CNN Anchor Questions If Gov't Should Really Be Limited Within Constitutional Powers

CNN's Ali Velshi apparently believes the idea of a federal government limited within Constitutional powers is a little far-fetched. He made his thoughts known in an interview with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) on Tuesday's American Morning, hours after Bachmann declared her candidacy for president during a GOP primary debate.

"Now, the fact is, when we have to change things in society, government has had to provide incentives to capital to move into certain areas. Think about energy, think about the environment," he told Bachmann.

"Do you really believe that the federal government should offer no incentives, should undertake no planning with anything that doesn't have to do with powers granted to them in the Constitution?" he challenged the congresswoman.

Not only does Velshi discount the thought of a limited federal government, but he seeks to frame those who believe in a Constitutional government as outside the mainstream. Liberals are quick to invoke the Constitution when the rights of terrorist suspects are at stake, but what might Velshi think of James Madison's description of the powers delegated to the federal government by the Constitution, "few and defined"?

Velshi's next question of Bachmann had to do with the corporate tax rates. He dismissed the Republican argument that corporate tax rates in America are higher than in the rest of the world.

"You know full well that, really, American corporations don't pay those taxes," he condescendingly argued to Bachmann. "So, on balance, American corporations are not taxed more than others."

Bachmann responded that the corporations simply don't escape the tax rates, but pass them on to the consumer. "Well, the taxes are paid as you know by the consumers in this country. So, those are the viewers that are watching you this morning," she retorted.

"That's why what we want to do is to be able to create all of the incentives that we can so we can have job growth in the United States," she added.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on June 14 at 6:37 a.m. EDT, is as follows:

ALI VELSHI: All right. You have said in the past that you feel very, very strongly – and this is before the Tea Party movement got started. You feel very strongly that government should be limited to what it is allowed to do in the Constitution. Now, the fact is, when we have to change things in society, government has had to provide incentives to capital to move into certain areas. Think about energy, think about the environment.

Do you really believe that the federal government should offer no incentives, should undertake no planning with anything that doesn't have to do with powers granted to them in the Constitution?

Rep. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-Minn.), GOP presidential candidate: Well, I think there's two very different roles of government. And one role that President Obama takes is a command-and-control view of the economy, where the government has a very heavy hand. The best example is Obamacare. Now, what's wrong with that, Ali, is the fact that under Obamacare, even the Congressional Budget Office says we will lose 800,000 jobs. That's something we can't afford in this economy.

That's why I subscribe to a supply-and-demand view of the free markets. I want to see job growth. We'll create hundreds of thousands of jobs under the free market as opposed to the command-and-control view of President Obama. That's the message I look forward to taking across the United States.

VELSHI: Congresswoman Bachmann, I enjoy having this conversation with you, because I know you know taxes better than possibly anyone standing on that stage. It's a constant Republican mantra that lowering taxes will create jobs and that America has some of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. You know full well that, really, American corporations don't pay those taxes. So, on balance, American corporations are not taxed more than others. How do we deal with that?

BACHMANN: Well, the taxes are paid as you know by the consumers in this country. So, those are the viewers that are watching you this morning. They pay those taxes because the corporations have to pass them on to the consumers. That's why what we want to do is to be able to create all of the incentives that we can so we can have job growth in the United States.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014