Enact Obama's Wall Street Agenda ... or the Terrorists Have Won!

Stupid on display at HuffPo. But I repeat myself.

Linda R. Monk, J.D.:

It is entirely possible that al Qaeda exploited the financial bubble in the global economy to trigger the catastrophe on Wall Street and the global economy in 2008. Sophisticated trades involving airline stocks accompanied the 9-11 attacks, and al Qaeda has a financial arm that the U.S. government has been trying to shut down.....

That gives President Obama a very persuasive rationale -- national security -- for immediately enacting financial reform. If legislation continues to prove difficult, the president could issue a temporary freeze on derivatives by executive order. For those who still believe that unfettered markets can do no wrong, the unregulated intersection between banks and betting might be seen as too soft a target for terrorists. Economic security and national security are inextricably linked.

Of course, it's true that economic security and national security are related. It's also true that al Qaeda may have attempted to manipulate markets in the past. And it's also true that al Qaeda might try to do that in the future.

But, all signs point to al Qaeda's money well being fairly shallow these days. In other words, they probably don't have the financial power to actually affect the market. And there is zero chance that they had anything to do with the financial meltdown of 2008.

Further, what the hell?

If Congress won't reform Wall Street then .... President Obama can do it himself through executive order?

Linda R. Monk, the lady writing this, is a lawyer, so presumably her underlying Constitutional theory about Presidential capacity to single-handedly regulate the economy is ..... um, WTF?!?!

Even if we grant it that the post-New Deal Court's interpretation of the Interstate Commerce clause gives the government plenary powers to regulate all things commercial, that power specifically resides with Congress.

Art. I, Sec. 8: The Congress shall have power to .... regulate Commerce .... among the several States.

I'm assuming that she wants to grant Obama this power based on Presidential prerogative in national defense, and defending the nation from "sudden attack".

But even granting that the President might have power to close markets or take extraordinary measures should al Qaeda actually attack them (or, are about to attack them) how is a hypothetical that they could/maybe attack at some unspecified time in the future justify this much power in the hands of one man now?

Because I said so, shut up!

or, more precisely:

Because it's needed, so's your face!

Also,

I'm a lawyer!

In the days following 9/11 I heard a lot of hype and hoopla about unconstitutional and unwarranted powers being exercised by President Bush. Invariably when specifics were called for, those making the accusation would point to the USA Patriot Act; which, the last time I checked, was an Act passed by Congress. You know, that branch of government given the power to, you know, make law.

The accusations were also ahistorical, as most of what was passed under the Patriot Act were actually much less onerous than the wartime measures of, say, FDR during WWII. Like the allegations of possible [maybe] intercepts of foreign communications with Americans by the Bush Administration vs the actual interception of all foreign communications during WWII under FDR.

And in dealing with those powers specifically granted to the President under the Constitution -- like, how to conduct a war-- Bush was a tyrant for detaining or possibly mistreating illegal combatants. FDR, though, was alright for, um, executing them?

And I actually think that some of the arguments against some provisions in The Patriot Act have some merit to them, but I think those can be reduced to good faith disagreements over Constitutional or historical interpretation.

But there is nothing good faith about Monk's argument. It's a policy preference in search of justification.

I can't even begin to imagine HuffPo printing the same article, but instead of arguing for plenary economic powers in the hands of The One, a case was laid out in favor of George Bush taking over Wall Street.

In fact, where was Ms. Monk when the Bush Administration was pushing for reform at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae? Would the hypothetical threat of al Qaeda interference in the home mortgage derivatives market have justified the White House single-handedly overturning Congressional legislation encouraging the two semi (but now fully owned) government backed agencies from making risky loans to under qualified buyers?

Seriously, it's not just a bad argument it's insincere to boot.

You want policy X so badly that you are willing to come up with any asanine and convenient legal theory to back up policy X -- but only when the right politician is in power.

Also, I'll note that she adds J.D. to her name. It's a resort to authority. You see, if your argument is lame then you remind people that you have some kind of academic credentials.

Why do I have visions of Tracy Morgan goofing on Star Jones by including some reference to being a lawyer in every sentence.

I do it myself as a joke. It's insider ball, but I originally took on the personae of "Dr. Rusty Shackleford" when I was still in grad school and I was goofing on a buddy who the day he defended his dissertation changed all of his emails to "Dr. Leopold Stotch." Well, goofing on my buddy, and Glenn Reynolds.

But in any event the argument is a) lame b) pathetic c) I'll let this guy from Huffpo's comments have the last word:

I thought this was an Onion piece until I was partway through it.
Me too.

Oh yeah, the genius went to Harvard and wrote a book on the Constitution. Did I mention she's a lawyer?

Also, I have a Ph.D.

Posted by: Rusty at 02:08 PM

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