A self-righteous husband structures his will so that his widow, if she remarries after his death, cannot benefit from his estate. So it goes with the North Carolina Senate, proposing constitutional amendments constraining tax policy for all time, a ploy imposed by a Senate drunk on government power despite declaiming how earnestly they want to reduce it.
Constitutional amendments ought rightly to be considered only after thoughtful, exhaustive debate, a prerequisite not observed on Jones Street since the initiative came to light. Promoters of the amendments shield themselves behind a statewide plebiscite, their gold standard of authority. Actually it’s fool’s gold because a vote of the population, historically around 30 percent of registered voters, stands more as a record of fervor than of statesmanship, and it’s diluted even further by abstention of those many good citizens not registered to vote but whose well-being is at stake.
To gauge the legitimacy of a popular vote, we need look only as far as the Defense of Marriage Act, which passed with a 60 percent majority yet has already been set aside as unconstitutional.
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If the Senate wants less government, it should govern less and trust its successors to do likewise.