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What do you want from government?

May 22, 2008

I’m sure you’ve heard more than enought of the rhetoric coming from those who would be the next President of the United States. I’m sure you have very probably already decided which one of them you dislike a little less than the other. I’m of the opinion that the two major parties are almost indistinguishable. So, if you vote for a candidate from one or the other, you are indeed merely selecting the lesser of two evils. But does it have to come down to which of the lesser of two evils you vote for?

If you accept as fact the two major political parties are merely two wings of the same diseased bird, it’s time to look for a new political home. But your search for the Promised Land must wait until you’ve answered the question “what is the function of the federal government?”

Yes, I know… the subject line reads, “What do you want from government?” I’ll get to that in a couple of minutes.

More than 200 years ago, a group of men with far more wisdom than I possess, agreed on certain principles that paraphrased, form the Preamble to the Constitution. Truly, those few words eloquently define in very broad terms the founding fathers’ intent in writing the Constitution.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America”

The Constitution defines in much more granular terms the intended role of government. One has but to read the Constitution to understand how far we’ve allowed our elected representatives to stray from the checks and balances imposed by the Constitution. Without our tacit approval, they could not have usurped power from the States and from we the people.

To get the flavor of what the founding fathers’ envisioned for our government, let’s examine a few of the more important Articles of the Constitution.

Article I deals with the Legislative Branch of the government. The powers of Congress are enumerated in Section 8. It is important to note that among the powers of Congress are: borrowing money on the credit of the United States, regulating Commerce, coining money and regulating the value thereof, to declare War and grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal. Section 9 defines the limits on Congress; among them, “The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.” Section 10 details those powers prohibited to the States.

Article II defines the Executive Branch of the government. Section 1 prescribes the Oath or Affirmation: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” (Do you remember any President actually living up to that Oath?) This Article also deals with removal from Office.

Article III details the powers of the Judicial Branch of the government. It is important to note that the Constitution does not grant any court the power to re-write law. The intended purpose of the courts was the interpretation and practical application of laws.

We need go no further in our examination of the Constitution to understand the limited government envisioned by the founders of our country. It should be obvious that we’ve strayed far from the intended path. So how do we reclaim the government created for us by the founding fathers?

We stop electing career politicians who promise to solve our problems for us.

When we’re asked the question “what do you want from government?”, the answer should be “only that which was defined by the Constitution.” But so often, we listen to rhetoric that promises things we hold near and dear.

Two generations ago, we were promised a retirement system – Social Security. The problem with that system is that those who benefited first paid nothing into the program. Their children and grandchildren paid for their “government pension.” Another problem with this system is that unlike a private retirement plan, your family can’t inherit your pension in the event of your death; it dies with you.

A generation ago, we were promised a welfare system that effectively rewarded people who simply chose not to work. I realize that it also helped many of those who genuinely needed help. Further, our elected officials promised free health care for the elderly. The result is over $40 trillion of unfunded mandates known as Medicare and Medicaid.

How does the government pay for all this? Remember, the government has nothing, so they can give nothing – unless of course they take from us (remember “We the people”) the fruits of our labor. And unless that same government learns how to drastically cut spending and trim some of those benefits, that group of working Americans  (“We the people”) will wind up with an 85% income tax rate on top of the sales taxes and usage fees we’ll pay.

So what do you want from government? Do you want them to solve your problems, or stay out of your business? Will you vote for the lesser of two evils? Or will you seek a different direction?

Until next time,

2 Comments leave one →
  1. goproots permalink
    May 29, 2008 1:09 am

    Why have we been led astray. Republicans have always been about NO NATION BUILDING. This president has moved our country deep in a hippie panacea of spreading peace to the middle east. The tax payers have contributed to bringing peace to Philadelphia, Dallas, Los Angeles and New York. Not Baghdad. If the same language was used by Bill Clitton we would reject the message. The fate of Iraq is not worth the lost future of our great country. There will be shortages of oil soon. Then there will be a shortage of food. Then there will be a shortage of consumers then we will fall. Fall not to any enemy strong enough to defeat us on the battlefield. But to our own huberous and greed to make the money while we can. How could this happen to us. Intelligent, responsible, and RIGHT. We deserve to lose this time around and hope the pheonix will rise ot of these ashes(trash). Lets hope we attract the best and not the worst among us. God Bless this Great Country. God Bless America.

  2. August 13, 2008 5:25 pm

    The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would steal them away. – Ronald Reagan

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