Is the Bailout Bill Constitutional?

Here’s a question you’re not supposed to ask:

Wall Street Strip

Is Paulson’s bailout bill unconstitutional?


Henry Paulson. Click image to expand.Does the Constitution have any role in the intense debate and blowback surrounding Secretary Henry Paulson’s $700 billion bailout proposal? There is nothing in our founding document that prohibits taxing Peter (us) to pay Paul (Wall Street). There are constitutional principles, however, that speak to values such as oversight and transparency. Our system of checks and balances abhors a blank check.

And yet Secretary Paulson’s proposal contains a sweeping provision that utterly strips the courts of any power to review his decisions. Section 8 of the Paulson proposal reads: “Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.”

read the whole thing here.

I do have a quibble with this statement: “There is nothing in our founding document that prohibits taxing Peter (us) to pay Paul (Wall Street).”

I think a fair reading of the “General Welfare Clause” based on the intent of the Founders would prohibit taxing Peter to pay Paul. But I’ll conceded that unfortunately our Courts and politicians no longer hold the General Welfare Clause to be a limitation on government, but rather see it as the justification for unconstrained powers.

One Response to “Is the Bailout Bill Constitutional?”

  1. JB Prize Says:

    Anybody with a basic understanding of the constitution should ask this fundemental question:

    Since when is it constitutional for public servants to use taxpayer money to influence the success or failure of our companies or to intervene in a consensual contract between citizens and their lenders?

    How about using the constitution to stimulate our economy?

    For example:Appealing the 16th amendment which allows congress to lay and collect taxes on our income in whatever way they choose.

    Let’s think this through. Our public servants know how much we make and where we work. Who even tells their own family or friends how much they make? This is a direct violation of the fourth amendment (privacy of records).

    We need to appeal this violation of our constitution and go back to our government collecting taxes via excises and tariffs making foreign products less lucrative and ending this massive outsourcing of jobs.

    Simple solution, constitutional, huge change!

    JB Prize

Leave a Reply