Happy President’s Day

Missing bench-

When I was in college and starting to take classes in economics and government, my dad and I got in several recurring arguments. My dad was a lawyer – more specifically, a criminal defense lawyer – and he was very interested in the technicalities of the law. I thought that they were only technicalities and he thought they were the very foundation and our arguments often swirled around the spirit of the law vs. the letter of the law. I have always been a lumper and a spirit of the law kind of guy – unless it was about me and I was trying to get something, I suppose – and my dad, by training and disposition, was a letter of the law kind of guy.

One of the examples he liked to give was a case that went to the Supreme Court. As I remember it – and I may be way wrong on the details, here – in the 1930’s the Federal Government passed a tax on checks over a certain amount, I think it was $50. To get around that tax, a guy wrote twenty checks for $49.99 and one check for $.20 to pay a thousand dollar bill. The IRS taxed him anyway and the guy sued, he lost and appealed, eventually the case worked its way up to the Supreme Court where he won.

My dad’s point was that even The Supreme Court believed that technicality of the law was all that anybody could go by and there was no such thing as the spirit of the law. My position was that there was a spirit of the law and the Supreme Court was wrong. I usually defaulted to Dred Scott v. Sandford in arguments like this, saying that Dred Scott proved how wrong the court could be, and around and around we would go.

One of the requirements of the The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is that businesses with over 50 employees must offer health insurance to full-time employees. I keep reading about companies changing employees to part time to get away from that requirement and I wonder What kind of selfish jerk would do that?

According to an article written by Dr. Clarence Lusane, entitled Missing from Presidents’ Day: The People They Enslaved:

George Washington’s stated antislavery convictions misaligned with his actual political behavior. While professing to abhor slavery and hope for its eventual demise, as president Washington took no real steps in that direction and in fact did everything he could to ensure that not one of the more than 300 people he owned could secure their freedom. During the 10 years of construction of the White House, George Washington spent time in Philadelphia where a law called the Gradual Abolition Act passed in 1780. It stated that any slaves brought into the state were eligible to apply for their freedom if they were there for longer than six months. To get around the law, Washington rotated the people working for him in bondage so that they were there for less than six months each.

I guess the answer to that What kind of selfish jerk question is the kind of guy who might become President of the United States, the kind of guy who might even become The Father of our Nation.


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