On Corker's Bill to Limit Trump's Tariff Authority: We have fallen into the Upside Down World

On Corker's Bill to Limit Trump's Tariff Authority: We have fallen into the Upside Down World

I was struck by this headline from a CNN article yesterday:

Trump angrily tells Republican Sen. Bob Corker to back off trade bill

Yes...I know that CNN is Fake News, but I found this story fascinating and illuminating as to how far we have strayed from what the constitutional framers envisioned as a tripartite governing structure of co-equal branches and towards the monarchical form they detested.

Exhibit 1 is what the constitution says about tariffs: 

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises...
— US Constitution, Article 1, Section 8

The Constitution is quite clear, in Article 1 for goodness sake, that Tariffs (Excises) are the domain of Congress. And yet Trump unilaterally is imposing tariffs as he sees fit.

To be fair, Trump is not the first President to usurp this authority. Congress has been ceding this responsibility, as well as a host of others (I'm looking at you, War Powers), to the Executive Branch for generations. The slippery slope Congress has gone down of abdicating responsibility has lead us to this point.

So here we are. Senator Corker's bill would require lawmakers to approve of trade actions by the President that are done on the grounds of national security.  In other words, it only looks to review - not originate - these tariffs. And even this timid step towards regaining some of it's constitutionally mandated role is dismissed (angrily, I might add) by Trump.

As reported in the article, Trump called Corker to personally tell him to stand down on this initiative.

President Donald Trump told the Tennessee Republican in a “lengthy” call Wednesday to back off legislation to rein in his power to levy huge tariffs on US allies

And, though Corker promised to stay the course, this legislation has almost zero chance of passing.

You would have to pass a law that he would want to sign into law and that, that would be what it would take. You can do the math on that.
— Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House

Bad craziness.

Tuesday Afternoon at The Biltmore

Tuesday Afternoon at The Biltmore

I think this is why they call them the Smokey Mountains