November 2011

Concealed Carry

By Tom McClintock on November 18, 2011

HR 822
House Chamber, Washington, D.C.
November 16, 2011

Today the House will consider HR 822, a long-overdue measure to assure that states recognize the concealed weapons permits issued by other states.

This very simple measure has unleashed a firestorm of protests from the political left. I noted one polemicist, who obviously has not read the Constitution, fumed that this is a Constitutional violation of states' rights enshrined in the tenth amendment. 

What nonsense. Article IV of the Constitution could not possibly be more clear: "Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records, and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof."

It is precisely this article that requires one state to recognize driver's licenses, birth certificates or arrest warrants issued by another state. Without it we are not a union but a loose confederation.

We are told it is "dangerous" and "risky" to allow honest and law-abiding citizens to exercise their lawfully issued permits in other states.

Upon what basis do they make this claim? Certainly not upon any empirical data.

Back to Basics with the Balanced Budget Amendment

By Tom McClintock on November 2, 2011

House Chamber, Washington, D.C.
November 2, 2011
Mr. Speaker:

The International Monetary Fund estimated that as of Halloween night, the debt of this nation surpassed its entire economy for the first time since World War II.  We all know that if you live beyond your means today you must live below your means tomorrow.  That’s the tomorrow that our generation has created for the children who were dressed up as princesses and cowboys when they came calling on Monday.  That is our generation’s eternal shame, and something that our generation must set right.  

The House is expected soon to vote on a balanced budget amendment that is critical to stop this plunder of our children.  There are a number of excellent proposals out there and I would have no trouble supporting any of them.  

I do rise, however, to express the hope that the final product of these deliberations proves worthy of the wisdom that guided the drafting of the Constitution. 

The beauty of the American Constitution is in its simplicity and its humility.  The American Founders recognized Cicero’s wisdom that “the best laws are the simplest ones.”  And they realized that they couldn’t possibly foresee the circumstances and conditions that may confront future generations and therefore they resisted the temptation to micro-manage every decision that might be made centuries in the future.  Instead, they set forth general principles of governance and erected a structure in which human nature itself would naturally guide future decisions to comport with those principles. 

In crafting a balanced budget amendment, we need to maintain these qualities. We should not attempt to tell future generations specifically how they should manage their revenues and expenditures in times that we cannot comprehend.  The experience of many states that operate under their own balanced budget amendments tells us that the more complicated and convoluted such strictures become, the more they are circumvented and manipulated.

Many have quoted Jefferson’s 1798 letter to John Taylor as support for a balanced budget amendment.  Here’s what he actually wrote: 

“I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government to the genuine principles of its Constitution; I mean an additional article, taking from the federal government the power of borrowing." 

What is a balanced budget? It’s simply a budget that doesn’t require us to borrow.  Then why not just say so, as Jefferson did?