comment #277819
David R. Remer wrote: As for Bernanke, I think your comments have not researched his speeches and actions of the last 18 months. For you to say most of his predictions have been wrong, attests 1) that you have not surveyed ALL his predictions, and 2) that your comment does not do Bernanke’s statements credit since Bernanke is very, very careful about making predictions without that incredibly all important word of logic, if. I think if you research his projections, and whether or not the IF portions played out or not, you will find that Bernanke’s projections are pretty accurate.
I have researched it. Yes, Bernanke has used “IF” a lot, but not always. At any rate, despite Bernanke’s use of “IF” and implied probabilities, almost all of the major news stations have now reported Bernanke having predicted the end of the recession by the end of 2009, and a recovery in 2010.

How can anyone believe these geniuses/gods at the Federal Reserve? As evidenced below, Bernanke is terrible at economic forecasting, and anyone who followed his predictions would probably be bankrupt by now. Just ask Lehman Brothers.

  • (1) On 17-May-2007, Bernanke said: “As the problems in the subprime mortgage market have become manifest, we have seen some signs of self-correction in the market.” … “All that said, given the fundamental factors in place that should support the demand for housing, we believe the effect of the troubles in the subprime sector on the broader housing market will likely be limited, and we do not expect significant spillovers from the subprime market to the rest of the economy or to the financial system.”. Yet, what happened. According to the government’s and the Federal Reserve’s own fishy economic statistics, the U.S. was in a recession just about six months later in late 2007 (and most likely 5 months earlier in early 2007) and less than a year later, the financial system started to implode.

  • (2) In August 2007, Bernanke was wrong about the subprime mortgage industries’ problems being contained. It wasn’t, and it spread to many other banks.

  • (3) On 28-FEB-2008, Ben Bernanke wrote: “I expect there will be some failures. I don’t anticipate any serious problems of that sort among the large internationally active banks that make up a very substantial part of our banking system.”

  • (4) On 16-JUL-2008, Ben Bernanke told Congress that he believed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be able to make it through the storm of the U.S housing crisis. In front of Representative Barney Frank’s House Financial Services Committee, Bernanke also said that troubled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were adequately capitalized and “in no danger of failing.”. HHMMMMmmmmmm … On 5-SEP-2008, reports started circulating that Fannie and Freddie were about to be taken over by the federal government, which, of course happened 48 hours later after the news broke.

  • (5) Bernanke, Henry Paulson, Christopher Cox and their predecessors all failed to produce the regulatory oversight needed for the likes of Lehman Brothers (which failed).

  • (6) Do you recall what you called the Federal Reserve’s creation of new money at a 9-to-1 ratio of debt-to-reserves? You called it a Ponzi-scheme when you wrote: “The Ponzi scheme existed long before Bernanke became FED chief.”. So if it is a Ponzi-scheme, what do you call the Chairman of the Ponzi scheme? There is something terribly wrong with a monetary system that leverages debt-to-reserves at such a steep 9-to-1 ratio, resulting in an ever-growing debt-bubble where 90%-to-95% of all U.S. dollars in existence in the U.S. exists as debt? What should we conclude about anyone who thinks this monetary system isn’t a Ponzi-scheme?

  • (7) 27-AUG-2007: Ben Bernanke said the private sector and Congress should create new, affordable mortgage products that would help some homeowners refinance their mortgages and keep their homes, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested in a letter released Wednesday.(source: www.marketwatch.com/news/story/new-mortgage-products-could-help/story.aspx?guid=%7B69E9EB78%2DD404%2D4305%2D82E2%2D7892DB5EA2B8%7D). HHMMMMMmmmm … didn’t Greenspan recommend something similar, like Adjustable Rate Mortgages? How well did that work out?

