The Minnesota Free Market Institute Weekly Update
Friday, May 29, 2009



Why We “Need” an Hispanic Woman on the Supreme Court.

The Obama administration and the progressive left is making
much of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor’s ethnic background and gender,
effectively making them relevant qualifications for the a seat on the Court.
Indeed, her comment — “I would hope that a wise Latina woman, with the richness
of her experiences, would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a
white male who hasn’t lived that life” – might come to dominate her confirmation hearing.

Predictably, conservatives have jumped on that remark, making
the point that the statue of Lady Justice is appropriately blindfolded, that a
judge is supposed to adjudicate the law as it is written, not make policy from the bench. Conservatives have resurrected their fidelity to the text of the
Constitution in the face of Sotomayor’s clear “living Constitution”
jurisprudence.

In those arguments, conservatives, as correct as they are,
are missing a key point: The ideal of federalism has changed. Federalism is no
longer thought of as a division of power between the federal government and the
states; federalism is now accepted as a balance of power among various interest
groups administered by the federal government. In that context, group
representation is power, and balance requires every group be represented. In
that context, we “need” an Hispanic woman on the Court.

In my Pioneer Press column
this week I wrote about interest-group liberalism – a political philosophy
accepted by both Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives and the
majority of Americans. Both left and right have accepted the two fundamental
principles of interest-group liberalism: Government is a positive force and a
champion of good, and virtually all interest-group demands are legitimate. What
that means is when push comes to shove, despite the rhetoric, Democrats and
Republicans are more interested in delivering for their constituencies than
standing on principle, the blindfolded lady notwithstanding.

Case in point: the “Job Creation through Entrepreneurship
Act” ensures benefits for veterans and small business – two conservative
interest groups. It also includes benefits for women and Native American
businesses and establishes a new grant program for Small Business Development
Centers. A little something for everyone. The bill passed the House 406-15.

Wouldn’t a truly neutral judge, based on the Constitution,
invalidate a law that used public funds to create private benefits for multiple
interest groups by expanding the federal bureaucracy and deficit spending? Yet
all but 15 Republicans voted for it.

The Sotomayor confirmation may well be beyond GOP control;
what GOP legislators vote for is certainly not. Eyes, beams and specks come to
mind.

Craig Westover is a Senior Policy Fellow at the Minnesota Free Market Institute.

A Good Time for a Pause in State Spending Spree

Both legislative leaders and opinion leaders have criticized
Gov. Tim Pawlenty for “not compromising” with the legislature-for refusing to
increase marginal tax rates. But as citizens are making do with less, it’s time
for state and local governments to do the same.

Let’s review a few of the ways in which the recession is
already affecting people in the private sector-that is, people who pay for
government.

We’re getting pink slipped. Nationally, unemployment is at a
25-year high, and the possibility statistic may increase is haunting everyone
who is not a government employee.

We’re taking furloughs. Companies that prefer not to lose
workers, especially highly skilled ones, are using furloughs. A survey earlier
this year by the firm Watson Wyatt Worldwide Inc. found that 17 percent of
companies had used furloughs. Some companies are using both furloughs and other
temporary pay cuts, together with layoffs, to survive the recession.

We’re watching our dollars and buying less. We’re shopping
less at Best Buy and more at Wal-Mart, replacing vacations with “staycations,”
and repairing consumer products rather than replacing them.

On the other hand, the recession isn’t so bad if you work for
government. That’s because it has been a tale of two workforces, one subject to
the vagaries of the market and the other not.

Read more of “A Good Time for a Pause in State Spending Spree”

John LaPlante is a Policy Fellow at the Minnesota Free Market Institute

Must Read
Millionaires Go Missing. Wall Street Journal Editorial.

The must read of the week is this article from the Wall Street Journal exposing how Maryland’s “soak the rich” strategy to create a special surtax on millionaires backfired when millionaires simply vanished from the tax rolls. Although some probably disappeared with paper losses in the market downturn, it’s entirely likely that made bottom line decisions to change their residency–something that’s easy to do if you have multiple homes in multiple states anyway, as many wealthy people do.

In Case You Missed It from the Minnesota Free Market Institute

Craig Westover

John LaPlante State House Call

King Banaian SCSU Scholars

David Strom davidstromshow.com

The Minnesota Free Market Institute Weekly Update is edited by Margaret Martin

The Minnesota Free Market Institute conducts research and advocates for
policy that limits government involvement in individual affairs and
promotes competition and consumer choice. By analyzing the actions of
the past and applying the enduring lessons of the free market, the
Minnesota Free Market Institute creates policy options for the future.
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In This Issue
Why We “Need” an Hispanic Woman on the Supreme Court
A Good Time for a Pause in State Spending Spree
Must Read
In Case You Missed it from the Minnesota Free Market Institute
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