Congress: Just Vote the Constitution!
Posted on: January 24, 2011
By Tom Gow
“[W]e are going to put an end to the notion that the American taxpayer exists to fund the Federal Government.” — presidential candidate Ronald Reagan, July 1980
Several decades ago, one committed constitutionalist in Congress insisted that two groups were to blame for the huge federal deficits — Republicans and Democrats, or if you will, liberals and [even most] conservatives. Indeed, the leadership of both parties has long carried the socialist ball.
Unfortunately, most voters fall for the publicized partisan wrestling matches and fail to recall that, at critical moments, socialism has advanced through bipartisan cooperation or with the party in the White House (whether Republican or Democrat) taking the lead. As an example, the December 8, 1970 Los Angeles Times extolled the approach of a major socialist steppingstone toward nationalization of health care, noting in passing blatant bipartisan support:
“Before the next presidential election, Congress probably will enact some kind of national health insurance for most Americans, financed by an increase in Social Security. That was the significance of the 13-2 vote Monday by which the Senate Finance Committee approved a plan that would insure almost all Americans under 65 against catastrophic medical costs….. When the roll was called, however, committee conservatives and liberals went on record in support of the legislation. Democrats voted for it 8 to 1 and Republicans 5 to 1.”
2010 Republican Copout
With the November 2010 general election drawing near, Republican congressmen are looking to capitalize on voter dissatisfaction with the Obama administration. The newsletter of our local Republican congressmen carried the subtitle “Putting the Brakes on Spending….” Of course, a goal of merely putting the brakes on unconstitutional spending is purely defensive and, as Napoleon correctly stated, doomed to defeat.
The newsletter continued: “Historically, our federal spending has not averaged more than about 20 percent of our economy since World War II…. To help get our spending under control I recently co-sponsored legislation, H.J. Res. 79, that would amend the Constitution to ensure that spending by the federal government never exceeds 20 percent of our gross domestic product.”
H.J. Res. 79 currently boasts fifty of the House Republicans as cosponsors. Quite likely many of them are making similar claims to their constituents. To illustrate how Americans are being deceived, note how our local congressman opened his newsletter:
“Like many of you, I am extremely concerned about the long term impacts of Washington’s out-of-control spending….. Right now, Congress is budgeting for bankruptcy…. By the end of this decade, the CBO [Congressional Budget Office] estimates the public debt will grow to 90 percent of our gross domestic product (GDP). In comparison, Greece is on the verge of bankruptcy with a public debt of 112 percent of GDP.”
In fact, many Americans are downright angry over Washington’s excessive spending. Unfortunately, too many expect that Republicans will seriously champion those concerns. They don’t understand that Republican Party leaders, beholden to the Establishment, have no intention of returning America to limited constitutional government. Consider:
• A simple majority of either house can halt unconstitutional spending virtually tomorrow, whenever it has the will to do so.
• By contrast, a proposal for a constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds vote of both houses, a requirement that generally stops these proposals, and then ratification by three-fourths of the states. In addition, H.J. Res. 79 gives the states up to ten years to ratify the measure. Moreover, the limitations of H.J. Res.79 would not go into effect until the fifth fiscal year following the required state ratification!
So much for any urgent concern about out-of-control spending. In fact, just the opposite is the case. Close examination of this Republican “initiative” exposes once again the deception that we have genuine opposition parties. For H.J. Res. 79 embraces the obnoxious idea, so prevalent in the Democratic Party, that the taxpayer does exist to fund the federal government. The Republican caveat: The taxpayer shouldn’t be asked to shoulder more than he can bear — ostensibly 20 percent of GDP.
As so often, Republicans accept the socialist principles espoused by the Democrats and merely argue over increases in the amount of socialism, or in this case the amount of unconstitutional spending. But the Constitution does not authorize federal spending at anywhere near the levels of recent decades. Indeed, unconstitutional spending since World War II has piled up an incredible $13 trillion National Debt (not counting unfunded government liabilities such as Social Security). To enshrine a norm of acceptableunconstitutional spending that has been killing the American dream is not leadership — it’s capitulation!
The American people are repeatedly being scammed and whipsawed by the two-party system, which entertains them with promises of addressing problems, while the internationalist socialist agenda advances inexorably, regardless of which Party dominates.
Constitution Not At Fault
In addition to the recent H.J. Res. 79 proposal to limit federal spending to 20 percent of the GDP, the wearisome Balanced Budget Amendment ploy is also alive and well. The most prominent BBA proposal, H.J. Res. 1, currently enjoys a whopping 179 cosponsors.
Unfortunately, this phony Republican posturing is not innocuous. When these misleading amendment proposals go nowhere, as expected, the Insiders employ phony conservative leaders to use the inaction in Congress as the pretext for the worst possible scenario — a state-mandated constitutional convention dominated by the Insiders.
