The Root of All Evil

In this update: 1. The only issue 2. “A solution in search of a problem” 3. Déjà vu all over again The Root of All Evil

Email date: 8/29/12

In this update:
1. The only issue
2. “A solution in search of a problem”
3. Déjà vu all over again

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The only issue
Our country faces mammoth problems with the economy, education, the environment, health care, perpetual wars, mounting debt and so much more. But all these problems have one thing in common – the root from which they grow. The latest entry on our Big Money Blog takes a whack at that root. Yesterday The Capital Times republished the commentary online and it appears in today’s print edition.

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“A solution in search of a problem”
Despite the fact that two trial courts have declared Wisconsin’s new voter ID law unconstitutional, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen wants to bypass the appeals court and have the state Supreme Court take up the case and reinstate the law for the November general election. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel took a dim view of Van Hollen’s antics in an editorial entitled “A solution in search of a problem.” The state’s largest newspaper concluded: “Voting is a fundamental right in a representative democracy. Our history is littered with base attempts to deny the vote to selected classes of people. Voter ID is one more example.”

Even if the state’s highest court grants Van Hollen’s wish and immediately blesses the law, that doesn’t necessarily mean the law will be in effect for November’s election. There is a separate legal challenge being heard in federal court and on October 10 the judge will consider a request for a temporary injunction blocking implementation of the law. If granted, the federal injunction would trump any state Supreme Court action.

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Déjà all over again
Nearly 2,000 years ago the Greek historian Plutarch reflected on the Roman Empire: “The abuse of buying and selling votes crept in and money began to play an important part in determining elections. Later on, this process of corruption spread to the law courts. And then to the army, and finally the Republic was subjected to the rule of emperors.”

Which brings to mind a much more famous observation by Spanish philosopher George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”