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Would the passage of such a law imply that the reverse were acceptable? I got to thinking about it because this is indeed how many people interpret the Constitution.

Article 1, Section 8 outlines the things that Congress may explicitly do. Article 1, Section 10 outlines the things that the state legislators may not do (with the implication that anything not written down is permissible). Now, when it comes to the powers of Congress in the realm of money, it is pretty clear that Article 1, Section 10 prohibits the state from printing paper money, “No state shall … emit bills of credit.” But since no such prohibition on the abilities of Congress lies in Article 1, Section 8, some people infer that the Constitution therefore permits the Congress to print money. Of course it does no such thing, as any reading of the Notes on the Constitutional Convention will plainly make clear.

Are there other famous examples that illustrate this line of reasoning?

4 Responses to “Wives May Not Beat Their Husbands”

  1. Harry says:

    Well, the Commerce Clause prevented Rhode Island from slapping a tariff on Connecticut furniture, but it never allowed the federal government to do anything and everything.

    It also prohibited any abridgment of free political speech, but it never gave the Feds any permission to censor unfavored people, or to put at the top of Form 1040 a special line to check to finance Thomas Jefferson’s media blitz, despite the drawbacks to Franklin’s printing business.

    And there were no powers to break windows to stimulate the economy, either.

  2. Harry says:

    I know that the Founders could not have contemplated what technology might bring in the next 200 years, but where does the Commerce Clause give the Feds any power to build and sell four-seated carriages, or to send money to windmill manufacturers, or to disgorge excess profits from the whale oil industry?

  3. Harry says:

    King George had every power he wished. He granted his subjects their right, subject to the will of parliament. People had no natural right to anything. However one may interpret the meaning of the Constitution, it was to get away from all that.

  4. Rod says:

    Tonight at our Upper Montgomery County Republican Club, we had several candidates for local office ask for our support, and it was refreshing to see them grilled on property rights issues — namely, whether or not they agreed that it was the township’s or borough’s business to demand money from developers before they would be given permission to build.

    One of the candidates, Red Hill Borough President Tom Paul (no relative of Ron and Rand), actually bragged that Red Hill’s finances were in swell shape because of the hundreds of thousands of dollars they collected from developers who had sought relief from unreasonable or unjust zoning and land development regulations. He said that those “contributions” from developers have helped forestall any tax increases.

    I asked Tom if he knew what a bill of attainder was, and I asked why the borough did not demand similar payments from all landowners in the borough. His answer was that the borough only makes these demands for land developments over ten acres, but if a person wants to build a home on one building lot, the council would waive any unreasonable regulations. In other words, the unreasonable regulations are just leverage by which the borough extorts money from property owners.

    When Tom took offense at me characterizing the borough’s activities as extortion, the president of our club, a civil engineer, jumped in and agreed with me and advanced the argument further. Then a realtor and a home builder joined in. A good time was had by all.

    There is hope.

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