  • (8) I showed in AUG-2008 that GDP was falling in year 2007, yet it wasn’t until JAN-2009 that the federal government and the Federal Reserve finally admitted that GDP had been falling since late 2007 (by their estimates; more likely since early 2007 by other measurements). Why did it take so long? Part of what is hurting consumer confidence is continually being lied to. Who at the Federal Reserve and federal government are responsible for these shady numbers, calculations, and economic statistics? Is it any wonder that many people don’t trust the geniuses/gods of the Federal Reserve and the federal government?
  • So who are we to believe?: The geniuses/gods of the Federal Reserve and the federal government who are the supposed experts who failed to predict the current crisis?
    With due respect, some of these bozos would probably have better chances of more accurate predictions using a dart board, or consulting an astrologist.
    David R. Remer wrote: His one projected error was in projecting that the financial institutions would not domino as a result of Lehman Bros. being allowed to fail. To his credit, he admits this error and having been blinded to it by his immersion in the robust banking transactions taking place just prior to Lehman Bros.’s bankruptcy declaration.

    Not true. See list above.

    David R. Remer wrote: Perhaps you could quote some other projections of his which you believe were erroneous, as I am unfamiliar with them in my review of his speeches and remarks before Congress.
    See list above.
    David R. Remer wrote: Bernanke was dead on right with his remarks of yesterday morning. Or, was that this morning? It is all taking place at such a blurring pace.
    Right about what? An end to the recession by the end of 2009 and a recovery in 2010? We’ll see. With so much crushing debt, my prediction is that we will be bumping along the bottom for a few more years. However, if there are more massive infusions of borrowed money and money created out of thin, it may get the economy growing, but it will most likely be short-lived when inflation (and possibly) hyperinflation finally catches up.
    David R. Remer wrote: He is no magician, and though the Fed Reserve has a plan, that plan entails many other players playing their part in the plan if it is to succeed. Bernanke cannot force people to jump to the Fed Reserve’s plan, and that includes the Obama Administration and Congress, though it is likely the Obama administration will work in concert with the Fed’s plans. They have given every indication of doing so.
    Yes, and that’s probably a mistake. Still, none of this addresses the massive debt-bubble which is growing ever larger. They keep calling it a credit crisis, when it is really a massive debt crisis.
    David R. Remer wrote: It is wholly inappropriate d.a.n, to speak of debt in this all inclusive way as the cause of the crisis today, in economic terms. The national debt did NOT precipitate this crisis.
    The $11 Trillion National Debt contributed.

    The $12.8 Trillion borrowed from Social Security contributed by leaving Social Security pay-as-you-go with a 78 Million baby-boomer bubble approaching.
    The Federal Reserve contributed with 52 consecutive years of incessant inflation.
    The federal government contributed with 52 consecutive years of deficit spending.
    The rampant greed by many larger banks contributed.
    The entire $67 Trillion nation-wide debt contributed.

    David R. Remer wrote: The leveraged debt of the mortgage and financial industry in conjunction with the bursting of the real estate valuation bubble, is the ONLY debt that triggered this crisis.
    It doesn’t matter which was the trigger, because the total federal and total non-federal debt made the situation untenable. As a result, we have over 3 million foreclosures per year.
    David R. Remer wrote: Consumer debt exacerbated the crisis to the extent that it preempted consumer economic activity as usual.
    With $67 Trillion of nation-wide debt ($220,000 per-capita), most Americnas are tapped out and deep into debt already, as evidenced by over 3 million foreclosures per day, 12-to-29 Million unemployed (source: ShadowStats.com), 90%-to-95% of all U.S. Dollars in existence in the U.S. exists as debt, the $11 Trillion national debt is the largerst national debt ever in size and per-capita. There are many other exacerbating problems and abuses (wars, regressive taxes, H-1B/H-2B visa abuse, incessant inflation, declining/stagnant wages, illegal immigration, dangerous and unaffordable healthcare costs, etc.).
    David R. Remer wrote: Lumping all debt into the cause of this crisis is inaccurate.
    No it isn’t. There are other abuses, but BOTH federal and non-federal debt is a major factor and it is crushing this nation. And that debt is quickly growing much larger too, and there will be consequences for that later (most likely, very painful consequences). The interest on the $11 Trillion National Debt is now almost half-a-Trillion per year.
    David R. Remer wrote: If you want to make an argument against debt in general, or an argument of the limitations on opportunity inherent in debt, I will agree with you. But, your statement above has some erroneous word choices rendering the comment inaccurate, in terms of economic variable relationships having to do with the causation and triggering of the Financial community crisis.
    Not true. There are many causes for the debt, and many contributing abuses, but BOTH federal and non-federal is the result of all of it. People continue to call this a credit crisis, but it is really a debt crisis.

