Posts Tagged ‘U. S. Constitution’

Real World Graduation: Question 21

RealWorldGraduation_Question_21   <– PDF

The Mayor and City Council of a certain city desired to raise the amount of tax revenue received by the city. They made a secret arrangement with a mall developer as follows:

  1. The city would designate a certain district of the city, consisting of 150 homes and a few small businesses as suitable for development. This district was selected because most of the homes are more than 30 years old, and it has excellent access to major freeways.
  2. With the area so designated, the city would send notices to each homeowner and business owner that they had 90 days to move out of their homes, and the land turned over to the developer.
  3. In order to save taxpayers money, the city would offer 85% of the current appraised values of the homes and businesses as compensation. On average, the homes in the affected district are appraised at $130,000.
  4. The total amount paid to the homeowners by the city as compensation would be repaid by the developer. He would be allowed to collect an additional 2% surcharge sales tax on everything sold by stores in the mall. That way, the city would be repaid the amount given to the original homeowners, and also collect all the usual sales taxes.
  5. The Mayor, City Council, and their respective staff members were to do all of the foregoing without any public hearings or notices until the formal designation letters were mailed to each affected resident.

The Constitution of the state in which this was to occur contains a “takings” clause, in which people are to be compensated for any seizure of property devoted to public use (i.e., the same as the U. S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment). If this plan were enacted, which of the activities contained in the secret plan would violate both Constitutions?

a) A government entity entering into a secret financial agreement with a private entity.

b) Seizing property from a group of private owners and giving it to another private owner for the benefit of the new private owner (as well as the city).

c) Arbitrary designation of a certain district for unusual treatment simply because of the age of the homes and their location.

d) Forcing each homeowner to take a $19,500 loss on their property, since they will be paid only $110,500 for homes that were appraised on average for $130,000.

e) All of the above.

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Posted in Bill of Rights, critical thinking, fifth amendment, government powers, living constitution, Real World Graduation, U. S. Constitution | No Comments »

Real World Graduation: Question 14

RealWorldGraduation_Question_14   <– PDF

Consider the following fictional scenario.

Congressman A received a total of $161,000 from a consortium of oil and gas companies, consisting of $118,000 in direct campaign contributions and $43,000 to his Political Action Committee (PAC). Congressman B received a total of $68,000 from a legal lobbying group that supports expansion of civil lawsuits, consisting of $53,000 in campaign contributions and an additional $15,000 in contributions to his PAC. Congressman C received a total of $258,000 from an environmental lobbying group, consisting of $204,000 in campaign contributions and $54,000 to his PAC, which is another environmental lobbying group.  Congressman D received a total of $380,000 from a group devoted to increased regulation of “conservative talk radio”, consisting of $346,000 in campaign contributions and $34,000 to his PAC. All four of these Congressmen were lawyers before they ran for Congress.

A bill came before Congress which contained the following provisions:

  1. A reduction in natural resources leasing fees, which will save oil and gas companies $24,000,000. This is the outcome desired by Congressman A’s donors.
  2. An increase in the deductibility of rent and expenses for legal offices, which will result in a $138,600,000 savings to lawyers because they will pay less in income taxes. This is the outcome desired by Congressman B’s donors.
  3. An extension of the amount of federal land to be controlled and administered by environmental groups along with a federal grant of $102,700,000 to cover administration, lobbying, education, and other costs. This is the outcome desired by Congressman C’s donors.
  4. A provision in which a portion of the advertising revenue from certain talk radio shows (totaling $47,200,000) is to be turned over to a federal agency to investigate the political ideology and financial condition of talk radio hosts. This is the outcome desired by Congressman D’s donors.

All four of the Congressmen voted for the bill. Which Congressman’s actions constitute the worst examples of bribery?

a) Congressman A, because he seeks to protect the predatory for-profit oil and gas industry, which seeks to pollute the entire earth.

b) Congressman B, because the contributions he received constitutes a conflict of interest (he was a lawyer himself before he ran for Congress).

c) Congressman C, because the amount that was given to the environmental PAC will be devoted to lobbying, part of which will be probably be donated to Congressman C next year.

d) Congressman D, because his donors seek to reduce the free speech rights of conservative talk radio hosts.

e) All of them are equal offenders, because the principle involved, trading favors or creating laws for money, is immoral and illegal, not the exact amounts of money that changed hands.


(See answer on p. 2 of the PDF).)

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Real World Graduation: Question 4

RealWorldGraduation_Question_4   <– PDF

Article I, Section 2 of the U. S. Constitution originally contained the following provision:

“Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other persons.”

In this passage, “representatives” refers to the number of seats in House of Representatives in Congress, “Numbers” refers to population, “several States” refers to any State that ratifies the Constitution, “those bound to service” refers to indentured servants (those who had committed to a term of voluntary servitude in compensation for repayment of the voyage to America fronted by others), “Indians not taxed” refers to Indians on reservations, “other persons” refers to slaves, and “free persons” refers to anyone not in the “other person” group, i.e. not slaves.