The “amend the Constitution” route is simply the wrong approach to curbing spending. It implies that the Constitution is at fault. But the Constitution is not the problem. If Congress followed the Constitution now, federal spending and the federal government itself would be a small fraction of their current size. So how would creating another constitutional provision for Congress to ignore curtail spending.
Instead of blaming the Constitution for continued, massive deficit spending, honest statesmen should recognize the serious structural damage done to our Republic by Congress in the early part of the last century. In 1913, Congress provided the means to fuel a huge unconstitutional bureaucracy with the Federal Reserve Act (creating a central bank to finance government debt by inflating the currency) and with the 16th Amendment (the income tax).
Even so, government didn’t dare use these two means aggressively until the American people could be convinced to look to government for help. And that required a crisis — the Great Depression. It was during the administrations of Franklin Delano Roosevelt that socialism in America really got off the ground.
Rather than the Constitution, or even Congress, uninformed voters responding to false leadership are the root problem. They have simply allowed the Insiders to take the driver’s seat in Congress through Insider control of the leadership of the two parties.
For Americans to obtain serious action from Congress, they must wean congressmen and candidates away from the party leadership and force them to vote the Constitution or find another job. We do not mean vote occasionally to limit spending, nor play at being a conservative by voting to reduce spending increases, nor pass the buck by supporting a constitutional amendment. We mean: Vote the Constitution.
Unrestrained Government Incompatible with Freedom
While the explosion in federal spending is no secret, Americans are still largely unaware that most of what the federal government does today is unconstitutional. Or that even the genuinely constitutional functions are often perverted for destructive purposes.
In an August 13, 1800 letter, Thomas Jefferson championed the limited role for our federal government authorized by the Constitution: “The true theory of our Constitution is surely the wisest and best, that the States are independent as to everything within themselves, and united as to everything respecting foreign nations….. [O]ur general government may be reduced to a very simple organization and a very unexpensive one, a few plain duties to be performed by a few servants.”
In a November 1802 letter while president, Thomas Jefferson further wrote: “If we can but prevent the government from wasting the labours of the people, under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy.”
A chasm has opened up between the Founders’ vision of the federal role and what the leaders of both political parties espouse today.
FY 2011 Budget Proposal
The Obama administration’s $3.83 trillion FY 2011 budget proposal widens that chasm. On February 1st of this year, several cabinet-level departments held press conferences to unveil their portions of the budget. Other department heads issued statements trumpeting their leadership.
Let’s look at some of the claims, starting with two of the newer departments — Education and Energy — both unconstitutional federal functions (a small, defense-related function of the DOE could easily be shifted elsewhere).
While campaigning for the presidency in 1980, Ronald Reagan promised to work to abolish these two departments. Once in office, however, his pledges were quickly forgotten. Those who understood the Insider grip on the presidency were not surprised. For the creation of these two departments were important hard-won Insider victories, and none of the Insiders’ lackeys in the White House would dare turn back the clock on these major socialist inroads.
Unfortunately, the bulk of voters were deceived regarding President Reagan’s commitment to roll back the size of the federal government. (Too few voters were told, for example, that in eight years as governor of California, Reagan more than doubled state spending. And most voters had bought into the Establishment-promoted image of Ronald Reagan as the great conservative leader, an image reinforced by his often outstanding conservative rhetoric.)
Continuing token Republican resistance has set the stage for the huge role for these departments that President Obama is now championing. At the February 1 press conference, Education Secretary Arne Duncan proudly announced:
“The [DOE] budget includes a 7.5 percent increase in discretionary spending for the Department of Education. It’s one of the largest increases ever proposed…. [The president’s budget] is investing heavily in education at every level from early childhood education to K to 12 reform to college access. It’s a cradle to career agenda.”
What a makeover of the role for our federal government! Even worse, behind the socialist pretense of serving the public thrives the real Insider agenda — consolidate power and destroy the potential of a strong middle class to block Insider plans.
Following in the footsteps of FDR, President Obama has seized the “opportunity” of a depressed economy to promote federal training and employment programs. The Duncan statement continues: “We have to educate our way to a better economy.”
Of course, the best way for government to help the unemployed would be to eliminate unconstitutional programs, stop the enormous deficits, and allow the private sector to flourish without the crushing burden of massive unconstitutional government.
Department of Energy
The Department of Energy was created as a cabinet-level department during the Jimmy Carter years, purportedly to end our dependence on foreign oil. However, along with the EPA, the Department of Energy has been an obstacle to serious domestic energy production, and our dependence on foreign oil is even greater today.
Here are the DOE’s first four “Strategic Objectives and High Priority Goals” as listed in its “Budget Overview”:
1. “Renewable energy: Double our electricity generation capacity from clean, renewable sources by 2012.” FFS: The federal government has no business or constitutional justification for designing and regulating America’s industrial growth. This non-solution diverts attention from the pressing need for government to allow private enterprise to develop major sources of energy.