    If not, why are there 9,000-to-10,000 foreclosures per day?
    Why are there millions of bankruptcies per year?
    Why are there 12-to-29 Million unemployed?
    Why are the BIG 3 Automakers borrowing money from the tax payers ?
    Why is the federal government borrowing trillions from the China, Japan, and Germany ?
    Why is half-a-Trillion dollars per year going to merely pay the interest on the $11 Trillion national debt?
    Why are Americans liquidating, evidenced by foreign owned assets in the U.S. almost quadrupling from $6 Trillion in 1997 to $22 Trillion in year 2007?
    Why is the $11 Trillion National Debt $36,066 per-capita ?
    Why was $12.8 Trillion borrowed and spent from Social Security, leaving it pay-as-you-go with a 78 Million baby-boomer bubble approaching?
    Why is the nation-wide debt $220,000 per-capita ?
    Why has the nation-wide debt almost quintupled from 100% of GDP in year 1956 to 483% of GDP today?
    Why is the U.S. the biggest debtor nation on the planet?

    So, it isn’t merely a credit crisis.
    It is also a massive debt crisis.
    Most Americans already have a lot of pre-existing debt.
    The nation is swimming in debt (BOTH federal and non-federal) of nightmare proportions.
    80% of all Americans own only 17% of all wealth, and the wealthiest 1% owns 40% of all wealth (never worse since the Great Depression).

    So to say …

    David R. Remer wrote: The leveraged debt of the mortgage and financial industry in conjunction with the bursting of the real estate valuation bubble, is the ONLY debt that triggered this crisis.

    …that only mortgage debt is the cause of this debt crisis is far, far from the truth.

    There are a lot of problems that caused this crisis, including a lot of nation-wide debt.
    The one thing most of these problems all have in common is that they are all the result of many manifestations of unchecked greed.
    And I don’t think this crisis will be solved by only trying to solve one or two of the problems, without stopping the numerous abuses at the root of many of those problems.

    At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

    Posted by: d.a.n at March 17, 2009 3:41 AM
    Comment #277830

    Didn’t Ford turn down the Money? And they Have Reached a newly signed agreement with the United Auto Workers union, Ford projects that total cost per worker will go down to $55 per hour.
    http://www.autoblog.com/2009/03/12/fords-new-deal-with-uaw-gets-wages-down-to-55-hour/

    Posted by: Rodney Brown at March 17, 2009 1:28 PM
    Comment #277832

    d.a.n said: “almost all of the major news stations have now reported Bernanke having predicted the end of the recession by the end of 2009, and a recovery in 2010. “

    And almost all of the major news stations are WRONG as the quote and context of what Bernanke ACTUALLY said demonstrates.

    So, do you continue to rely on the major news stations who do NOT understand Bernanke but do understand appeals to emotion for sales, or, do you take Ben Bernanke’s words at their full contextual and face value?

    You have his words presented to you. How can you discount them in favor of news headlines, when they clearly contradict each other. Bernanke did not make the simple declarative statement that the recession would end by the end of 2009, as the news media is reporting.

    I am perplexed by your comment’s reliance upon media’s PT Barnums instead of the actual source for information and truth of what was said. Is truth that inconvenient that we can afford to dispense with it so easily in order to preserve our mind’s agenda and fabrication of reality instead of reality itself?

    That is of course, how this financial crisis came to be with so many people rejecting the reality of leveraging in multiples of 10’s as unsustainable and creating a house of cards. There are very dire consequences that can be exacted by rejecting reality for the sake of wishful distortions of it.

    People try to avoid tension in their psyche’s. When reality, and what they want the real world to appear as, conflict, there is only one choice to be made to reduce the tension of that conflict; accept the reality and reject the wish for its being other than it is and act accordingly, or, reject the reality and act as if the world was as we wish it to be. Clearly, this financial crisis was brought on by those exercising the latter choice to resolve their internal tension over their actions.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 17, 2009 1:45 PM
    Comment #277834

    d.a.n, as for your citations of Bernanke’s failure to anticipate the cascade effect of Lehman Bros. bankrupting, he and every other interested party has acknowledged his enormous screw up on that one.

