Archive for August 18th, 2009

Do We Really Need Checks and Balances?

Conventional wisdom dictates that, if the Founding Fathers did something, then it must be right (unless it involves having sex with your slaves). As Josh has been outlining, though, this may not be the case.

Checks and balances are particularly revered as one the Constitution’s best features (unlike those parts we give the Founders a mulligan on). They are considered both brilliantly realist and especially democratic. Checks and balances are said to maintain a government “of the people” while simultaneously preventing demagoguery and a concentration of power. As Madison says in Federalist No. 51: “Ambition should be made to counteract ambition…. You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”

Problems only arise when you want the government to, you know, do something. Like fix health care. Continue reading