This passage can therefore be clarified as follows: “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the States according to their respective population, which shall be determined as the sum of the number of a) all free persons, b) indentured servants, and c) three-fifths of slaves; specifically excluding Indians on reservations.” In other words, representation in Congress was apportioned to the full population of all people in the state not on reservations, except for slaves, whose apportionment was at a fraction of only 60%.  This is known as the “three-fifths” rule.  This three-fifths provision was superseded by the 14th Amendment, which was ratified 9 Jul 1868.

Why did the Founding Fathers insert the three-fifths clause regarding slaves?

  1. a) Most of the Founding Fathers were slave owners who had contempt for black people, and reduced the value of black people to 60% of a white person because it was a long-held tradition.
  2. b) Most of the Founding Fathers were slave owners who had contempt for black people, and reduced the value of a black person to 60% of a white person in an attempt to deprive the slaves of their fair share of welfare payments.
  3. c) Even the Founding Fathers who did not own slaves were racist, and reduced the apportionment of slaves to 60% of a white person to suppress the political influence of the black slaves in the Southern states.
  4. d) The members of the Democratic Party insisted on this provision before they would allow a ratification vote in the Southern states.
  5. e) Each of the Founding Fathers had different motives, but these motives were generally a combination of a), b), and c).

(The answer shown on p. 2 of the PDF.)

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Posted in Articles of Confederation, Constitutional Convention, critical thinking, Early American history, Real World Graduation, U. S. Constitution | No Comments »

Barack H. Obama’s Legacy, Part 2

PDF —>  ObamaLegacyPart2

The “Affordable Care Act” (ACA), commonly known as “Obamacare”, does exactly the opposite of what its title claims, as is typical of many government initiatives.  It promotes evil more than most legislation: it violates several provisions of the Constitution, and it fails to achieve even its most basic objectives.

It violates the Constitution in several ways.  First, it contains provisions by which a taxpayer has to prove to the IRS that he has purchased health insurance; that is a violation of the right to free entry into contracts because the government is forcing a citizen to buy something even if he would rather not.  Under the Tenth Amendment, contracts issues reside solely within the power of the States.  Secondly, every IRS employee has access to these records in violation of the Fourth Amendment freedom from arbitrary searches.  Third, by failing to provide the proof of insurance, the citizen is liable to pay a penalty, later ruled a tax by the Supreme Court.  That apparently innocuous ruling made the entire section unconstitutional since the ACA originated in the U. S. Senate, whereas all tax bills must originate in the House of Representatives.  This proves, if it proves anything, that even members of the Supreme Court cannot or will not respect the Constitution.  Fourth, the ACA requires the citizen to buy coverage for a product which may violate his religious beliefs, since every insurance package meeting the ACA requirements must provide coverage for abortion and birth control expenses.  Thus, since insurance is merely pooling risk, everyone has to share in the cost risks of abortion in violation of the First Amendment respect for religion.  Fifth, doctors are permitted to ask patients about firearm ownership and include their responses in their permanent medical history; another clear violation of the Fourth Amendment as well as being prejudicial to the Second Amendment.  In the future, said records may constitute the basis of an arbitrary sweep to confiscate all privately owned firearms.  Sixth, it does not apply to every citizen equally since many exemptions, exclusions, and benefits have been given to some categories of individuals and groups while depriving the other citizens; this violates the equal protection portion of the Fourteenth Amendment.

It should come as no surprise the ACA has and will continue to fail in achieving its claimed objectives.  It contains the seeds of its own destruction the same as every other welfare legislation.  In typical welfare legislation, a non-working citizen and politicians decide how much a third person, the working man, is to pay in taxation to support those who are not working.  There is no end to demands made by the non-working, and welfare benefits have traditionally increased over time, with commensurate tax obligations.  Likewise, ACA has no effective cost containment: the doctor and patient decide how much a third entity, the insurance company, is to pay, nor a fourth entity, the working person with health care is to pay in taxes to provide subsidies to the others.  Secondly, there is no requirement for doctors and hospitals to publish their prices for routine procedures, or even room costs; hence the costs are different depending on what type of insurance one has. Secret pricing will always tend to increase costs.  Third, it restricts competition because a citizen can buy insurance only from those companies operating within a State despite the fact that the mandate itself is of federal nature.  Restricting competition will always increase costs.  Fourth, some people simply cannot afford to buy health insurance, and they must (and should be) be treated at public expense; the ACA does not eliminate the charitable and publicly-funded institutions and the costs thereof.   The combined effects of these came about as expected: fewer choices of plan as insurance companies exit the program; constantly increasing insurance premiums, steadily increasing deductibles, and fewer choices of doctors and hospitals.  The ACA is on the cost and quality death spiral; some claim that it was done deliberately in order to make the excuse for universal government-run health care.  If you like what has been happening at the Veterans Administration, you’ll like universal care.

But the most pernicious aspect of the ACA is that it can never be repealed or significantly modified.  History shows that once a welfare provision is granted, it cannot be taken back.

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Posted in fourth amendment, U. S. Constitution | No Comments »