2. “Electric vehicles: Support advanced battery manufacturing capacity to deploy 500,000 plug-in hybrids by 2015.” FSS: The federal government should not dictate the technological direction of our future, even if its motivations were pure, which they are not. Regulating Americans is the Insider goal, and creating scarcity and higher prices is the means.
3. “Energy efficiency: Accelerate an aggressive, self-sustaining home energy efficiency effort that will save energy and money for America’s families.” FFS: Americans should get angry. Why are we letting federal bureaucrats tell us what kind of weatherproofing is economically efficient for our homes? Or force us to use inferior, energy-efficient light bulbs containing “hazardous materials,” which government will insist on regulating?
4. “Nuclear: Provide technical and financial support to restart the American nuclear power industry.” FFS:Art Robinson’s May 2010 Access to Energy points to the “the great loss that America suffered with the federal government shutdown of U.S. nuclear power plant construction. This tragic and reprehensible policy continues today, except for a tiny government-controlled show-and-tell nuclear project recently announced for political purposes.”
In decades past, the Agriculture Department drew fire from constitutionalists primarily because of its price support policies and restrictions on farm production. However, the assumed mission of the Agriculture Department has expanded greatly. Secretary Tom Vilsack’s budget statement reflects the modern role:
FFS: What a relief to have a government that can support America! Unfortunately, there is no limit to the number of taxpayer-financed programs bureaucrats can dream up.
In the OMB Summary we are told that the USDA budget also “Strengthens Nutrition Assistance and Promotes Healthy Eating”: “Funding supports 10 million participants in the WIC program, which is critical to the health of pregnant women, new mothers, and their infants.”
FFS: According to the collectivist/socialist line, the people cannot do anything successfully for themselves without the leadership and financial aid of (federal) government programs. What hogwash!!!
Department of Health and Human Services
In her opening remarks at the HHS press conference, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius boasted: “We’re investing new funds in what I consider to be the backbone of the American health care system, community health centers….”
FFS: Does this mean that local communities no longer need to raise funds to build their own hospitals?
Sebelius continues: “On top of that, we have almost $1 billion in funding to strengthen and support our country’s health care workforce. We’re going to use the money to increase the capacity of nursing schools, help more low-income and minority students realize their dreams of becoming doctors, and ensure that America’s seniors can get care when they need it….
Our budget invests in the President’s Zero to Five Plan, a comprehensive strategy to make sure our kids get all the support they need during those years when we know their brains are doing most of their developing. It provides incentives and relief for parents to cover the cost of child care.”
There is no limit to government’s eagerness to help: “Often, [middle-class families are] also dealing with aging parents. Eighty percent of long-term care services are provided by family members, which is great for older Americans to be cared for by loved ones but can be financially and physically exhausting for the caregivers…. These [HHS] programs provide relief to family caregivers whether it’s … an adult day care center where they can drop a parent off for the day, or transportation to get the senior to the doctor or a store.”
We could go on and on, with department after department. But it should be apparent that what we have here is a Congress that refuses to uphold the Constitution. The result is a socialist monster that destroys our economic prosperity and lays the foundation for the extinction of liberty.
The Constitution does not need to be amended — it simply needs to be enforced.
Enforcing the Constitution
The Constitution will be enforced as soon as an informed public demands that Congress enforce it. But for the public to be truly informed, it must understand that a ruthless Conspiracy — the enemy of freedom — has a grip on the leadership of both political parties and that creating Big Brother government is the Conspiracy’s goal.
To build that understanding, new leadership that bypasses the controlled media is required. One of the objectives for a stronger Freedom First Society is to help the voting public develop intolerance for political compromise on the Constitution . In particular, the public needs to understand how far government has departed from the small list of specific functions authorized in the Constitution, many of which are enumerated in Article I, Section VIII.
Many more Americans must also understand the dangers that lie ahead if they do not organize under sound leadership to stop the Conspiracy from destroying our republic.
It will take organization to help the American people break the grip of the Insider-controlled party leadership on members of Congress and return genuine accountability to the voters. And it will also take organization to break through the Establishment’s managed news so that the public won’t be taken to the cleaners by politicians who give lip service to conservative principles, but follow the internationalist-socialist agenda, nonetheless.
The only realistic route to long-term economic health is to alter basic federal policy so that it conforms to the Constitution, and, in the process, break the the Conspiracy’s grip on government.
The American people can amply provide for their own wants and needs once they are able to retain the billions of dollars presently consumed by unconstitutional programs. And we can barely imagine what private enterprise will accomplish, if it doesn’t have to compete with the federal government for capital and cope with massive socialist regulation.
More than ever, it is time for America to budget for future prosperity by enforcing the Constitution.