The innagural issue of the Blog Cato Unbound, begins with a bang.
The question to be discussed all month is... How to Amend the United States Constitution.
There is a Lead Essay, to be followed by 3 replies spread out over the month.
There are links to "related" articles on the main Cato website.
Toss into the mix, essays in response to all this by assorted Bloggers, and comments aplenty, and you have the recipe for an interesting monthly dialog on a host of subjects, spread out across the length, and breadth, of the Blogosphere.
This months Lead Essay is by James M. Buchanan, and he opens by introducing the choices for his subeject:
What is wrong with things as they are? And among any extended listing that each of us might make, which of the observed results might be amenable to fixing through changes in the rules?
Fiscal irresponsibility stares us in the face and cries out for correction. The near-total disregard for any pretense of generality in the distribution of apparent governmental largesse, along with the increasing manipulation of the tax structure, can only be turned around by constitutional prohibition of discrimination. Existing rules, as interpreted, have not been successful in guaranteeing the natural liberty of citizens to engage in voluntary exchange, both among themselves within the political jurisdiction and with others beyond national boundaries.
It's been far too long since I last dug into the meaty intelectual stimulation of the many Weekly, Monthly, and Quarterly magazines of politics, and culture, produced by the Right, and Left, in our country, on a regular basis ( I'm talking almost daily, thanks to subscriptions ) and this reminds me of how interesting doing so can be.
To get you curious let me share a few excerpts:
On Fiscal Responsibility:
A constitutional amendment could take the following form. In its final budget resolution, Congress should restrict estimated spending to the limits imposed by estimated tax revenues. This requirement should be waived only upon approval separately by three-fourths of the House of Representatives and the Senate. This exception would allow for debt financing of federal outlay in situations that are indeed extraordinary (major wars, natural disasters), an exception recognized by classical public finance.
On non-discriminatory politics:
Why should the politics of democracy, either in idealized form or in practice, be different from the law, again as idealized or in substance? Why is discrimination in political action constitutionally permissible whereas discrimination in law is out of bounds?
The answer, in part, lies in political-constitutional history over the life of the United States, during which the activity of the federal government has expanded beyond the imagination of the Framers.
On Natural Liberty:
Neither of the two constitutional changes discussed previously—those aimed to correct for fiscal irresponsibility and overt political discrimination—will insure against continuing pressures for growth of government. The welfare state could remain with us, perhaps commanding a major share of value that is produced. The third proposal, discussed here, might operate more directly on extension of governmental activity, although such extensions would, in themselves, lose much public support if contained within the limits of the first two rules.
Don't let the Big Ideas,and Big Words, discourage you from reading this article, and those that follow.
An informed citizen makes for an informed voter, and this is what we need more of in this country as the century unfolds.
Read the full essay here.