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Restoring the monarchy: the American Legislative Council

Posted by Charles II on July 23, 2011

John Nichols has been spearheading an investigation of the American Legislative Council (ALEC), an organ of the corporate state founded by Paul Weyrich. Weyrich famously said that when people vote, the right loses.

So, here are some excerpts. Julie Underwood:

Public schools,” ALEC wrote in its 1985 Education Source Book, “meet all of the needs of all of the people without pleasing anyone.” A better system, the organization argued, would “foster educational freedom and quality” through various forms of privatization: vouchers, tax incentives for sending children to private schools and unregulated private charter schools. Today ALEC calls this “choice”—and vouchers “scholarships”—but it amounts to an ideological mission to defund and redesign public schools.

John Nichols:

Enacting burdensome photo ID or proof of citizenship requirements has long been an ALEC priority. ALEC and its sponsors have an enduring mission to pass laws that would make it harder for millions of Americans to vote, impose barriers to direct democracy and let big money flow more freely into campaigns.

Wendell Potter:

Click to read on

With Democrats in control of both houses of Congress and the White House in 2009, insurers assumed some kind of healthcare reform was inevitable, so they adopted a strategy to shape rather than stop reform. Its top five goals became:
§ Keeping single-payer proposals off the table;
§ Ensuring that the final bill contain a clause requiring all Americans not eligible for an existing federal program to buy coverage from a private insurance company;
§ Preventing the new law from establishing a government-run plan (the “public option”) that would compete with private insurers;
§ Making sure that the reform law is implemented primarily at the state level, to keep the federal government from assuming any significant new oversight of private insurers’ business practices; and
§ Keeping any new regulations and consumer protections to a minimum.
Insurers achieved their first four goals…

Lisa Graves:

Hundreds of ALEC’s model bills and resolutions bear traces of Koch DNA: raw ideas that were once at the fringes but that have been carved into “mainstream” policy through the wealth and will of Charles and David Koch. Of all the Kochs’ investments in right-wing organizations, ALEC provides some of the best returns: it gives the Kochs a way to make their brand of free-market fundamentalism legally binding.

Joel Rogers and Laura Dresser:

ALEC has long sought to limit the ability of states to raise or collect taxes or fees. Before this spring, it had already succeeded in getting more than thirty to adopt such limits, often hard-wired into their constitutions or requiring supermajorities to change. Its varied model legislation to this end includes the Capital Gains Tax Elimination Act, Use Tax Elimination Act, Super Majority Act, Taxpayer Protection Act and Automatic Income Tax Rate Adjustment Act.

3 Responses to “Restoring the monarchy: the American Legislative Council”

  1. Thanks for this, Charles. Amazing that an org which allegedly touts “states’ rights” wants to take away those rights.

    • Charles II said

      Yes. Jim Crow gave the Tenth Amendment a bad rap through its reliance on states’ rights. As the right has increasingly used the power of the federal government in an abusive manner, most notably in Bush v. Gore, the importance of states’ rights has become more apparent.

      The Tenth Amendment also has a little-noted clause about rights that inhere in the individual. I would argue that this includes voting, which the states may regulate but should not be able to prevent, since preventing any sizable number of citizens from voting amounts to a breach of the entire contract represented by the Constitution. But it also presumably underpins many other rights, such as the right to privacy from corporate surveillance ala phone hacking (the Fourth Amendment, like the rest of the Constitution, really deals with government searches).

      One wishes that the Framers had been just a tad more specific.

  2. […] of ignorance. On Thom Hartmann, Bernie Sanders actually said that he doesn’t know what ALEC is. How can anyone in Democratic politics not have heard of ALEC? And Bernie Sanders is relatively […]

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