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On our way to St. Louis for a “night out” last weekend, my wife and I
saw a billboard sponsored by the Missouri Libertarian Party that read:
“Put government on a diet. Vote Libertarian in 2000.”
I’m not here to encourage you to vote Libertarian — or Democratic,
or Republican or Reform Party — this year or any year. How you
vote and who you vote for is your business, just so long as you do go
But this simple message — “put government on a diet” — is
compelling enough to warrant some serious consideration when you go to
punch ballots this fall. The motto is also simple enough to get one
basic message across to all of us, and that is that government these
days — at all levels — costs too much, tries to do too much,
and interferes too much in our lives.
It was never supposed to be that way. Art. 1, Sect. 8 of the
Constitution very clearly defined the role of the federal government via the congressional legislative process. As you read through that section, you’ll discover that there wasn’t much our founders wanted the federal government to “do for us.” They had effectively put the new government “on a diet.”
Yesterday, WND published a
story written by Timothy P. Carney, for Human Events magazine. In his article, Carney quoted several Republican senators criticizing Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore’s horrendously expensive plan for the projected budget surplus over the next decade.
“Calling Al Gore’s spending plans ‘expansive, expensive and risky,’ Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete Domenici, R-N.M., told reporters that the Democratic presidential candidate would add $2.6 to $3.4 trillion in new discretionary spending over the next decade, thus possibly exceeding the projected $3.3-trillion on-budget surplus,” said the lead paragraph of the story.
Indeed, Gore has plans to spend that much — and more — to expand current social and educational programs that already devour much of the annual budget as it is.
But what has Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush offered that’s much different?
For one thing, his plan includes a 25 percent tax cut of the expected $4 trillion-plus, 10-year budget surplus, and that’s good. But as I’ve asked before, where is the rest of that money going?
That’s right — it’s going into the expansion of current social and educational programs that already devour much of the annual budget.
Why? By what right do Gore or Bush have to spend this money at all — considering it is surplus money that the government ostensibly doesn’t need to begin with?
Furthermore, constitutionally speaking, where has the congressional and executive authority come from to create all of the federal programs that spend this money in the first place? In all the Constitution, there are no “redistribution of wealth” clauses that call for the creation of federal welfare, Medicaid, Social Security, education, health care, and foreign aid “departments” established for just two things — to exert control over our lives and spend our money on programs bureaucrats and politicians say are “needed.”
In all of the debates about what the major party candidates are going to do with an expected budget surplus — or even the federal budget without a surplus — not one of them is talking about cutting a damned thing. No programs, no “services,” no funding of the dozens of federal agencies, nothing — just spend, spend, spend. Both major parties. Both major candidates.
Yes, one candidate — Bush — is proposing less federal spending, and maybe that is a good start. But it’s not enough; there are no constitutional mandates for the kind of government uses of public funds under either party’s spending plans.
In Article 1, Section 8, the Constitution says, “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.”
But it doesn’t call on Congress to create all of these federal agencies to “promote” that welfare; if the founders had wanted dozens of federal agencies to “take care” of us, that sentence would not have contained the words “United States” but instead would have read, “and general welfare of the people of the United States.”
As that section states, Congress has a duty to collect taxes and excises for specific purposes. Most people don’t have a problem with that because it is necessary and it makes sense.
What our federal and state governments have grown into since 1787 however, is not only an insult to the founders but it is an insult to those who have to foot the bill for the whims, wishes, and vote-buying politicians really use the federal budget for.
If Americans don’t get serious about “putting the government on a diet,” sooner or later all of this cradle-to-grave “care” will be too expensive to maintain. It already is for many American families.
Think about that the next time one of these candidates implores, “We ought to be doing more to help (insert pet cause here).” Your first question should be, “By what authority say you?”