Should we eliminate the department of education?

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I would say yes. Since the department of education was formed it has educated approximately zero people. In fact they have done just the opposite. Our educational standing in the world has plummeted since the DOE was formed in1979. I would argue that before 1979 we were better educated and our standards were higher. It's time to dump this money pit.

How about the department of energy? Do you like our current energy situation? Have they accomplished anything to help you meet your energy needs? It was formed 40 years ago to get us off of foreign oil. How's that working for you? Again, their accomplishments equal zero. They are a joke. A waste of your money. They exist simply to exist. They gotta go. These are just two of the many freeloading organizations that we need to pull the plug on.

rigel1's picture
rigel1
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Jan. 31, 2011 7:49 am

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Yes. Besides being unconstitutional, it is economically and socially destructive.

FrankChodorov's picture
FrankChodorov
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Dec. 23, 2010 7:00 am

Of course not. Fixing it...obviously.

norske's picture
norske
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote FrankChodorov:

Yes. Besides being unconstitutional, it is economically and socially destructive.

I agree that it's unconstitutional and should be eliminated.

Centinel's picture
Centinel
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Mar. 14, 2011 3:13 pm

Wow, "unconstitutional." Democracy is not ours to use. Having a support service for education in the states is against the rules of democracy?

You guys miss the whole point of the Federal Dept. of Ed. It is not our National School Board or Curriculum Committee. Bush, of course, perverted its function in No Child's Behind Left. But the appropriate function of the Federal Dept. of Education is to support local schools, particularly where inequalities exist.

I have discussed my teacher first approach to ed reform elsewhere. My problems with the current approach to reform has nothing to do with the federal government. I object to the top/down authoritarian "reformer." CEO Style "reform" will make things worse. But good support services can help and help overcome the political corruption at local levels where all politics is.

The Dept. of Education is not where the waste in DC is found.

DRC's picture
DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote DRC:

Wow, "unconstitutional." Democracy is not ours to use. Having a support service for education in the states is against the rules of democracy?


It's not against the rules of democracy, but it is against the constitution, the rules governing the compact between our various states. The constitution places limits on what types of laws may be enacted, so in some sense, yes, democracy is not yours to use when it comes to the federal government.

Note that I am only referring to the federal department of education. Whether your particular state has a department of education and what it does is the concern of you and your fellow citizens.

Centinel's picture
Centinel
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Mar. 14, 2011 3:13 pm
Quote Centinel:Note that I am only referring to the federal department of education. Whether your particular state has a department of education and what it does is the concern of you and your fellow citizens.

Are you sure you want states like Kansas, Texas and Florida having free reign over the eduation of children? Especially when states like Florida seem intent on creationism being taught on science class.

Toonces's picture
Toonces
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

There was 1 person educated in the public schools, me.. The arguments against PE are silly.. For example I believe teflon was invented about the same time, so maybe that is the cause of all the worlds ills (actually, wasnt that time frame when conservatines came into power; no matter DEM otr REP?.. now "this" really would really explain the problems with PE).

I was educated in the public schools, and it was a great experience.. But this may have been back in the 60's before conservatives sabotaged this great idea.. There were caring people, great lunch food, after school things for fun, and I met people of different races and religions and made friends..

Public schools is one of the best things going in America, and it needs to be repaired (IE: the slogan "it will be a great day when the Pentagon needs to hold a bake sale to buy a battleship, and the publec schools have the money they need)." We should fund the public schools until we have the best school system in the world (not the military), then with smarter people, we will vote out conservatives, and then we will not need the bombs (I sometimes think conservatives start wars to wag the damn dog).. ..

Quote rigel1:

I would say yes. Since the department of education was formed it has educated approximately zero people. In fact they have done just the opposite. Our educational standing in the world has plummeted since the DOE was formed in1979. I would argue that before 1979 we were better educated and our standards were higher. It's time to dump this money pit.

How about the department of energy? Do you like our current energy situation? Have they accomplished anything to help you meet your energy needs? It was formed 40 years ago to get us off of foreign oil. How's that working for you? Again, their accomplishments equal zero. They are a joke. A waste of your money. They exist simply to exist. They gotta go. These are just two of the many freeloading organizations that we need to pull the plug on.

bobbler's picture
bobbler
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The department of education is constitutional. Even, NCLB which has been called an unfunded mandate is merely regulations in place if you draw on a particular set of federal inducement funds for particular populations of people. No one forces states to participate in those programs. The purpose of the department of education is not to educate - that is what teachers do. The department of education by and large is the adminstrative entity for federal educational programs which are desgined to increase educational ACCESS. So, your primary assessment is a strawman argument - you are attempting to convey that the purpose of the DOE is something that it isn't and then judge its success of failure based on that false criteria. Have Pell Grants, for example, improved educational ACCESS? Absolutely. Has funding for early childhood education programs improved ACCESS to these programs? Absolutely - more funding means they can take more kids.

While the DOE does do other things targeted at curricular issues - for example they have had projects designing national standards in all major curricular areas - these are not mandates and therefore do not go beyond the constitutional restrictions which dictate the states will control their own educational systems. States can choose to use it or not. IF our educational expectations have dropped (I dohn't think there is evidence for this at all but let's humor it for second), then it is the result of STATE governments altering their policies.

Also, I notice how you conveniently place the demise of our educational system at 1979 when the Department of Ed was created. Or was it? In actuality the Department of Ed had existed long before that - since the 50s. It simply was part of a larger department which included welfare and human services (which also included what is now the Social Security Administration). So, this completely derails the implication you were attempting to make - that education was fine until the Feds made a DOE. So, what did happen after 1979? Oh that's right, Reagan took office right after that and gutted the DOE and defunded a bunch of early childhood ed programs, deregulated the economy and f'ed up our tax law which was the beginning of the growing division of wealth (IE increased poverty).

I have posted this research many times and I know that some of you posting here have read it. So you are chosing to ignore empirical evidence for ideological dogma. We don't have an education problem. We have a poverty problem. When you take out the al the kids who have poverty rates of about 60-75% of their school population - US ranks around 1st to 3rd in all educational areas.

Anyway, I am not really going to go through all that research again. You can go fetch it in the other threads I have posted it in.

ah2
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Dec. 13, 2010 10:00 pm

If eliminating the department of "whatever" could actually repair some structural problems with "whatever" while kicking some government workers to the curb and saving money, everybody wins (left, right and tea party).

Clearly, public education is a mandatory requirement for any civilized society.

Laborisgood's picture
Laborisgood
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The DoE has only one clear purpose, to absorb funds that could otherwise be used to educate. I do think local Departments serve a purpose, but they should be a lot smaller. I think it would be fair to spend 99% of education funds on educating, and limit overhead to just 1%. My long term plan would be to let schools be run more like a business and let parents shop for the best education. Let's pay Principals CEO pay ($250,000 would be good) and pay teachers like professionals ($130,000 would be good), but demand that they perform or be replaced.

Paleo-con
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The more I read, the more I think that none of you really have any clue what the Department of Education does. Perhaps you should figure that out before you make broad claims about it and the effects of eliminating it and all the programs it supports. So Paleo-con is absolutely backwards. The DOE administers and distributes funds that ARE used to educate. When you give money out, someone has to manage it. That is the DOE when it comes to educational programs.

The issue really isn't the department of ed. They are merely an administrative entity that executes programs passed by Congress. If you really actually think that DOE is not doing anything, then you need to look at the hodge podge of legislature that gets passed, then cut, then amdended, then a different program passed to deal with the same issue in a different way running concurrently with other programs, etc. etc. that CONGRESS puts into place. Doing away with the DOE would mean no more federal financial aid, no more aid for students with disabilties, no more aid for students from low income homes, no more early childhood ed support, no more funding for federally sponsored reading programs, etc. etc. etc.

