A little over a year ago, U.S. Representative Michael Turner introduced H. J. RES. 57, proposing a constitutional amendment designed to protect capitalism from federal government control.
About 40 percent of Republicans in the House withheld their support from the amendment. They didn’t necessarily oppose Turner’s amendment, but they didn’t help it along, either.
Why withhold their support? Perhaps the reason was that the proposed amendment contains a fairly large loophole: So-called “investments”. The proposed amendment reads:
“The United States shall not own, subscribe to, or otherwise have any interest in the stock or equity of any company, association or corporation: Provided, That the foregoing prohibition shall not apply to any public authority or to any public use corporation, or to any investments through any pension funds.”
Could this loophole be used to put immense amounts of government money into private companies through the Social Security program? Sure it could. In fact, such a scheme is probably what that final clause was intended for. Republicans have long planned to funnel money from public Social Security funds into Wall Street investment accounts. Imagine what would have happened to Social Security over the last couple of years, when the world of finance caught the flu, if they had succeeded.
It turns out that the constitutional amendment was unnecessary in any case. Even without the amendment, capitalism survives. Was capitalism truly such a fragile thing that it needed a new government regulation to ensure its survival? Hardly. Now, thanks to the Supreme Court, corporate spending to buy chunks of our federal government is nearly impossible to restrain.