Posts Tagged ‘Federal government of the United States’

What is a “fair share?”

“We have a system that increasingly taxes work and subsidizes non work.”

~ Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize economist

Was Friedman forecasting today’s reality? In one tax year reported in the Statistical Abstract of the United States, millionaires earned 100 times as much as people earning $30,000, but paid 300 times as much tax. The top 20% of wage earners now pay nearly 70% of all income taxes, leaving 80% of Americans to pay the remaining 30%; 46% pay no income tax at all. Is this a progressive “fair share” income tax or is this a redistributive, punitive income tax? Our politicians are finally nearing their ideal of 49% of the voters paying all taxes and 51% paying none, the perfect re-election guarantee.

Does the federal government work for us?

“Politics is the art of making your selfish desires seem like the national interest.”

~ Thomas Sowell, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

More than 200 years ago, the states united and wrote a contract, the Constitution, creating an employee, the federal government; and that contract outlined specific tasks the federal government would perform for the states’ combined welfare.

However, in the early 1800s, the Supreme Court ruled that it alone presided over the Constitution and it alone would decide what the Constitution said. Is this what the Founding Fathers and the states intended? Did they mean for the Supreme Court to decide its own powers and those of the rest of the federal government?

Roe v. Wade – Did we get what we wanted?

Recently, parents successfully sued for “wrongful birth” because their child was born with Down syndrome, claiming if it had been accurately diagnosed early in the pregnancy, they would have chosen abortion.

With Roe v. Wade, did well-meaning people start us down an unintended path to a child being worthy of birth only if the parents find him or her desirable? Are we heading toward designer babies, babies who come with guarantees of perfection? Was this the intent of those supporting Roe v. Wade?

Unlimited power – Part IV

“If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull.” – W. C. Fields

Though I hope this quote refers to the following Supreme Court rulings, some might suggest it better refers to my assessment of the rulings.

After giving Congress the power to do whatever it determined was for the “general Welfare of the United States,” the Supreme Court had to wait 5 years for President Franklin Roosevelt’s next constitutional target, the opportunity to give Congress control within the states and control over individuals.

The beginning of the end – Part II

Three Supreme Court rulings changed our lives, making our Constitution near irrelevant. One gave the Supreme Court unlimited, unchecked power; the other two gave Congress unlimited power.

The first ruling created the concept of judicial review, which is the claimed power by the Supreme Court to have the final voice in all issues concerning the United States Constitution. This power is not granted it in the Constitution; moreover, it is not granted to any branch of the federal government. Why might that be? Why would such a critical power not be assigned to one of the three branches of the federal government?

The path to socialism – Part I

“We do not have socialism. We have regulated capitalism.” – ISJ reader comment

Is that true? Is it all or none? Or is the path to socialism a process so slow that each individual step is logical, masking the eventual outcome and encouraging inattention and indifference until it’s too late? More important, if we are not yet socialist, is our federal government still the limited government the founding fathers created with the United States Constitution?

Does it still respect state’s rights? Does it still respect individual rights and freedoms? Before answering, remember that this past summer the Second Amendment was upheld by only a 5-4 vote of the Supreme Court, a constitutionally guaranteed right only one political appointment away from revocation.

Sanctuary cities and Arizona

Among the limited powers of the federal government are matters of immigration and border security. However, the government seems unable to carry out these constitutional responsibilities, seemingly incapable of doing what the Constitution mandates.

The federal government has ignored illegal aliens for decades, President’s Hoover, Truman and Eisenhower the only presidents who seriously tried to solve the problem, Hoover during the depression, Truman following World War II and Eisenhower following the Korean War.

Since then, illegal aliens have poured across our southern border, essentially unabated. And as their numbers rose, “sanctuary” cities passed ordinances banning use of municipal funds to support federal immigration laws, in essence aiding and abetting illegal aliens.

Football and government

The federal government could learn a lot from professional football – teams competing with each other, each team doing all it can to win, referees ensuring they follow the rules, together part of a league whose owners have the final say on the rules and how the league works.

Our league is the United States of America and the teams are our free market system, individuals and companies competing with one another, doing all they can to win. The referees are our elected officials, there to ensure the competitors follow the rules. The head referee is our Supreme Court, appointed to maintain the integrity of the rulebook when questions arise. The rulebook is the United States Constitution.

Another price of ignoring our borders

Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said Arizona’s treatment of illegal aliens “violates inalienable human rights.” And Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderon, recently rebuked the United States Congress, saying Arizona’s illegal alien law is a “threat to civil rights and democracy.” When did living in a country illegally become an inalienable human right, a civil right?

Further, while chastising Arizona for trying to secure its border with Mexico, Calderon hypocritically tells people in his own country that the Mexican government has an “obligation” to secure Mexico’s borders. Moreover, the illegal aliens he wants to keep out don’t even want to stay in Mexico; they are just on their way to the United States.

Racism or common sense?

Reading about Arizona’s new law dealing with illegal aliens, I got the impression that Arizona had done something radical by requiring non-citizens to carry documents proving their legal status in our country. Not so. The new Arizona law only enforces existing federal law, the Alien Registration Act passed by Congress in 1940. Arizona is only enforcing federal law the federal government refuses to enforce. This is an act of necessity, of common sense and is Arizona’s latest attempt to deal with 450,000 criminals in the state. Remember, illegal aliens are criminals, not undocumented immigrants.