Getting rid of the Department of Ed serves one purpose - to make schools even more strapped for cash so they fail to justify their privatization. That's it. If you don't like what the DOE does, then you have to get CONGRESS to pass different legilsation, not demolish the administrative entity that runs the programs.

ah2
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Dec. 13, 2010 10:00 pm

But we already know how privatization plays out; IE "profitization." The CEO will end up beng CEO nationally, and all the money will be funneled up to the CEO and top brass.. Leaving the children is worse shape than now.. I dont understand the problem with PE.. Conservatives have been wanting to destroy PE for many years, and have been busy sabotaging PE (taking away funding is one example)..

Quote Paleo-con:

The DoE has only one clear purpose, to absorb funds that could otherwise be used to educate. I do think local Departments serve a purpose, but they should be a lot smaller. I think it would be fair to spend 99% of education funds on educating, and limit overhead to just 1%. My long term plan would be to let schools be run more like a business and let parents shop for the best education. Let's pay Principals CEO pay ($250,000 would be good) and pay teachers like professionals ($130,000 would be good), but demand that they perform or be replaced.

bobbler's picture
bobbler
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

To be honest, if I were asked, I would have guessed the departments of education and energy to each be closer to 100 years old. I'm clearly not so in tune with the finer details of civics as I should be. I guess I could blame my public education or perhaps it was my own comfortable suburban ambivalence.

We can certainly see some trends in both energy and education over the past 30 to 40 years. The $64,000 questions is, "what were those trends going back 30 to 40 years prior?"

Who could possibly argue against ridding ourselves of bloated government departments if they show no positive achievements....except those who are employed by those departments or benefit from them?

Hey, what's going on here? Am I not as liberal as I thought I was!

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Laborisgood
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Quote bobbler:I dont understand the problem with PE.. Conservatives have been wanting to destroy PE for many years, and have been busy sabotaging PE (taking away funding is one

PE was my favorite class, specially when we played dodgeball.

Mr.Burns's picture
Mr.Burns
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Dec. 1, 2010 12:48 pm
Quote Toonces:
Quote Centinel:Note that I am only referring to the federal department of education. Whether your particular state has a department of education and what it does is the concern of you and your fellow citizens.

Are you sure you want states like Kansas, Texas and Florida having free reign over the eduation of children?

What I want has nothing to do with it. Whether or not I like it, the fact of the matter is that there is no constitutional authorization for the department of education and the activities it undertakes. It is not a legal federal activity.

Centinel's picture
Centinel
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Mar. 14, 2011 3:13 pm
Quote ah2:

The department of education is constitutional. Even, NCLB which has been called an unfunded mandate is merely regulations in place if you draw on a particular set of federal inducement funds for particular populations of people.

The federal law offering these funds you mention is what I would consider to be unconstitutional. I see no power granted to congress that would allow them to make this law, do you?

Centinel's picture
Centinel
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Mar. 14, 2011 3:13 pm

The Department of Education is a good idea to nationalize education standards but as an institution it is failing miserably.

This is because an authoritarian government fears an educated citizen. Since most Globalists in government are pro-authoritarian this is why it continues to fail.

The Dept. of Ed. itself is neither good or bad much like a car. However it is how it is used that determines its overall value. Colleges already use the internet to compare and contrast programs that other colleges offer and whether they will give credit to them or not. If the Dept. of Ed. was to reach its full potential then college credits all over the United States would be equal. Much like a dollar has the same value in Alaska or Florida, and educational credit would work the same way.

Volitzer's picture
Volitzer
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Centinel:
Quote ah2:

The department of education is constitutional. Even, NCLB which has been called an unfunded mandate is merely regulations in place if you draw on a particular set of federal inducement funds for particular populations of people.

The federal law offering these funds you mention is what I would consider to be unconstitutional. I see no power granted to congress that would allow them to make this law, do you?

Because they are not mandates, there is nothing in the constitution to prohibit them. Under the general welfare clause, one could argue that providing funding for schools with high poverty rates are for the general welfare of the people.

@Laborisgood: You have absolutely no grounds to make the claims you are staring here. None.

ah2
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Dec. 13, 2010 10:00 pm
Quote ah2:
Quote Centinel:
Quote ah2:

The department of education is constitutional. Even, NCLB which has been called an unfunded mandate is merely regulations in place if you draw on a particular set of federal inducement funds for particular populations of people.

The federal law offering these funds you mention is what I would consider to be unconstitutional. I see no power granted to congress that would allow them to make this law, do you?

Because they are not mandates, there is nothing in the constitution to prohibit them. Under the general welfare clause, one could argue that providing funding for schools with high poverty rates are for the general welfare of the people.

The jurisdiction of the federal government extends to certain enumerated objects only. These powers are specific and finite, and do not include doling out money to schools.

You refer to the general welfare clause and say that "one could argue..." Is this what you are actually arguing? That the general welfare clause authorizes congress to fund schools? I just want to be clear on what you consider to be the authorizing language in the constitutioni.

Centinel's picture
Centinel
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Mar. 14, 2011 3:13 pm

I think that the federal government has good reason to a) think that an educated populous is good for the general welfare and that b) addressing poverty is good for the general welfare. Their policies are narrowly tailored to address these legitimate ends.

ah2
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Dec. 13, 2010 10:00 pm

The US was one of the first countries to decide that public education was a national interest. That was a couple of centuries ago.

The US education system is not the failure it is made out to be. Breaking the test scores into groups, poverty kids, and the rest, the math scores for the non-poverty rank third internationally. Verbal I think is fifth. [I posted on another thread last week... this board used to have a function where you could see your posts, it was a great feature]

http://www.theatlantic.com/misc/the-12-states-of-america/ is a neat interactive map. One could probably correlate the quality of the schools associated with the various states, all 12 of them.

Found the post, from Rand Paul/Letterman

quote=douglaslee]

Schools are not all failing, the education system is not sick, society is.

The charter school magic bullet is bullshit, too. 85% do worse than or equal to public schools. The 15% that do better get private foundation money and can kickout the lower performing students.

[/quote]

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote ah2:

I think that the federal government has good reason to a) think that an educated populous is good for the general welfare and that b) addressing poverty is good for the general welfare. Their policies are narrowly tailored to address these legitimate ends.

And this funding is authorized by the general welfare clause? SO going beyond education, do you regard the general welfare clause as empowering congress to enact any law that they have good reason to believe will increase the general welfare?

Centinel's picture
Centinel
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Mar. 14, 2011 3:13 pm

Hey what happened to rigel1 who proposed the elimination of departments who have not accomplished anything over the past few decades? He, all too succinctly, provided the grounds for eliminating both education and energy departments. Perhaps Arne Duncan and Steven Chu could each provide a slightly more detailed paragraph to defend their respective departments?

Maybe the fact that the dominant party (including Clinton's Third Way) who have been in power for the past few decades have a philosophy of the "government is the enemy" unless it can be used to consolidate more wealth and power to the connected cronies is the reason for the perceived lack of achievement in these and other departments.

As our political pendulum is swinging back in a more government friendly direction, we just might have a chance to improve upon these departments achievements (or lack thereof). It will likely take decades to make any measurable change. But then again, freeing ourselves of unnecessary government bloat might be a more expedient solution to our education and energy problems?

Laborisgood's picture
Laborisgood
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The TBL w/ public schools has nothing at all to do with an authoritarian govt.. It is conservatives sabotaging the public schools that is causing the problems.. Promoting private schools is one of the ways conservatives sabotage p/schools.. Because it takes funding away, then later they can say "see, the schools are not doing well." Our p schools need funds to hire quality people.. I cant believe we are arguing this point, its so obvious..