    It is ironic you would use the term gods in reference to Fed. Reserve personnel. Since, it is obvious by their own admission that they are human beings capable of error just like the rest of us. It would appear any disappointment Bernanke’s error rests upon the assumption that they are not allowed to err, and therefore should be gods, instead of humans.

    There is a difference between an error of calculation as in Bernanke’s case, and a willful disregard for reality in order to consciously pursue an error. Bernanke’s calculation of the viability of other financial entities in the wake of Lehman Bros. failure was an error in calculation, and not willful. His calculation error was in failing to incorporate the Credit Default Swap leveraging instruments in play, largely invisible to him at the time as these were not reported, regulated, or overseen in audits in a macro-economic context, and his failure to project the consequences of a simultaneous bursting of the real estate valuation market.

    If Job Markin could write about the coming financial crisis and housing bubble bursting in the Summer of 2006, there is no excuse for Ben Bernanke not having the ability to foresee as Markin did. The fact that he allowed himself to focus too intently on the macro financial sector and fail to closely examine the details of the transactions within individual financial entities and how they were being replicated and multiplied duplicitously throughtout other financial institutions, was a grave and costly shortcoming on his part.

    I still have confidence on Bernanke, however. He admits his error, openly and publicly, and for me, that is an assurance he won’t make the same mistake twice, which is the standard I hold myself to.

    In 2007 he was new on the job as Chairman - overseer. He relied upon the reports and research of data gatherers and compilers below him in the Federal Reserve System, and he got it wrong.

    But, like a doctor who fails to anticipate a hidden condition which he could not know about based on the diagnostic pres-surgery results, who loses the patient on the operating table as a result, I would have confidence in that Dr. being aware of such a potentially hidden condition before performing another such operation.

    I am pretty sure you would disagree, and that’s fine. We can agree to disagree about Bernanke’s acceptability in his current role going forward. Whether he stays or goes does not rest with either of us, so it’s moot.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 17, 2009 2:10 PM
    Comment #277836

    Rodney, that is my understanding too. Ford could afford to reject gov’t assistance because they previously made moves to vastly increase their cash reserves, giving them the choice of rejecting gov’t funds, and riding out the recession a lot longer than Chrysler or GM, whose debts and low cash reserves could not carry them through.

    The UAW membership is in the position of choosing to keep jobs at lower total compensation or risk losing their jobs altogether. The UAW membership gets it, and they finally forced their leadership to get it as well. Rather unusual that we see this development, where the union members dictate policy to union management, and not the other way around which has been the traditional history of unions.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 17, 2009 2:16 PM
    Comment #277873
    David R. Remer wrote:
    • d.a.n said: “almost all of the major news stations have now reported Bernanke having predicted the end of the recession by the end of 2009, and a recovery in 2010. “
    And almost all of the major news stations are WRONG as the quote and context of what Bernanke ACTUALLY said demonstrates. Yes, since he prefaced it with a lot of “IFs”.

    I didn’t say the main stream media got it right.
    My main point is that Bernanke should perhaps refrain from any predictions since his track-record is so dismal (as evidenced by the list above in Comment # 277819

    David R. Remer wrote: So, do you continue to rely on the major news stations who do NOT understand Bernanke but do understand appeals to emotion for sales, or, do you take Ben Bernanke’s words at their full contextual and face value?
    No, anything the main-stream media says has to be taken with a grain of salt, and I never said the main-stream media got it right, and also acknowledged Bernanke’s use of “IF” in his last prediction.
    David R. Remer wrote: You have his words presented to you. How can you discount them in favor of news headlines, when they clearly contradict each other.
    I don’t. Your chasin’ a wild goose, since I never said the media had it right. However, again, Bernanke should perhaps refrain from any predictions since his track-record is so dismal.
    David R. Remer wrote: Bernanke did not make the simple declarative statement that the recession would end by the end of 2009, as the news media is reporting.
    Again, I agree. You’re belaboring an issue we are in agreement on.