It’s our choice

“The real problem is in the hearts and minds of men. It is easier to denature plutonium than to denature the evil spirit of man.” Albert Einstein

Larry Echohawk, the assistant secretary for Indian Affairs at the U.S. Department of Interior, recently commented on the mistreatment of the “first Americans” by the United States government. Mr. Echohawk described “very dark chapters” of United States history, including “government atrocities against the Indian people.”

Because of the strong emotions that accompany such statements, exploring these remarks could lead us through a bed of hot coals. But, it’s worth the risk because this topic deserves more discussion.

Who really has the power?

“The United States Constitution has proved itself
the most marvelously elastic compilation of rules
of government ever written.”
                           –President Franklin Roosevelt

 

Did the founding fathers create a “marvelously elastic” Constitution as Roosevelt suggested?  No, they created the antithesis, granting their new government limited powers, enumerated to prevent it from evolving into another all powerful government.  Remember, they feared the very government they were creating, feared it would grab unlimited power just like the ones they left in Europe.

Who has the power – government or “we the people”

“I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article
of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress
of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money
of their constituents.”
                   –James Madison, 4th U.S. President
                   father of the United States Constitution

 

How does Congress constitutionally justify spending money on anything it chooses?  What happened to Article V of the Constitution which requires agreement of 2/3 of each House of Congress and approval by 3/4 of the states to change the Constitution?  In fact, why would we even need Article V if Congress has unlimited powers?

How to finance the U.S.S.A.

What did the Founding Fathers design our government to provide?  Did they design a limited federal government to provide safety, freedom and opportunity?  Or did they design a socialist welfare government to take care of our every need with unending entitlement programs?

The Constitution of the United States calls for a limited, subservient federal government, leaving to the individual the responsibility of what to do with their freedom and opportunity.

For decades, often with Supreme Court sanctioning, our government has quietly and methodically transitioned us ever closer to socialism.  The current government is doing nothing new; they are just accelerating the process.

Is the government the new “company store?”

How well does the government manage our money?  Do our elected leaders spend it responsibly and frugally, as they should?  Sen. Charles Schumer answered these questions saying, “Let me say this to all the chattering class that so much focuses on those little, tiny, yes, porky amendments:  ‘the American people really don’t care.'”  He was speaking about the wasted spending, the pork, in the $787 billion stimulus package.  How much of the $787 billion actually stimulates the economy?  According to the Wall Street Journal, only 12 percent “is for something that can plausibly be considered a growth stimulus.”

Who are the ‘real’ terrorists?

The editorial page cartoon in the April 27, 2009, USA Today showed Uncle Sam saying, “Will you ever stop torturing me,” while he is whipping a helpless terrorist strapped on a table. 

Just last week the oppressed, benevolent Taliban beheaded three more people in Pakistan.  On Sept. 11, 2001, they intentionally targeted and murdered over 3,000 American civilians.  And since then over 3,000 American military personnel have given their lives in service to their country.  Is it a bit repugnant to mock these American deaths? 

Socialism or democracy – we choose

Who should pay taxes and how much of their income should they pay in taxes?  What is fair?  Should everyone pay the same percentage of their income in taxes, or should the percentage increase as their income increases?  If everyone paid the same percentage of their income in taxes, the more you earned the more taxes you would pay.  That seems more than fair.  Our government thinks not.  Our government believes those who earn more should pay not only more in total taxes but also pay a higher percentage of their income as well. 

Who should pay to rebuild following natural disasters?

Did our Founding Fathers intend for the government to take care of us when a disaster strikes?  Is the federal government the correct resource for disasters?  Is managing the aftermath of disasters a Constitutional responsibility of the federal government?  Do individuals or local communities have any responsibility?  Is the government the most efficient and cost effective entity to offer aid to communities and help them rebuild?

We need to return to a citizen government

Our Founding Fathers believed serving as President or in Congress was a duty to country, a sacrifice for country, a calling. They did not anticipate Congress becoming a career choice with members subservient to the power of the incumbency and the money it attracts. Rather, the Founding Fathers intended a weak federal government, subservient to much stronger state governments that served a powerful citizenry.  Thomas Jefferson resisted all attempts to foster a strong federal government, adamant the power must rest with the people.  What went wrong?  Does the power rest with the people, as it should?  Does Congress do the peoples’ work?  The movie Charlie Wilson’s War explains how well Congress tends to the people.  Asked by a political activist, “Why do congressmen talk so much and do nothing,” Charlie Wilson responded, “Tradition mostly.”  The Founding Fathers intended a citizen government, run by people like you and me, serving our country, doing the peoples’ work, and then going home.

Civility in presidential politics

Will civility ever return to presidential campaigns?  Is it reasonable to hope for respectful debating?  Or, are we obliged to accept the mudslinging as a given in politics?  What would our founding fathers think if they were to witness one of today’s presidential campaigns?  Would they be impressed or would they be embarrassed?  Can we ever return to the ethical debating they so prized? 

ABC declared 2008 the “dirtiest presidential campaign in history.”  With estimates of the cost of this year’s election exceeding $1 billion, will the candidates see a choice other than negative campaigning?  There is no second place.  “The art is to damage your opponent without getting caught doing it,” said Rob Shealy, a campaign strategist who was convicted for violating campaign laws.