Quote Volitzer:

The Department of Education is a good idea to nationalize education standards but as an institution it is failing miserably.

This is because an authoritarian government fears an educated citizen. Since most Globalists in government are pro-authoritarian this is why it continues to fail.

The Dept. of Ed. itself is neither good or bad much like a car. However it is how it is used that determines its overall value. Colleges already use the internet to compare and contrast programs that other colleges offer and whether they will give credit to them or not. If the Dept. of Ed. was to reach its full potential then college credits all over the United States would be equal. Much like a dollar has the same value in Alaska or Florida, and educational credit would work the same way.

bobbler's picture
bobbler
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Centinel:
Quote ah2:

I think that the federal government has good reason to a) think that an educated populous is good for the general welfare and that b) addressing poverty is good for the general welfare. Their policies are narrowly tailored to address these legitimate ends.

And this funding is authorized by the general welfare clause? SO going beyond education, do you regard the general welfare clause as empowering congress to enact any law that they have good reason to believe will increase the general welfare?

"The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States... To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."

Seems pretty clear to me.

ah2
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Dec. 13, 2010 10:00 pm

Centinel, what bothers me about the attempts to limit what we can do with the tools of democracy is that who said the Founders were establishing constraints instead of a living process. The "constraints" obtain where democracy is threatened, and that is hardly in the Federal support for public education. It is not a propaganda control move, but it is about helping insure that local control is not just sectarian nut ideology. Equal access and opportunity and other rules of the game need something other than local prejudice ruling the roost.

The importance of an educated citizenry to democracy is widely understood. The value of a shared socialization compared to a society of multiple, radical ideological positions with little sense of common unity is clear. And, if we could agree to support public education, everyone's sensibilities will be in the discussion. Only those afraid of information outside their "box" have reason to oppose public education.

For those who want more education than public school provides, I believe supplemental opportunities work well. We could also be pushing for more in the schools and more resources to make it work. And, I want a public system so special needs children are not priced out of their needed services. We are going to have to pay some taxes.

Bottom line, had the Founders told us we could not practice democracy, we would have to tell them to go to hell.

DRC's picture
DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Laborisgood:

To be honest, if I were asked, I would have guessed the departments of education and energy to each be closer to 100 years old. I'm clearly not so in tune with the finer details of civics as I should be. I guess I could blame my public education or perhaps it was my own comfortable suburban ambivalence.

Education used to be under the Department of Health, and before that the Department of Interior. The first Office of Education was formed in the 1790's under George Washington.

downix's picture
downix
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Oct. 12, 2010 11:04 am

PublicEducationInTheUnitedStates.html has a long history, as I said earlier, and Downix concurred.

Editorial Summary

This article explores the history of the United States' public education system, tracing its development from its roots in Puritan and Congregationalist religious schools in the 1600s and subsequently the availability of free elementary education thanks to the efforts of Common School reformers in the 1800s. It continues on to the dramatic changes of the 1900s, culminating in today's highly decentralized (but still very imperfect) system. It explores the impact that many figures of great importance in America's history have had on the education system, and discusses various social, legal and cultural factors that have all influenced public education. The article also touches on issues of racial and gender equality.

Early History

American public education differs from that of many other nations in that it is primarily the responsibility of the states and individual school districts. The national system of formal education in the United States developed in the 19th century. Jefferson was the first American leader to suggest creating a public school system. His ideas formed the basis of education systems developed in the 19th century.

The most preliminary form of public education was in existence in the 1600s in the New England colonies of Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire. The overriding belief on educating the children was more due to religious reasons and was easy to implement, as the only groups in existence were the Puritans and the Congregationalists. However, the influx of people from many countries and belonging to different faiths led to a weakening of the concept. People refused to learn only in English and opposed the clergy imposing their religious views through public education. By the middle of the eighteenth century, private schooling had become the norm.

After the Declaration of Independence, 14 states had their own constitutions by 1791, and out of the 14, 7 states had specific provisions for education. Jefferson believed that education should be under the control of the government, free from religious biases, and available to all people irrespective of their status in society. Others who vouched for public education around the same time were Benjamin Rush, Noah Webster, Robert Coram and George Washington. It was still very difficult to translate the concept to practice because of the political upheavals, vast immigration, and economic transformations. Thus, even for many more decades, there were many private schools, and charitable and religious institutions dominating the scene.

The Beginning of the Public Education System

Until the 1840s the education system was highly localized and available only to wealthy people. Reformers who wanted all children to gain the benefits of education opposed this. Prominent among them were Horace Mann in Massachusetts and Henry Barnard in Connecticut. Mann started the publication of the Common School Journal, which took the educational issues to the public. The common-school reformers argued for the case on the belief that common schooling could create good citizens, unite society and prevent crime and poverty. As a result of their efforts, free public education at the elementary level was available for all American children by the end of the 19th century. Massachusetts passed the first compulsory school attendance laws in 1852, followed by New York in 1853. By 1918 all states had passed laws requiring children to attend at least elementary school. The Catholics were, however, opposed to common schooling and created their own private schools. Their decision was supported by the 1925 Supreme Court rule in Pierce v. Society of Sisters that states could not compel children to attend public schools, and that children could attend private schools instead.

.

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

See that fellow Horace Mann mentioned above?

http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/historytour/history1.htm this guy challenges how much effect he had on the schools of today.

American schools vs European schools had differences in how much education went into being a citizen, or later how much could they be a farm for a future labor pool, whether bosses or workers.

fter 1900 the new mass schooling arenas slowly became impersonal places where children were viewed as HUMAN RESOURCES. Whenever you hear this term, you are certain to be in the presence of employees of the fourth purpose, however unwitting. Human resource children are to be molded and shaped for something called "The Workplace," even though for most of American history American children were reared to expect to create their own workplaces.

In the new workplace, most Americans were slated to work for large corporations or large government agencies, if they worked at all.

This revolution in the composition of the American dream produced some unpleasant byproducts. Since systematic forms of employment demand that employees specialize their efforts in one or another function of systematic production, then clear thinking warns us that incomplete people make the best corporate and government employees.

Earlier Americans like Madison and Jefferson were well aware of this paradox, which our own time has forgotten. And if that is so, mutilation in the interests of later social efficiency has to be one of the biggest tasks assigned to forced schooling.

The Business of Schooling

Since bored people are the best consumers, school had to be a boring place, and since childish people are the easiest customers to convince, the manufacture of childishness, extended into adulthood, had to be the first priority of factory schools. Naturally, teachers and administrators weren't let in on this plan; they didn't need to be. If they didn't conform to instructions passed down from increasingly centralized school offices, they didn't last long.

In the new system, schools were gradually re-formed to meet the pressing need of big businesses to have standardized customers and employees, standardized because such people are predictable in certain crucial ways by mathematical formulae. Business (and government) can only be efficient if human beings are redesigned to meet simplified specifications. As the century wore on, school spaces themselves were opened bit by bit to commercialization.

These processes didn't advance evenly. Some localities resisted more than others, some decades were more propitious for the plan than others. Especially during and just after national emergencies like WWI, the Depression, WWII, and the Sputnik crisis, the scheme rocketed forward; in quieter moments it was becalmed or even forced to give up some ground.

But even in moments of greatest resistance, the institutions controlling the fourth purpose—great corporations, great universities, government bureaus with vast powers to reward or punish, and corporate journalism—increasingly centralized in fewer and fewer hands throughout the twentieth century, kept a steady hand on the tiller. They had ample resources to wear down and outwait the competition.