    My issue is that Bernanke has made many other predictions that were not accompanied by “IF” conditionals, as evidenced by his previous predictions (above in Comment # 277819) which were dreadfully wrong. Especially the one about the sub-prime problem being contained and the prediction of not anticipating any serious problems among the large internationally active banks. So, it’s not only about Lehman Brothers. It’s also about philosophies, morals, honesty, and integrity. Don’t forget, Bernanke is the chairman of the Federal Reserve in charge of running what you have already acknowledged is a “Ponzi-scheme”. Bernanke believes in this system which you have already acknowledged is a “Ponzi-scheme”. How is that so easily excused? Especially when the end result is so glaringly obvious. The U.S. is swimming in debt of record-levels and 90%-to-95% of all U.S. dollars in existence in the U.S. now exists as debt due to a funny-money monetary system that steeply leverages debt-to-reserves at a steep ratio of 9-to-1. How can Bernanke criticize AIG, and other banks when the banks are only following in the Federal Reserves footsteps by steeply leveraging debt-to-reserves. It’s worse actually, because the Federal Reserve, unlike member banks, also creates new money out of thin air, resulting in 52 consecutive years of incessant and destabilizing inflation. Are you trying to defend all of this behavior? How can you call the monetary system a “Ponzi-sheme”, and then defend it, and defend those that perpetuate it?

    David R. Remer wrote: I am perplexed by your comment’s reliance upon media’s PT Barnums instead of the actual source for information and truth of what was said.
    Again, you are belaboring a non-issue. Bernanke did provide “IF” conditions with his prediction of the recession ending by the end of year 2009. However, he has made other predictions without those “IF” conditionals which were terribly inaccurate (see list above).
    David R. Remer wrote: Is truth that inconvenient that we can afford to dispense with it so easily in order to preserve our mind’s agenda and fabrication of reality instead of reality itself?
    Apparently so for some people.
    David R. Remer wrote: That is of course, how this financial crisis came to be with so many people rejecting the reality of leveraging in multiples of 10’s as unsustainable and creating a house of cards. There are very dire consequences that can be exacted by rejecting reality for the sake of wishful distortions of it.
    Well, as you well know, I was never one of those to ignore growing problems. But a person doesn’t need a crystal ball or need to be clairvoyant to see this economic crisis approaching. Yet, who was making rosy predictions while problems and abuses were still growing in number and severity?
    David R. Remer wrote: People try to avoid tension in their psyche’s. When reality, and what they want the real world to appear as, conflict, there is only one choice to be made to reduce the tension of that conflict; accept the reality and reject the wish for its being other than it is and act accordingly, or, reject the reality and act as if the world was as we wish it to be. Clearly, this financial crisis was brought on by those exercising the latter choice to resolve their internal tension over their actions.
    True. In short, people can accept and deal with reality, or stick their head in the sand and believe things are rosy.

    I saw a lot of rosier-than-reality rhetoric from the right during Bush’s 8 years in office, and I now see a lot of rosier-than-reality rhetoric from the left now that they left is the new IN-PARTY. It’s fascinating in a way, but sad in another. Too often, people love THEIR party and/or THEIR president more than they love logic, truth, reality, and common-sense, and the proof of it abounds. It’s really not hard to understand why. It is rooted in several very basic human traits. These root causes (i.e. human traits; what some call the original 7 deadly sins), in excess, have always plagued people everywhere (to varying degrees, and each category having some over-lap):

    • apathy, complacency, sense of futility, negligence, ignorance, and laziness;

    • greed, selfishness, gluttony, lust for power and control, envy, pride, and exploitation of others and things (e.g. lawlessness, wealth, usury, wars, taxation, etc.);

    • irrational fear, fear mongering, anger, intolerance, hatred, prejudice of others and things (e.g. religion, race, gender, color, ethnicity, etc.);

    • delusion (deception and self deception), misplaced loyalties, partisan-warfare, misplaced compassion, misplaced priorities;

    David R. Remer wrote: d.a.n, as for your citations of Bernanke’s failure to anticipate the cascade effect of Lehman Bros. bankrupting, he and every other interested party has acknowledged his enormous screw up on that one.
    True. But that is not Bernanke’s only failed prediction (see list above in Comment # 277819). He should get out of the prediction business.
    David R. Remer wrote: It is ironic you would use the term gods in reference to Fed. Reserve personnel.
    It alludes to their arrogance. After all, you have already acknowledged that the monetary system is a giant “Ponzi-scheme”.

