Crumbling Constitutions

By Browne, John | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 11, 2011 | Go to article overview
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Crumbling Constitutions


Browne, John, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany ruled last Wednesday that the German financing of the Greek bailout did not violate the German Constitution. However, it did add a mild restriction that future bailouts must be pre-approved by Germany's Parliamentary Budget Committee.

Politicians, central bankers and bankers in the United States and the European Union must have heaved a huge sigh of relief. Their massive grasps for the money of their citizens can now proceed almost unimpeded under the pretense of democratic government.

Until last week, the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany had been seen widely as the last bastion of citizens' defenses against the power grabs of their highly privileged political elites. The court's capitulation to German strategic politics set an extremely worrying precedent for citizens' fundamental rights. It raised the question of whether national constitutions are worth even the paper on which they are written. Citizens who value their political and financial freedoms should be concerned deeply.

In recent years it has become clear increasingly how politicians are rewarded for supporting their governments. Through the abuse of the party whipping system we have what Aristotle termed the "tyranny of the parties." Democratically elected representatives of people become delegates of parties. When that fails, political positions, postings and other political goodies, such as pork-barrel government spending within constituencies, provide incentives.

There also is growing suspicion of other self-serving financial inducements. For instance, why does the EU need over a thousand secret bank accounts, all unreported and unaudited?

One has to look only at the condition of many major nations to conclude that this is no accident. Rather, a nation's situation is what it is because the political elites, whose leadership is swapped regularly between only two parties, want it that way.

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