The prize was of inestimable value--control of the minds of the young.

Page - 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote ah2:
Quote Centinel:

And this funding is authorized by the general welfare clause? SO going beyond education, do you regard the general welfare clause as empowering congress to enact any law that they have good reason to believe will increase the general welfare?

"The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States... To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."

Seems pretty clear to me.

You took the first line and the last line from article I, section 8. Did you happen to notice the other powers listed there? Why do you suppose they are there? If congress can make any law necessary and proper to provide for the general welfare, why would the constitution have to explicitly say that congress could, say, establish post offices? Why do you suppose article I, section 8 not simply consist of the two lines you quoted?

Do you see congress' power restricted in any way at all? Is there anything you would say that congress may not do?

Centinel's picture
Centinel
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Mar. 14, 2011 3:13 pm
Quote DRC:

Centinel, what bothers me about the attempts to limit what we can do with the tools of democracy is that who said the Founders were establishing constraints instead of a living process.

The constitution doesn't limit what you can do. It only limits what you can do through the federal government. Each of us may use democracy to the fullest extent allowed by our respective state constitutions.

The constitution just restricts my ability as a Pennsylvanian to interfere with you as a citizen of your state. It does not restrict you and your fellow citizens from enacting any democratic solution you wish in your own state.

If on the other hand you want to make laws that affect me in Pennsylvania my first question would be why? Why are you interfering in the democracy in my state?

Centinel's picture
Centinel
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Mar. 14, 2011 3:13 pm
Quote Centinel:
Quote ah2:
Quote Centinel:

And this funding is authorized by the general welfare clause? SO going beyond education, do you regard the general welfare clause as empowering congress to enact any law that they have good reason to believe will increase the general welfare?

"The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States... To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."

Seems pretty clear to me.

You took the first line and the last line from article I, section 8. Did you happen to notice the other powers listed there? Why do you suppose they are there? If congress can make any law necessary and proper to provide for the general welfare, why would the constitution have to explicitly say that congress could, say, establish post offices? Why do you suppose article I, section 8 not simply consist of the two lines you quoted?

Do you see congress' power restricted in any way at all? Is there anything you would say that congress may not do?

Each of those clauses isolate specific enumerated powers of Congress which had no bearing on this particular discussion and were superfluous from a grammatical standpoint. There was no reason to include them all.

Look, the Constitution is intentionally vague almost all the time. There are specific enumerated powers because those are things the founders believed to be the base level of functioning of the government - things they knew already they wanted the federal government to do. The post office, in particular, was included I believe because it would inherently involved communication going across state lines so it made sense to have a centralized system with a consistent logisitcal and administrative methodology. For education, the line seems to have been - people should have the freedom to educate in whatever way they want but everyone should be educated. So, education systems are controlled at the state and local levels but Congress provides support programs to improve access for a range of groups.

I think the limit of Congress's power is quite clear in the statement - they can't do anything that is not enumerated in the list or in the interest of common defense or the general welfare. NOw I am being a little backhanded here because you are correct in pointing out the vagueness of "general welfare". The thing you are not acknowledging, and which I am attempting to prod you with, is that this vagueness is INTENTIONAL on the part of the founders. They realized from the very beginning that the form ofboth the state and federal governments had to be flexible enough to accomodate for the needs of the public over time and that times they do change... In other words, it would be STUPID for them to put absolute limits on the power (except in specific case enumerated in the Bill of Rights) because history, if nothing else, gives rise to new and unpredictible need based on socio-political climte and technological change. This was something the founders understood quite well so they use loose restrictions like "common defense" and "general welfare" - implying at the very least that the government can't do anything to harm its people but that it should have some latitude on creating things that will help those they govern.

The bar for me has to do with restraint. In that way, Libertarians and Liberals are really not all that different. The difference is what we actually consider necessary. For may part, I believe in the need for education because without it, the corporations would have taken over already. Without it, the mass false consciousness that has overtaken the conservative working class would have spread even further and deeper intothe national consciousness. Without it, I believe we would have been even worse off from a global competitive comparison than we are now. The reason we don't do well globally on tests is because we refuse to deal with POVERTY in any substantive way. Research shows this over and over and over and over. This is why I believe the libertarian perspective to be wholely inadequate in terms of the ideas it produces to "fix" the nation's problems. Their solution to poverty - let it happen. And this is simply contradictory to the vast majority of the other goals they claim to hold dear.

ah2
Joined:
Dec. 13, 2010 10:00 pm

Thank you ah2 for elaborating my point. "Constitutionalism" strikes me as another form of "text fundamentalism" where Holy Writ is treated in a literalism akin to Logical Positivism on steroids. The Constitution is clearly an enabling document to begin a process. It was formed in compromise and the conditions of its time, and nobody thought they were uttering the last word on anything.

As to the rules and spirit of "the game," or process, I agree that the Federal Government does not exist to meddle in state issues. There has to be a good reason to get involved in how states run their states. But I think somebody needed to intervene regarding segregation. We do have a collective interest in their being reality based education instead of whatever religion or ideology of escapism is being pushed somewhere. We have to live with these people, and our kids will be living in a world where Creationist votes are not just about religious freedom.

I have posted often about the need for education reform to be about the learning environment, nurturing the natural curiosity of the child/student and affirming their narrative/self as the way to turn them on to learning. Or, getting out of the way of their natural curiosity is another way to see it. I want teachers designing schools with support from educators in administration. I do not want bosses rating teachers as individual performers on test scores. I want people who care about each other and are helpful to one another because they will care about the kids and treat them as human beings. When children know they are cared for, they respond by learning. It is the one sure quality that defines a good school.

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I'm a bit biased due to one of my special needs children, so keeping them from being "priced out" is an easy sell for me and "pricing them out" is virtually indefensible except for the coldest of cold hearted conservatives.

Once you accept "not pricing out" special needs children, wouldn't "not pricing out" poor children follow suit?

We can summarize our education problem with 3 words: Pah - Vur - Tee!

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Laborisgood
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The constitution just restricts my ability as a Pennsylvanian to interfere with you as a citizen of your state. It does not restrict you and your fellow citizens from enacting any democratic solution you wish in your own state.

If on the other hand you want to make laws that affect me in Pennsylvania my first question would be why? Why are you interfering in the democracy in my state?

PA was on the north's side in that historic war of aggression. Viginia had the little separation to make the northern alliance partner West Virginia. What part of PA do you want to separate into your state's rights to ignorance sector? I am from OH and and been in much of PA. Most everywhere I have been liked to be educated, but there is that militia/survivalist group.

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote ah2:

I think the limit of Congress's power is quite clear in the statement - they can't do anything that is not enumerated in the list or in the interest of common defense or the general welfare. NOw I am being a little backhanded here because you are correct in pointing out the vagueness of "general welfare". The thing you are not acknowledging, and which I am attempting to prod you with, is that this vagueness is INTENTIONAL on the part of the founders. They realized from the very beginning that the form ofboth the state and federal governments had to be flexible enough to accomodate for the needs of the public over time and that times they do change... In other words, it would be STUPID for them to put absolute limits on the power (except in specific case enumerated in the Bill of Rights) because history, if nothing else, gives rise to new and unpredictible need based on socio-political climte and technological change. This was something the founders understood quite well so they use loose restrictions like "common defense" and "general welfare" - implying at the very least that the government can't do anything to harm its people but that it should have some latitude on creating things that will help those they govern.

But if you assert, as you do, that congress can legislate based on one of the enumberated powers or in the interest of the general welfare, then you are basically saying that congress has unlimited legislative jurisdiction. What law would they pass that is NOT in the interest of the general welfare.

