March 24, 2009

The last time "Bills of attainder, ex-post-facto laws, and laws impairing the obligation of contracts" were popular....

From: Article One of the United States Constitution Section 9

To: The Children Known as the House of Representatives
From: James Madison
Re: Constitution, Article 1 Section 9

Dear Children, Let's review:

"Bills of attainder, ex-post-facto laws, and laws impairing the obligation of contracts, are contrary to the first principles of the social compact, and to every principle of sound legislation. The two former are expressly prohibited by the declarations prefixed to some of the State constitutions, and all of them are prohibited by the spirit and scope of these fundamental charters. Our own experience has taught us, nevertheless, that additional fences against these dangers ought not to be omitted. Very properly, therefore, have the convention added this constitutional bulwark in favor of personal security and private rights; and I am much deceived if they have not, in so doing, as faithfully consulted the genuine sentiments as the undoubted interests of their constituents. The sober people of America are weary of the fluctuating policy which has directed the public councils. They have seen with regret and indignation that sudden changes and legislative interferences, in cases affecting personal rights, become jobs in the hands of enterprising and influential speculators, and snares to the more-industrious and less informed part of the community. They have seen, too, that one legislative interference is but the first link of a long chain of repetitions, every subsequent interference being naturally produced by the effects of the preceding. They very rightly infer, therefore, that some thorough reform is wanting, which will banish speculations on public measures, inspire a general prudence and industry, and give a regular course to the business of society." [Emphasis added]

Yours truly, James Madison. Federalist No. 44

Posted by Vanderleun at March 24, 2009 1:00 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Jimmy Madison-
Public opinion sets the bounds to every government, and is the real sovereign in every free one.
If this spirit shall ever be so far debased to tolerate a law not obligatory on the legislature, as well as on the people, the people will be prepared to tolerate anything but liberty.

Posted by: at March 25, 2009 7:30 AM

You are aware that the modern "Federalist Society" is looked upon as a neo-subsersive organization only a half step above the John Birch Society and the Klan, don't you?

Quoting actual, original Federalist documents in their proper context may become forbidden or restricted under future updates of the ill-named Patriot Act.

Posted by: Roderick Reilly at March 25, 2009 9:25 AM

Mark Twain was correct. No person's well being or wealth is safe as long as Congress is in session.

This bill of attainder is the heigth of hypocrisy and as shameful as anything I've seen in 76 years.

Posted by: Jimmy J. at March 25, 2009 9:57 PM

Someone else, somewhere, said this much better than I could have managed:

If AIG had gone bankrupt as it should have been allowed to, then employee bonuses would have been whatever they could get out of the stationery cupboard on the way out of the door. The fact that their insurance business is important is irrelevant; that part of the company was salvageable and would have been salvaged, and in any case the insolvency administrator would have kept it going while a buyer was found.

Bonuses being given to employees of a failed company given nine-figure amounts of taxpayers' money is wrong. Just plain wrong. AIG should no longer exist, and in such a case the bonuses would not have been paid and the issue wouldn't have arisen.

On a somewhat related note, one way of stabilising a country's economy might be quite simple; make short-selling illegal. In any other walk of life, selling something you don't own gets you jail time, not profit - and the very existence of short selling as a practice makes the market more unstable.

It ought to be more profitable to make things or provide a useful service than to shuffle money from one pile to another. It isn't; which is one of the many reasons why all Western countries have a dire shortage of engineers and scientists.

Posted by: Fletcher Christian at March 26, 2009 6:20 AM

Is it fine to put part of this in my web site if I submit a reference to this website?

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