Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

No One Can Be This Obtuse

My Congressman, Bill Sali, has an opinion piece in today's Idaho Statesman that explains why he's so opposed to Congress raising the minimum wage. His reason? It's unconstitutional. (No, I'm serious.) An excerpt:
Equally bad, the bill prescribes an action that simply can't be justified under the U.S. Constitution.
We all want our fellow Americans to live free and experience the American dream. Why wouldn't we want to see the lowest wage earners in society earn more? I do. You do. But I don't have the power to raise wages, because Congress doesn't have that power. It's not in the U.S. Constitution...
...That was the crux of my Jan. 10 debate on the floor of the House of Representatives. If we believe Congress has the power to determine wages, where do we go next? Why isn't Congress using its authority to bestow more goodness upon the American people? Because it would be unconstitutional.
As I read this, Rep. Sali seems to be implying that any action by Congress not specifically mentioned in the Constitution is, by definition, unconstitutional. I don't want to accuse Congressman Sali of being hypocritical, but I'm wondering where in the Constitution it says that Congress has the power to congratulate football teams, as it did via a resolution that he co-sponsored. Now, I'm not a lawyer like Mr. Sali is, but it seems to me that the part of the Constitution that says that Congress has the power to regulate commerce would seem to cover setting a uniform minimum wage among the several states. Legal precedent would seem to agree.

No wonder he didn't say anything of substance during the last few weeks of the campaign -- whenever he opens his mouth, he just seems to make himself appear even less qualified to be an effective representative in Congress than he already is. (Highlighting this was the fact that his side lost the vote on the bill to raise the minimum wage 360-45. Apparently, only about 10% of the House shares his views on this matter.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

ATTN: BubbleHead

the following also applies to the Congress (and Sali) -

"The United States brags about its political system, but the president says one thing during the election, something else when he takes office, something else at midterm and something else when he leaves."

a quote by Deng Xiaoping, Chinese Premier

~ the DD SS

2/18/2007 5:31 AM

Anonymous wolfwalker said...

The fact that Congressman Sali is a hypocrite doesn't mean he's wrong about the minimum wage.

The argument you linked at The Argonaut is not convincing. West Coast Hotel v. Parrish, the bedrock case in minimum-wage jurisprudence, dealt with a state minimum wage law, not a federal one. The fact that a state may regulate wages does not necessarily mean that the federal government can. There are many things a state government can do that the federal government can't.

2/18/2007 5:35 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Y'know, I've had a growing sense that DD SS was a Chinese agent. Thanks for the confirmation.

2/18/2007 5:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

attn: BubbleHead

Sali isn't the only fool serving in Congress

take a peek at Congressman Don Young (of the Bridge to Nowhere fame), who claimed to be quoting Lincoln -

"Congressmen who willfully take action during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs, and should be arrested, exiled or hanged."

the problem here is that Lincoln NEVER said it

~ the Dd Ss

2/18/2007 6:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

attn: BubbleHead

you and i are kinda alike

we highlight the things are leaders say and then ask the relevant questions

i wanna thank-you for your good work by giving you a gift (another quote):

"... We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories..."

Sincerely yours,

~ the Dd Ss

2/18/2007 7:02 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

That's a fair point; however, Congress has been passing minimum wage laws since the '30s, and with many groups opposed to them, I'm assuming that if anyone thought the "minimum wage laws are unconstitutional" argument had legal merit then someone would have filed a lawsuit by now.

2/18/2007 8:37 AM

Anonymous wolfwalker said...


Also a fair point. The same question can be asked about a lot of federal laws: if their constitutionality is doubtful, why hasn't anyone challenged them yet?

After a bit of research, I conclude the reason is that no one, especially not judges, really wants to deal with the resulting can of legal worms.

The federal minimum wage is written into the Fair Labor Standards Act. The language of that Act, and ensuing court decisions, utilize an incredibly broad interpretation of the Interstate Commerce Clause to apply the Act's standards to:

* any business that engages in interstate commerce (fair enough)

* any business that competes with a business that engages in interstate commerce (dubious, but defensible)

* and any business that could hypothetically engage in interstate commerce if there were no local suppliers for some items it requires (not defensible by any logical or legal argument I've ever seen)

Basically, that's all of them.

The same interpretation is used to justify a swarm of other federal regulations, everything from workplace safety to truth-in-advertising to anti-discrimination laws. They're applied to every business of any size, whether it actually engages in "interstate commerce" or not.

There seems to be a substantial amount of legal scholarship that disagrees with such a brobdignagian interpretation of the Commerce Clause. The problem is that no one in any branch of government, at any level, wants to deal with what would happen if that interpretation of the Commerce Clause was changed or struck down. The amount of damage it would do, the number of federal laws and regulations and programs and jobs that would be destroyed, the number of people who would be affected, is impossible to calculate.

2/18/2007 10:20 AM

Anonymous STSC(SS) said...


You keep dropping these vague quotes and facts, yet there is never a reference for their factuality.
I admire the fact that you are able to voice your dissention to just about anything posted here, but the way that you do it really grates on me (and apparently many others).
With your latest postings, I think I've decided that you're a 15 year-old kid, blathering about points you've read or seen on television.
By the way, in your 2/18/2007 0702 post, you meant to say "our", but said "are" instead. Just making sure you get the corrective criticism you need.

~ the STSC(SS)

2/18/2007 5:03 PM

Blogger loddfafnir said...

I give props here to wolfwalker for properly using the term "brobdignagian" in a sentence.

Ddumb Ssh**,
Take a peek at this.
Even wikipedia knows that when my congressman learned of his misattributed quote, he apologized for it while still agreeing with its sentiment. As far as our "Bridge to Nowhere", just sit back in your state that has probably had the benefit of over a hundred years(at least) of federal dollars for its infrastructure and don't come to mine.

2/21/2007 12:55 AM


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