Many of us have heard of the Constitution of the United States referred to as “The chains that bind government.”
Those “chains” have a “lock”. Unfortunately, those with intent to unlock this lock have had such great success that few ( including the Federal Judiciary) even understand, or recognize what the “lock” is.
The “lock” is Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. Article 1 Section 8 was written by James Madison. It lists everything Congress can spend money on. Everything. As in spending money from the U.S. Treasury on anything else has no Constitutional authority.
I find it a continuing source of frustration that those who are concerned about what the Federal Government is doing, don’t know that the answer for most of their concerns would be strict adherence to Article 1 Section 8.
Madison wrote an introductory sentence to Article 1 Section 8. Here is the famous quote: “and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States”.
Madison lived long enough to be the first to observe and comment on his introductory phrase ( which most certainly is not, according to its author, a “clause”) being referred to as “the General Welfare Clause” and thus used to rationalize spending money from the public treasury on matters not authorized by Article 1 Section 8.
He scolded the congressmen of the day (1820’s) telling them that if he meant his introductory phrase to allow spending of public funds on anything they desired, he would not have bothered to list the 18 specific powers of the Congress, including all the things Congress could spend money on.
Quite simply, if Congressionaly appropriated funds are not listed in Article 1 Section 8, they aren’t Constitutional. Now before you legal scholars out there hammer on me, yes I am aware of court decisions to the contrary.
However, we need not speculate as to the simple English of Article 1 Section 8. Nor need we ponder or speculate as to the intent of the author. We so often engage in circular arguments as to “original intent” of this, or that, section of the U.S. Constitution. Our 2nd amendment is well-known for these arguments.
As I stated above, Madison was still living and able to comment on the perversion of what he wrote. A perversion that continues virtually identically today.
Congressman Ron Paul (R. TX) leads a small group of U.S. Representatives ( less than 20 last time I checked) who both understand Article 1 Section 8 and vote accordingly. It is for this reason ( his criteria for voting for or against any given piece of legislation) that Congressman Paul’s nickname is ” Dr. No”.
It takes a while to comprehend the full implications of what the ramifications of Article 1 Section 8 would be if it were being followed. Well more than half of the federal budget would be gone!
No more Social Security, No more Medicare, Medicaid, FBI, CIA, NASA, USDA, EPA, OHSA. It’s a pretty long list. More than half of the “Blue Pages” in your telephone book gone!
BATFE? The U.S. Constitution and its first ten amendments compliment each other.The militia (the same militia in the 2nd amendment) is mentioned twice in Article 1 Section 8. Clearly, there is no authority in Article 1 section 8 for Congress to spend money from the public treasury for a department (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) to restrict an activity that is very specifically authorized to take place, namely “organizing, arming and disciplining the militia”. Oh yes, the militia (right now in 2007) enjoys a very specific legal definition and status. The citation is United States Code, Title 10, Chapter 13, Section 311. The 2007 federal militia is all able-bodied males 17 to 45 years of age and all female citizens who are members of the National Guard.
Not to worry! The odds of Article 1 Section 8 being followed by our elected representatives is about as likely as a foot of snow falling on Miami in July!
No dear reader, the lock was unlocked beginning in the 1820’s and has only been re-locked for short periods since. The attempts at lip-service can be quite humorous. For example “National Defense Student Loans”. Excuse me? What in the world does loaning money from the U.S. Treasury for going to college have to do with National Security? At the time this was enacted, the U.S. Congress still felt some need to comply with Article 1 Section 8.
It was 1958. We still had a living Civil War Veteran (John Salling, CSA, died 3/16/58). WWI Veterans were middle-aged men, still in the work force, Congress and the Senate. The world was a different place. Most U.S. adults were still literate. When Public law 85-864 was passed, they needed to justify their unconstitutional spending by making a connection to something that was Constitutional, thus, the National Defense title.
One of the more popular quotes I run across is the one about how democracies are short-lived due to the population electing those who promise the most benefits to the voters from the public treasury. We see this phenomenon in elections at every level of government with the Office of President being the worst offender!
History records the inevitable disastrous consequences of fiscal foolishness of nations. There has never been ( to the best of my knowledge) any nation in history to avoid these dire consequences.
If you think that electing “the right person” ( President, Congressman, Senator) will cure this, I’ll send the Tooth Fairy right over to grant you a wish or two!
I advocate that individually families make prudent preparations and work with local (up to county level) elected and appointed officials to make their communities better prepared to deal with any crises that may occur.
So, how severe could the consequences of an economic crises be? No, it won’t be a repeat of the Great Depression in the 1930’s. That U.S. of A. polite, hard-working, only a generation away from family farms, no longer exists!
The real foundation of preparedness is spiritual. We know from studying those who went through the P.O.W. camps in WWII, Korea and Vietnam that the men and women who had a solid spiritual belief system stood a far better chance of surviving that experience than those who did not.