The historical record is clear that the constitution was constructed and advertised as a federation of sovereign republics, in which the federation had a specific and limite set of areas over it was given authority. Each of the republics ratified the constitution with this understanding.

Here's a question: Could congress, in the intrest of the general welfare, pass a law prohibiting alcohol in any of these united states?

Centinel's picture
Centinel
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Mar. 14, 2011 3:13 pm
Quote DRC:

Thank you ah2 for elaborating my point. "Constitutionalism" strikes me as another form of "text fundamentalism" where Holy Writ is treated in a literalism akin to Logical Positivism on steroids. The Constitution is clearly an enabling document to begin a process. It was formed in compromise and the conditions of its time, and nobody thought they were uttering the last word on anything.


The constitution is not holy writ. It is simply the written compact that our various sovereign republics created to form a federation. It's a legal document, simple as that. It describes nature and details of our union.

Quote DRC:
As to the rules and spirit of "the game," or process, I agree that the Federal Government does not exist to meddle in state issues. There has to be a good reason to get involved in how states run their states. But I think somebody needed to intervene regarding segregation. We do have a collective interest in their being reality based education instead of whatever religion or ideology of escapism is being pushed somewhere. We have to live with these people, and our kids will be living in a world where Creationist votes are not just about religious freedom.

I guess we just see the nature of the states differently. To me, it would make as much sense for me to try to influence the educational system in Texas as it would for me to change the educational system of France. They are both separate sovereign republics. Somehow I don't believe that when the states decided to create a federation they anticipated that there would be an attempt by the federation and people in other states to manage how they educate their own citizens.

Centinel's picture
Centinel
Joined:
Mar. 14, 2011 3:13 pm
Quote Centinel:
Quote ah2:

I think the limit of Congress's power is quite clear in the statement - they can't do anything that is not enumerated in the list or in the interest of common defense or the general welfare. NOw I am being a little backhanded here because you are correct in pointing out the vagueness of "general welfare". The thing you are not acknowledging, and which I am attempting to prod you with, is that this vagueness is INTENTIONAL on the part of the founders. They realized from the very beginning that the form ofboth the state and federal governments had to be flexible enough to accomodate for the needs of the public over time and that times they do change... In other words, it would be STUPID for them to put absolute limits on the power (except in specific case enumerated in the Bill of Rights) because history, if nothing else, gives rise to new and unpredictible need based on socio-political climte and technological change. This was something the founders understood quite well so they use loose restrictions like "common defense" and "general welfare" - implying at the very least that the government can't do anything to harm its people but that it should have some latitude on creating things that will help those they govern.

But if you assert, as you do, that congress can legislate based on one of the enumberated powers or in the interest of the general welfare, then you are basically saying that congress has unlimited legislative jurisdiction. What law would they pass that is NOT in the interest of the general welfare.

The historical record is clear that the constitution was constructed and advertised as a federation of sovereign republics, in which the federation had a specific and limite set of areas over it was given authority. Each of the republics ratified the constitution with this understanding.

Here's a question: Could congress, in the intrest of the general welfare, pass a law prohibiting alcohol in any of these united states?

This is seriously like banging my head against a very very hard wall. My personal interpretation of what is in the general welfare is not what is at issue here. We democratically elect officials who convey their sense of the general welfare and we expect them to put it into practice. When we go to the polls, I elect people that say they want to support educational programs at the federal level because I see first hand what they do for the communities in which I live - I know exactly what the programs are, how they function, and I have read significant amounts of research as to their effects. If say, I saw a politician get up and say, I am going to pass a law that prohibits alcohol in the interest of the general welfare, I would not vote for that person. What is in the general welfare, as I stated earlier, is INTENIONALLY VAGUE SO THAT IT IS SUBJECT TO DEMOCRATIC DELIBERATION. The ELECTORATE decides what the restriction of that clause is.

Quote Centinel:
Quote DRC:

Thank you ah2 for elaborating my point. "Constitutionalism" strikes me as another form of "text fundamentalism" where Holy Writ is treated in a literalism akin to Logical Positivism on steroids. The Constitution is clearly an enabling document to begin a process. It was formed in compromise and the conditions of its time, and nobody thought they were uttering the last word on anything.


The constitution is not holy writ. It is simply the written compact that our various sovereign republics created to form a federation. It's a legal document, simple as that. It describes nature and details of our union.

Quote DRC:
As to the rules and spirit of "the game," or process, I agree that the Federal Government does not exist to meddle in state issues. There has to be a good reason to get involved in how states run their states. But I think somebody needed to intervene regarding segregation. We do have a collective interest in their being reality based education instead of whatever religion or ideology of escapism is being pushed somewhere. We have to live with these people, and our kids will be living in a world where Creationist votes are not just about religious freedom.

I guess we just see the nature of the states differently. To me, it would make as much sense for me to try to influence the educational system in Texas as it would for me to change the educational system of France. They are both separate sovereign republics. Somehow I don't believe that when the states decided to create a federation they anticipated that there would be an attempt by the federation and people in other states to manage how they educate their own citizens.

And the frustrating part about your comments here is that it reveals a) that you don't know what the Department of Education does, and b) You have either not fully read my previous statements or simnply refuse to digest them because you have already decided based on dogma that it is wrong.

THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION DOES NOT CONTROL ANYTHING ABOUT STATE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEMS. THEY PROVIDE TAREGETED FUNDING PROGRAMS FOR SPECIFIC POPULATIONS OF PEOPLE AND THE STATES DECIDE TO PARTICIPATE IN THEM OR NOT. EACH PROGRAM COMES WITH STIPULATIONS OR GUIDELINES TO FOLLOW TO RECEIVE THE FUNDS. ANY STATE COULD REFUSE THE FUNDING AND DO WHAT EVER THE HELL THEY WANTED.

There. Maybe if it is in all caps you won't miss it this time.

ah2
Joined:
Dec. 13, 2010 10:00 pm
Quote ah2:

And the frustrating part about your comments here is that it reveals a) that you don't know what the Department of Education does, and b) You have either not fully read my previous statements or simnply refuse to digest them because you have already decided based on dogma that it is wrong.

THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION DOES NOT CONTROL ANYTHING ABOUT STATE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEMS. THEY PROVIDE TAREGETED FUNDING PROGRAMS FOR SPECIFIC POPULATIONS OF PEOPLE AND THE STATES DECIDE TO PARTICIPATE IN THEM OR NOT. EACH PROGRAM COMES WITH STIPULATIONS OR GUIDELINES TO FOLLOW TO RECEIVE THE FUNDS. ANY STATE COULD REFUSE THE FUNDING AND DO WHAT EVER THE HELL THEY WANTED.

There. Maybe if it is in all caps you won't miss it this time.

Fair enough. I understand that the DOE funding is offered to states who may take or leave the funding, and that accepting the funding also entails accepting the conditions that go along with the funding. The DOE is not mandating anything.

Still, somehow I don't believe that when the states decided to create a federation they anticipated that they would be on the hook to provide tax funds to the federal government so that the federal government could provide targeted funding programs for specific populations of people. I just don't think that the people who signed on to the compact between our republics believed that the federal government would have such a power to tax for such a purpose.

Quote ah2:

This is seriously like banging my head against a very very hard wall. My personal interpretation of what is in the general welfare is not what is at issue here. We democratically elect officials who convey their sense of the general welfare and we expect them to put it into practice. When we go to the polls, I elect people that say they want to support educational programs at the federal level because I see first hand what they do for the communities in which I live - I know exactly what the programs are, how they function, and I have read significant amounts of research as to their effects. If say, I saw a politician get up and say, I am going to pass a law that prohibits alcohol in the interest of the general welfare, I would not vote for that person. What is in the general welfare, as I stated earlier, is INTENIONALLY VAGUE SO THAT IT IS SUBJECT TO DEMOCRATIC DELIBERATION. The ELECTORATE decides what the restriction of that clause is.

