The "Gang of 12" is unconstitutional--period

At The Foundry yesterday:

The newly formed Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction holds its first meeting this week. The 12-member panel will gather at 10:30 a.m. Thursday for an organizational session, then meet again on Sept. 13 at 10:30 a.m. for a hearing on “The History and Drivers of Our Nation’s Debt and Its Threats.”

The committee is chaired by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and tasked with the goal of finding $1.5 trillion in savings to reduce the federal deficit. It’s not an easy goal, made even more challenging by the bleak future facing America.

The problem is Washington’s addiction to spending. For far too long both Republicans and Democrats have expanded government a pace that now threatens prosperity. Future generations of taxpayers are now on the hook for increasing levels of debt. The amount of debt per citizen will soon skyrocket...

Brian Darling, a senior fellow for Government Studies at The Heritage Foundation, wrote recently:

....The congressional Super Committee on the budget needs transparency.  It should operate with input from the American people.

The 12-member Super Committee was created as part of the legislation raising the debt ceiling.  It has been charged with finding $1.5 trillion in savings over the next 10 years.  Officially known as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, it was set up for the purpose of providing “recommendations and legislative language that will significantly improve the short-term and long-term fiscal imbalance of the federal government.”

To provide transparency and to allow the American people to participate in this very important process, a few actions should be taken by the Super Committee.

First, each committee in the House and Senate are mandated by law to transmit recommendations to the Super Committee by Oct. 14.  All of those recommendations should be shared with the American public.

Next, there is no provision in the law mandating that the American people get to attend hearings or participate in the legislative process before the final report of the committee.  At a minimum, a draft of the final proposal should be shared with the American public before the committee’s final vote in late November.

The hearings should be public.  The law says that the Super Committee “may” hold hearings.  The law does not force transparency on the members of the committee.  Yet this legislative process needs to be open to the public to allow the American people to participate.  Secret meetings and closed-door negotiations have no place in politics today.

No kidding.  Unfortunately for Heritage, though, this kind of discussion merely legitimizes an idea that has no legitimacy to begin with.  They need to take a few courses from this guy:

As Santayana famously said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."  What happened to SPQR? The Roman Republic devolved into the Roman Empire but the Roman Senate was kept around for show, to lull folks who weren't really paying attention into thinking things hadn't fundamentally changed.  Seem familiar?

Just sayin.'