    Why should we respect and/or worship these people who operate and perpetuate a dishonest, usurious, inflationary “Ponzi-scheme” which created 52 consecutive years of destabilizing inflation, and not only failed to see the approaching consequences of years of many manifestations of unchecked greed, but denied its existence until the system was near implosion?

    Why should I respect someone who believes-in (lock, stock, and barrel) and perpetuates a dishonest, usurious, inflationary “Ponzi-scheme” ?

    Instead, I recall David Walker (former U.S. General Comptroller/GAO) trying to warn us over and over about so much fiscal irresponsibility, and he was labeled “Dr. Doom”, “Chicken Little”, and other names.
    And today, David Walker is still warning against growing the debt much larger.
    Will ZERO deficits may be impractical this year, growing untenable debt to be more untenable doesn’t make much sense either.

    David R. Remer wrote: Since, it is obvious by their own admission that they are human beings capable of error just like the rest of us. It would appear any disappointment Bernanke’s error rests upon the assumption that they are not allowed to err, and therefore should be gods, instead of humans.
    Again, the issue isn’t a few errors. See list above in Comment # 277819.
    David R. Remer wrote: There is a difference between an error of calculation as in Bernanke’s case, and a willful disregard for reality in order to consciously pursue an error.
    True. Self delusion, or incompetence, or possibly other nefarious motives? It’s must be difficult for someone to admit to themselves that they are the head of a giant “Ponzi-scheme”. So they don’t. So it must be self delusion. A person has to be delusional to think the Federal Reserve can operate a giant “Ponzi-shceme” indefinitely. The math simply doesn’t work out. All Ponzi/Pyramid-schemes eventually collapse, and we are now seeing the painful consequences of massive federal and non-federal debt built up over several decades, such that the nation-wide debt per-capita is now $220,000 per person. That’s truly ridiculous, don’t ya think? I don’t see how anyone can look at the total federal and non-federal debt and not be worried. Especially when 90%-to-95% of all U.S. dollars in existence in the U.S. already exists as debt! And it’s no wonder at all, since new money is created as debt at a very steep ratio of 9-to-1 of debt to reserves. The total debt doesn’t look good. The math doesn’t look good. And if the debt is untenable (which it most likely is, based on these 20 reasons), then growing it larger doesn’t only not make any sense, but is lunacy.

    Like on 17-May-2007, when Ben Bernanke said: “As the problems in the subprime mortgage market have become manifest, we have seen some signs of self-correction in the market.” … “All that said, given the fundamental factors in place that should support the demand for housing, we believe the effect of the troubles in the subprime sector on the broader housing market will likely be limited, and we do not expect significant spillovers from the subprime market to the rest of the economy or to the financial system.”. ?

    Like in August 2007, when Bernanke said the subprime mortgage industries’ problems were contained ?

    Like on 28-FEB-2008, when Ben Bernanke wrote: “I expect there will be some failures. I don’t anticipate any serious problems of that sort among the large internationally active banks that make up a very substantial part of our banking system.” ?

    Like on 16-JUL-2008, when Ben Bernanke told Congress that he believed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be able to make it through the storm of the U.S housing crisis, and said in front of Representative Barney Frank’s House Financial Services Committee, that troubled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were adequately capitalized and “in no danger of failing.”. HHMMMMmmmmmm … On 5-SEP-2008, reports started circulating that Fannie and Freddie were about to be taken over by the federal government, which, of course happened 48 hours later after the news broke.