I'm not asking you for your personal interpretation of what is in the general welfare. I'm asking you whether you think there is any constitutional check against the electorate deciding to put in place a congress that passes prohibition legislation. I understand you to be saying that the language in the constitition is deliberately vague. You're saying that it was designed this way so that it would be subject to democratic deliberation. This being the case, it would stand to reason that if the electorate decided that they wanted the federal government to enact prohibition legislation that this would be constitutional under the general welfare clause, correct?

And if prohibition legislation is allowed under the general welfare clause, what sort of legislation would the constitution actually prohibit? I'm just trying to understand what the limits on the federal government's juridsiction might be. How much power does the electorate of the other states via the federal government have over my republic of Pennsylvania?

Centinel's picture
Centinel
Joined:
Mar. 14, 2011 3:13 pm
Quote Centinel:

Here's a question: Could congress, in the intrest of the general welfare, pass a law prohibiting alcohol in any of these united states?

Of course they could. They do it for marijuana, cocaine, opium, etc. And what would happen if they did so? Those politicians would lose elections because it would be unpopular. And that is all the Constitution does. Nothing more, nothing less. You get to vote for a Representative every 2 years, for a President every 4 years, for a Senator every 6 years, and judges serve for life if the President wants one and the Senators approve.

But I think all the court decisions rely on the Commerce Clause. I don't think the Preamble to the Constitution has an legal relevance.

chilidog
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote chilidog:
Quote Centinel:

Here's a question: Could congress, in the intrest of the general welfare, pass a law prohibiting alcohol in any of these united states?

Of course they could. They do it for marijuana, cocaine, opium, etc. And what would happen if they did so? Those politicians would lose elections because it would be unpopular. And that is all the Constitution does. Nothing more, nothing less. You get to vote for a Representative every 2 years, for a President every 4 years, for a Senator every 6 years, and judges serve for life if the President wants one and the Senators approve.

But I think all the court decisions rely on the Commerce Clause. I don't think the Preamble to the Constitution has an legal relevance.

Interesting. So why do you think the 18th amendment was proposed and ratified. Was that an unnecessary exercise.

Also, when the people of our several republics chose to federate, do you think that they would have done so with the understanding that the federation they were creating would have the power to enact prohibition legislation? Was that part of the deal they thought they were signing up for?

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Centinel
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Mar. 14, 2011 3:13 pm

@chili: The general welfare clause we are talking about is in Article I. Section 8. Powers of Congress. A lot of people criticizing "the general welfare clause" on the net, are criticizing the Preamble which is the wrong general welfare clause.

@Centinel: Of course they understood that they would be on the hook for taxes to that end. It says it right there in the quote we have been talking about this entire time... Here is a fundamental difference in how we are perceiving this issue. You clearly believe that those targeted funding programs are there simply to benefit those whom are targeted - this is how libertarians feel about all redistributive programs (this was evident in the "how much of your wage is yours conversation as well). But they are missing a fundamental reason these programs were put into place - people during the 1940s-60s realized that we are all fundamentally an integrated whole. When one of us suffers, all of us suffer. Libertarians refuse to believe this despite ample historical AND scientific evidence to the contrary (and I might add virtually every theological system as well). So, these targeted programs are there primarily for those they help but the reason they exist is because THEY HELP US ALL.

Re: the 18th Amendment - this was a great example of the democratic process putting an absolute limitation on Congressional power in regard to general welfare. Thank you for providing an example of the point I have been making this whole time. I think you are getting it finally.

I think, whether this be intentional or not, you are concealing some historical perspective here by continuing to refer to us as a federation. While technically we are a federation by the dictionary definition, we have to remember the historical context of its formation. The Articles of Confederation was a pure federation of the States. The federal government's power was so limited that virtually all sovereignty lied with the states. Whether we agree or not, the founders and other representatives of the states seemed to believe that this caused a lot of problems and that more power needed to be granted to the federal government.

When they created the the Constitution, they centralized more power and specifically pointed out that the Federal Congress. If they didn't want the Federal Government to have any jurisdiction over the states they would never have put in the Supremacy Clause which grants federal preemption in the law.

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

In addition, it requires that state level officials must swear an oath to this effect. It even gets its own article and is entitled Article. VI. - Debts, Supremacy, Oaths

ah2
Joined:
Dec. 13, 2010 10:00 pm
Quote ah2:
@Centinel: Of course they understood that they would be on the hook for taxes to that end. It says it right there in the quote we have been talking about this entire time...

I'm not sure I agree with you on that. In advertising for ratification of the constitution, Madison tried to allay the fears of those opposed to the constitution on precisely this point. Opponents worried that the tax and spend clause, in referring to the general welfare, amounted to a blanket grant of power. Madison insisted that the general welfare clause granted no such broad power. In federalist 41, he wrote:

Had no other enumeration or definition of the powers of the Congress been found in the Constitution, than the general expressions just cited, the authors of the objection might have had some color for it; though it would have been difficult to find a reason for so awkward a form of describing an authority to legislate in all possible cases. A power to destroy the freedom of the press, the trial by jury, or even to regulate the course of descents, or the forms of conveyances, must be very singularly expressed by the terms "to raise money for the general welfare."

But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon? If the different parts of the same instrument ought to be so expounded, as to give meaning to every part which will bear it, shall one part of the same sentence be excluded altogether from a share in the meaning; and shall the more doubtful and indefinite terms be retained in their full extent, and the clear and precise expressions be denied any signification whatsoever? For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars. But the idea of an enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning, and can have no other effect than to confound and mislead, is an absurdity, which, as we are reduced to the dilemma of charging either on the authors of the objection or on the authors of the Constitution, we must take the liberty of supposing, had not its origin with the latter.

This is how the constitution was sold to the citizens of the various republics who were weighing ratification. This is what people signed up for, not a broad power to legislate in the general welfare.

Quote ah2:
Here is a fundamental difference in how we are perceiving this issue. You clearly believe that those targeted funding programs are there simply to benefit those whom are targeted - this is how libertarians feel about all redistributive programs (this was evident in the "how much of your wage is yours conversation as well).

I am unfamiliar with the "how much of your wage is yours" conversation, nor am I a libertarian. I am not necessarily opposed to redistributive programs in my commonwealth or any other of these united states. And again, I'm not arguing the point of whether or not federal targeted funding programs improve the general welfare. My point is that congress has no power legislate in the name of the general welfare other than to legislate on the powers specifically enumerated, which as Madison told us were the particulars of the general idea. There are many ways that the federation could attempt to promote the general welfare, but only those listed as enumerated powers are constitutional. Of course, the amendment process is available to add to the list of enumerated powers.

Quote ah2:
Re: the 18th Amendment - this was a great example of the democratic process putting an absolute limitation on Congressional power in regard to general welfare. Thank you for providing an example of the point I have been making this whole time. I think you are getting it finally.

You lost me here. Are you saying that the 18th amendment added a limitation on congressional power? What limitation are you talking about? It seems to me that the 18th amendment granted an additional enumerated power to congress (which was later taken away.)

Quote ah2:
I think, whether this be intentional or not, you are concealing some historical perspective here by continuing to refer to us as a federation. While technically we are a federation by the dictionary definition, we have to remember the historical context of its formation. The Articles of Confederation was a pure federation of the States. The federal government's power was so limited that virtually all sovereignty lied with the states. Whether we agree or not, the founders and other representatives of the states seemed to believe that this caused a lot of problems and that more power needed to be granted to the federal government.

I am not concealing my historical perspective, at least I'm not trying to conceal anything. You are right that the constitution represented a change in the compact among the states, in which the states allowed more powers to the federation. But the states remained and remain the fundamental unit of sovereignty. The federation is the creation of the states. The states are the principals and the federation is their agent. What powers it has it only has because the participating states grant them.

Quote ah2:
When they created the the Constitution, they centralized more power and specifically pointed out that the Federal Congress. If they didn't want the Federal Government to have any jurisdiction over the states they would never have put in the Supremacy Clause which grants federal preemption in the law.

Yes, the constitition is the supreme law, and establishes the ground rules for both federal officials and the officials of the member states. As long as any of the republics wishes to maintain its membership in the compact, each must agree to abide by their delegation of powers to the federation. It's part of the terms of our voluntary federation.

Centinel's picture
Centinel
Joined:
Mar. 14, 2011 3:13 pm
Quote DRC:

Bush, of course, perverted its function in No Child's Behind Left.

The Dept. of Education is not where the waste in DC is found.

You guys really need to stop the hate. No child left behind was authored by Ted Kennedy and endorsed by Bush. You have an unhealthy obsession with W. You're a walking cliche. Get over it.

rigel1's picture
rigel1
Joined:
Jan. 31, 2011 7:49 am
Quote rigel1:
Quote DRC:

Bush, of course, perverted its function in No Child's Behind Left.

The Dept. of Education is not where the waste in DC is found.

You guys really need to stop the hate. No child left behind was authored by Ted Kennedy and endorsed by Bush. You have an unhealthy obsession with W. You're a walking cliche. Get over it.

The only thing I have said about NCLB is that it is not a pure mandate as some have claimed. It is merely a set of stipulations States must agree to in order to be eligible for Federal Title I funds.

And this was passed bipartisanly in Congress. I think it had 98 votes or something in the Senate and the distribution was similar in the House.

However, DRC's point does hold true. Title I was never meant to be a way to coerce a testing regime on to schools, it was meant to be a capacity inducing grant for schools that had high poverty levels. The NCLB portion of the bill is part of a vast array of "accountability" measure to see that we are getting enough "bang for our buck" in particular Federal Programs. Although this too is a farse because the mandated goal is unrealistic - it asks for 100% compliance. Anyone who knows anything about social science knows that achieving 100% of anything in society is impossible. There are ALWAYS vartiations and outliers. Basically, it was a way to sabotage Title I and get it to collapse on itself.

ah2
Joined:
Dec. 13, 2010 10:00 pm

@Centinel: Okay the boards would not let me imbed my replies to you. Too many quotes in quotes, I guess. So, this will have to do.

1. Well it is certainly an interesting passage. I recognize ahead of time that I may be coopting this to justify my perspective. The Federalist Papers, like the Constitution are subject to interpretation and contestation. First, Madison was not one of the primary writers of the Constitution. While the Federalist Papers were used to endorse the Constitution, it does not follow that his opinion alone stands as the only interpretation and reading of the document nor that his opinion was held by all of those who had a hand in its creation.

Personally, I feel that his assessment of the grammatical situation in Section 8 is incorrect. Semicolons appear after each of the individual clauses in this section. Semicolons are used to separate clauses within a list, particularly when those clauses also contain commas (many of the clauses in this section contain several commas). This is done to clarify where specific clauses in the list begin and end. Therefore, I personally believe that the common defense and general welfare clause is the first of a long list of clauses that each stand alone. In fact, had they meant this first statement to be a stand alone statement of general terms and the rest to be an elaboration, the semicolon would be precisely the WRONG punctuation to use because it places it on equal footing as all the rest of the clauses in the section. They should have either used a period and then said "For example, ..." or "Specifically, ..." Alternatively, they could have used a colon or a hyphen to denote that the following statements were a subset or clarification of the one that just preceded them. But that was not, in fact, what they did. All of the clauses carry the same grammatical weight and are part of a single list, each mentioning discrete powers allocated to Congress.

2. Interesting considering that the only thing the DOE does is carry out redstrbutive programs or scientific research for the government (which is also covered specifically in this Section). The justification for all of these redistributive programs are identical to the programs housed in the DOE so I am confused as to how you separate them in your mind. Medicaid, for example, has an almost identical form - federally funded, state run.

3. You're correct I was slightly confused here. The 21st amendment is what I was talking about. Although this would perhaps bracket this particular issue out of the conversation considering they made a constitutional amendment to put the prohibition in place. This clearly shows that they did not consider this to be covered under the general welfare clause and believed it needed to be a Constitutional Amendment to take effect - passage of a law was insufficient.

4. Sure. That doesn't change the fact that when they sign on they agree to the general welfare clause which includes the ability to tax to carry it out. They openly forfit some level of sovereignty to be a part of the union - as do us all.

5. Not only the Constitution but also federal law. The founders specifically granted the federal Congress the power to supercede State law. This was perhaps the most major shift from the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution and this is also which makes a hybrid between a Federation and a unified Nation-State and not a pure Federation as you seem to be implying in your posts.

ah2
Joined:
Dec. 13, 2010 10:00 pm
Quote ah2:

@Centinel: Okay the boards would not let me imbed my replies to you. Too many quotes in quotes, I guess. So, this will have to do.

1. Well it is certainly an interesting passage. I recognize ahead of time that I may be coopting this to justify my perspective. The Federalist Papers, like the Constitution are subject to interpretation and contestation. First, Madison was not one of the primary writers of the Constitution. While the Federalist Papers were used to endorse the Constitution, it does not follow that his opinion alone stands as the only interpretation and reading of the document nor that his opinion was held by all of those who had a hand in its creation.

Personally, I feel that his assessment of the grammatical situation in Section 8 is incorrect. Semicolons appear after each of the individual clauses in this section. Semicolons are used to separate clauses within a list, particularly when those clauses also contain commas (many of the clauses in this section contain several commas). This is done to clarify where specific clauses in the list begin and end. Therefore, I personally believe that the common defense and general welfare clause is the first of a long list of clauses that each stand alone. In fact, had they meant this first statement to be a stand alone statement of general terms and the rest to be an elaboration, the semicolon would be precisely the WRONG punctuation to use because it places it on equal footing as all the rest of the clauses in the section. They should have either used a period and then said "For example, ..." or "Specifically, ..." Alternatively, they could have used a colon or a hyphen to denote that the following statements were a subset or clarification of the one that just preceded them. But that was not, in fact, what they did. All of the clauses carry the same grammatical weight and are part of a single list, each mentioning discrete powers allocated to Congress.

2. Interesting considering that the only thing the DOE does is carry out redstrbutive programs or scientific research for the government (which is also covered specifically in this Section). The justification for all of these redistributive programs are identical to the programs housed in the DOE so I am confused as to how you separate them in your mind. Medicaid, for example, has an almost identical form - federally funded, state run.


I don't separate them in my mind. I consider them to be essentially the same, in that the federal government is using tax funds to distribute money to certain targeted groups. My point is that I am not opposed in principle to redistributive government plans, but I do oppose such plans being implemented by the federation, because such acts are outside its limited jurisdiction.

Quote ah2:
3. You're correct I was slightly confused here. The 21st amendment is what I was talking about. Although this would perhaps bracket this particular issue out of the conversation considering they made a constitutional amendment to put the prohibition in place. This clearly shows that they did not consider this to be covered under the general welfare clause and believed it needed to be a Constitutional Amendment to take effect - passage of a law was insufficient.