    David R. Remer wrote: Bernanke’s calculation of the viability of other financial entities in the wake of Lehman Bros. failure was an error in calculation, and not willful.
    May be not. You don’t know that. However, Bernanke has a track record of rosier-than-reality predictions, and not all of his predicitons were accompanied by “IF” conditionals. Bernanke most likely doesn’t want this economic crisis, but based on several rosier-than-reality predictions, self delusion or incompetence may be the problem. Especially incompetence if he thinks he can control inflation caused by massive spending and creation of trillions of dollars of new money later with interest rates or
    David R. Remer wrote: His calculation error was in failing to incorporate the Credit Default Swap leveraging instruments in play, largely invisible to him at the time as these were not reported, regulated, or overseen in audits in a macro-economic context, and his failure to project the consequences of a simultaneous bursting of the real estate valuation market.
    True. That was a blunder of epic proportions, but he is not alone in blame for that. The entire executive management of the Federal Reserve, Congress, and the Executive Branch are culpable too. They all stuck their head in the sand, and let this problem fester, or were incompetent and failed to even see the crisis approaching. Especially when many people have been warning about the rising foreclosures all the way back to 2004, the growing debt, the falling U.S. Dollar ( One-Simple-Idea.com/USD_Falling.htm ), and the deterioration of numerous economic conditions ( One-Simple-Idea.com/NeverWorse.htm ).
    David R. Remer wrote: If Job Markin could write about the coming financial crisis and housing bubble bursting in the Summer of 2006, there is no excuse for Ben Bernanke not having the ability to foresee as Markin did. The fact that he allowed himself to focus too intently on the macro financial sector and fail to closely examine the details of the transactions within individual financial entities and how they were being replicated and multiplied duplicitously throughtout other financial institutions, was a grave and costly shortcoming on his part.
    You’ll get no argument about that. But again, the entire executive management of the Federal Reserve, Congress, and the Executive Branch are culpable too.
    David R. Remer wrote: I still have confidence on Bernanke, however.
    I don’t, and the major reason is because he embraces the system you call a “Ponzi Scheme”. The other reason is because he has a bad track record of bad predictions (see list above in Comment # 277819).

    In my opinion too, I also believe the monetary system is a dishonest, usurious, inflationary “Ponzi Scheme”.
    Bernanke now seems to think that he can solve this massive debt-bubble with more debt and creation of trillions of dollars of new money out of thin air. That method won’t work, has never worked in all history, and will most likely make things worse.

    David R. Remer wrote: He admits his error, openly and publicly, and for me, that is an assurance he won’t make the same mistake twice, which is the standard I hold myself to.
    Bernanke has already made multiple errors (as listed above). Bernanke gravitates to rosier-than-reality predictions. And Bernanke now believes the solution is, if necessary, to infuse massive amounts of new money into the banks. What he refuses to understand is that such infusions into the banks does not make the massive federal and non-federal debt disappear. He continues to call this debt crisis a “credit crisis”. When he and others in the Federal Reserve, Congress, and the administration start facing facts, and understand that the nation’s problem is debt too, not merely credit, then we’re likely headed for worse times (probably hyperinflation).
    David R. Remer wrote: In 2007 he was new on the job as Chairman - overseer. He relied upon the reports and research of data gatherers and compilers below him in the Federal Reserve System, and he got it wrong. But, like a doctor who fails to anticipate a hidden condition which he could not know about based on the diagnostic pres-surgery results, who loses the patient on the operating table as a result, I would have confidence in that Dr. being aware of such a potentially hidden condition before performing another such operation. I am pretty sure you would disagree, and that’s fine.
    In this case, I do disagree, because this is not the only bad mistake by Bernanke. To be honest, the mistake is so deep and far-reaching, the handling of Lehman Brothers is actually miniscule. This entire economic crisis is rooted in some very simple and basic abuses. It’s not sufficient to rationalize the situation by saying the system was like that before Bernanke got there, because Bernanke has worked for the Federal Reserve in other capacities for many years. Ben Bernanke’s problem is that he believes in a system that is not only mathematically doomed to failure, but he (and many others) refuses to see it as such. They continue to call the debt crisis a credit crisis, but refuse to explain how most Americans already deep-into debt can borrow more money. What’s the next step? Start air-dropping new money from helicopters? That’s what Bernanke things. So, apparently, no amount of math or evidence of debt will convince them we have a debt problem. As a result, they believe it is OK to grow the debt larger; much larger if necessary.
    David R. Remer wrote: We can agree to disagree about Bernanke’s acceptability in his current role going forward. Whether he stays or goes does not rest with either of us, so it’s moot.
    Maybe. Maybe not. Whether it is good for America or not is the major factor. Since Congress wants more and more money to spend, they will most likely keep any Federal Reserve chairman that keeps telling them they can continue to borrow, create new money out of thin air, and spend, spend, spend. And if that doesn’t work, then air-drop money to people from helicopters.

    At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

    Posted by: d.a.n at March 18, 2009 12:28 AM
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