Why do you suppose they thought it wasn't covered by the general welfare clause? It seems that it would be in the interest of the general welfare, and therefore within congress' power. They could have just made a law.

Quote ah2:
4. Sure. That doesn't change the fact that when they sign on they agree to the general welfare clause which includes the ability to tax to carry it out. They openly forfit some level of sovereignty to be a part of the union - as do us all.

As I said, my contention is that when the states signed onto the compact, they believed Madison's claim that the general welfare clause did not impart any specific power. To now claim that the general welfare clause gives congress the power to enact any law they feel will improve the general welfare is a change in the ground rules.

Quote ah2:

5. Not only the Constitution but also federal law. The founders specifically granted the federal Congress the power to supercede State law. This was perhaps the most major shift from the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution and this is also which makes a hybrid between a Federation and a unified Nation-State and not a pure Federation as you seem to be implying in your posts.


Yes, federal laws made pursuant to the constitution are the supreme law of the land. The important part is "made persuant to". A federal law with no constitutional foundation is not a law.

And I don't disagree that the current federation is a more centralized federation than under the ariticles. But our union is still a federation in that it is a compact among sovereign republics. The alternative to a federation is a unitary state, and our union is certainly not a unitary state. As I said before, the basic political unit is the component republics. They created the federation, and participate voluntarily. The federation is not sovereign. The constitution is only supreme as a condition of membership in the union, but any of the republics could, if they wished, reassert their sovereignty and withdraw from the compact at any time. That's what sovereignty means.

Centinel's picture
Centinel
Joined:
Mar. 14, 2011 3:13 pm
Quote Centinel:
Quote ah2:

@Centinel: Okay the boards would not let me imbed my replies to you. Too many quotes in quotes, I guess. So, this will have to do.

1. Well it is certainly an interesting passage. I recognize ahead of time that I may be coopting this to justify my perspective. The Federalist Papers, like the Constitution are subject to interpretation and contestation. First, Madison was not one of the primary writers of the Constitution. While the Federalist Papers were used to endorse the Constitution, it does not follow that his opinion alone stands as the only interpretation and reading of the document nor that his opinion was held by all of those who had a hand in its creation.

Personally, I feel that his assessment of the grammatical situation in Section 8 is incorrect. Semicolons appear after each of the individual clauses in this section. Semicolons are used to separate clauses within a list, particularly when those clauses also contain commas (many of the clauses in this section contain several commas). This is done to clarify where specific clauses in the list begin and end. Therefore, I personally believe that the common defense and general welfare clause is the first of a long list of clauses that each stand alone. In fact, had they meant this first statement to be a stand alone statement of general terms and the rest to be an elaboration, the semicolon would be precisely the WRONG punctuation to use because it places it on equal footing as all the rest of the clauses in the section. They should have either used a period and then said "For example, ..." or "Specifically, ..." Alternatively, they could have used a colon or a hyphen to denote that the following statements were a subset or clarification of the one that just preceded them. But that was not, in fact, what they did. All of the clauses carry the same grammatical weight and are part of a single list, each mentioning discrete powers allocated to Congress.

2. Interesting considering that the only thing the DOE does is carry out redstrbutive programs or scientific research for the government (which is also covered specifically in this Section). The justification for all of these redistributive programs are identical to the programs housed in the DOE so I am confused as to how you separate them in your mind. Medicaid, for example, has an almost identical form - federally funded, state run.


I don't separate them in my mind. I consider them to be essentially the same, in that the federal government is using tax funds to distribute money to certain targeted groups. My point is that I am not opposed in principle to redistributive government plans, but I do oppose such plans being implemented by the federation, because such acts are outside its limited jurisdiction.

No they aren't.

Quote Centinel:
Quote ah2:
3. You're correct I was slightly confused here. The 21st amendment is what I was talking about. Although this would perhaps bracket this particular issue out of the conversation considering they made a constitutional amendment to put the prohibition in place. This clearly shows that they did not consider this to be covered under the general welfare clause and believed it needed to be a Constitutional Amendment to take effect - passage of a law was insufficient.

Why do you suppose they thought it wasn't covered by the general welfare clause? It seems that it would be in the interest of the general welfare, and therefore within congress' power. They could have just made a law.

I don't pretend to know but I would guess two things:

1. They wanted it to carry more wieght than law and be much more difficult to overturn.

2. Their current (at that time) democratically deliberated understanding of the general welfare at the time did not include the notion of prohibition. Note that this hardly bears on the current discussion because the DOE is about inducements and capacity building, not restricting freedoms.

Quote Centinel:
Quote ah2:
4. Sure. That doesn't change the fact that when they sign on they agree to the general welfare clause which includes the ability to tax to carry it out. They openly forfit some level of sovereignty to be a part of the union - as do us all.

As I said, my contention is that when the states signed onto the compact, they believed Madison's claim that the general welfare clause did not impart any specific power. To now claim that the general welfare clause gives congress the power to enact any law they feel will improve the general welfare is a change in the ground rules.

You assume that Madison's writings were they only thing they had to interpret the Constitution and that they held the same understanding of Constitution that he did. Your entire argument here relies on the entire country having this narrow conception of the clause at the time of ratification. I don't really think it is that simple.

Quote Centinel:
Quote ah2:

5. Not only the Constitution but also federal law. The founders specifically granted the federal Congress the power to supercede State law. This was perhaps the most major shift from the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution and this is also which makes a hybrid between a Federation and a unified Nation-State and not a pure Federation as you seem to be implying in your posts.


Yes, federal laws made pursuant to the constitution are the supreme law of the land. The important part is "made persuant to". A federal law with no constitutional foundation is not a law.

And since these have constitutional foundations in the general welfare clause, they are legal. Glad we cleared that up.

Quote Centinel:

And I don't disagree that the current federation is a more centralized federation than under the ariticles. But our union is still a federation in that it is a compact among sovereign republics. The alternative to a federation is a unitary state, and our union is certainly not a unitary state. As I said before, the basic political unit is the component republics. They created the federation, and participate voluntarily. The federation is not sovereign. The constitution is only supreme as a condition of membership in the union, but any of the republics could, if they wished, reassert their sovereignty and withdraw from the compact at any time. That's what sovereignty means.

Saying it again in a different way does not make it true. The states have limited sovereignty and forfit a good portion of it to the federal government. For example, a sovereign nation would be able to enter in treaties (read contracts) with other nation states but that power resides at the federal level and the states are explicitly barred from doing so. I also don't find any constitutional basis for your claim that states canleave whenever they want. For a Constitutional literalist, you sure do make up a lot of stuff.

ah2
Joined:
Dec. 13, 2010 10:00 pm

"My point is that I am not opposed in principle to redistributive government plans, but I do oppose such plans being implemented by the federation, because such acts are outside its limited jurisdiction."

Actually I think this power is boundless. I've never seen a case where Congress (plus the Executive) pass a budget (tax and spend = redistribute) and the courts nullify it. The constitutionality questions only come up with the "can/can't" laws, as in "can segregrate public schools" or "can prohibit abortion," or more to the point acts like Americans With Disabilities Act and Violence Against Women Act.

chilidog
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/04/us/04scotus.html SCOTUS ruled that the money given for education can be spent anyway the recipient wants. What's the problem? That means in addition to parochial schools, [which is why the issue came up] maddrasses are allowed. It is up to your state, I still don't think PA is a bunch of flat earthers. Seems like a kkk charter school is ok, too. That is what a conservative supreme court gave it's 5-4 approval to.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

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When Eric Holder eventually steps down as Attorney General, he will leave behind a complicated legacy, some of it tragic, like his decision not to prosecute Wall Street after the financial crisis, and his all-out war on whistleblowers like Edward Snowden.

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