Posts Tagged ‘United States Congress’

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?

Gun control – the wrong discussion

“Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories.”

~ Thomas Jefferson, 1781

A Connecticut man murdered 20 children and 6 adults, gun control proponents again advocating that disarming law-abiding citizens will solve the problem. And though I believe their logic is folly, we still need a reasoned debate on the issue.

But, lest we forget, gun ownership is still a constitutional right; it is not a constitutional privilege; it is not a governmental privilege; it is not a presidential privilege. The Constitution does not allow the federal government to “evolve” the Constitution to address perceived changing times and needs. It must have the permission of “We the People” in the form of an amendment for change to occur.

“Other people’s money”

“Socialist governments do traditionally make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money.”

Margaret Thatcher, British Prime Minister, 1979 – 1990

She added, “. . . They’re now trying to control everything, . . . reducing the choice available to ordinary people.” Does this sound like our government since the 1940s when President Roosevelt’s Supreme Court gave Congress the unconstitutional power to spend unlimited amounts of “other people’s money” for the “general Welfare?”

Reclaiming the Constitution – Part V

In 1804, the United States Supreme Court claimed absolute control over the Constitution, declaring only it could decide the Constitution’s meaning and neither the president nor Congress could overrule it. More than 100 years later, through sheer intimidation, President Franklin Roosevelt got the Supreme Court to use this control to give Congress powers not in the Constitution.

In 1937, the court changed the meaning of the “general Welfare” clause, allowing Congress to do anything it deemed needed for the “general Welfare.” In 1942, ignoring the meaning and intent of the commerce clause, the Supreme Court ruled that anything an individual or company produces or purchases, even if only sold intrastate or if only for personal use, can be regulated by the federal government because it impacts “commerce among the several states.”

Unlimited power – Part III

Since ratification of the Bill of Rights in 1791, the Supreme Court has found a constitutional answer to every case brought before it. Doesn’t it seem unlikely that a document prepared in the 1700s could address all issues for more than two hundred years? We currently have nine justices, none elected by the people, all appointed to their office for life, who claim absolute control over the United States Constitution. Is this what the founding fathers and the states intended? With their fear of government, why would they give unchecked power to any branch of the federal government?

Where are you from?

The other day a friend and I were talking about immigration. He immigrated to the United States, is an American citizen but never refers to himself as a something-American, a hyphenated-American; he is just an American. My great-grandfather emigrated from Prussia in 1852. And like my friend, I don’t consider myself a Prussian-American; I am just an American.

My friend says people occasionally ask him where he is from, the question suggesting to him that they think he is a hyphenated-American with divided loyalties. Perhaps his mild accent or foreign sounding name prompts the question. But might I be asked where I am from if my last name were Gerbeling or if I had a German accent?

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.

Fundamental rights of Americans

The government, determined it knows what is best for us, continues expanding its role beyond its constitutional authority. It has little need for the Constitution because over 60 years ago the Supreme Court ruled that the founding fathers erred and actually meant for the general welfare clause of the Constitution to be a specific enumerated power of Congress, in essence granting Congress unlimited power.

Do you think the founding fathers really intended for the government to do anything it deems needed for the general welfare of the country and to tax us whatever needed to pay for it?

It’s our Constitution

Contrary to the wishes of Congress, the Supreme Court and the lower courts, “we the people” in our capacity as jurors and state legislators have the power to nullify laws we find unconstitutional.

Did the founding fathers opine on this power? In 1790, James Wilson, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and one of the original six Supreme Court justices said, “Suppose . . . a difference of sentiment takes place between the judges and the jury with regard to a point of law . . . . What must the jury do? The jury must do their duty . . . . They must decide the law as well as the fact.”

Supreme Court – Constitutional guardian or Guardian Council?

Does the  Supreme Court submit to the authority of the United States Constitution, as it should?  Or, is it complicit with Congress, functioning beyond its constitutional powers?

In 1803, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Marshall, trying to preserve the checks and balances in the Constitution said, “To what purpose are powers limited, and to what purpose is that limitation committed to writing, if these limits may, at any time, be passed by those intended to be restrained.”  He was addressing Congress, explaining that Congress could not decide if a law it passed was constitutional, that checking power reserved for the Supreme Court.

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.

Spending the people’s money

“Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal

 with a big appetite at one end and no sense of

 responsibility at the other.”

                                 − Ronald Reagan

 Is it an appropriate use of taxpayer money to fund a “tattoo removal violence prevention program,” a Sparta Teapot museum, a program to communicate with extra-terrestrials, the Pleasure Beach water taxi service, a Waterfree Urinal Conservation Initiative and a swine odor and manure management program?  Moreover, where in the Constitution is the power for Congress to spend our money this way?

The healthcare agenda

Why is the government continuing to push healthcare reform, ignoring, dismissing and disparaging anyone who disagrees?  Why have so many members of Congress refused to have town hall meetings during the August recess?  Why are they afraid to face us, their employers?

Even if we ignore the United States Constitution and agree that healthcare is a constitutional right, is government control the answer to the current failed healthcare system of state and federal programs, private programs and employer sponsored programs?
The government is convinced it can competently run the healthcare system.  But, can it?  It runs the nearly bankrupt Social Security program, the nearly bankrupt Medicare program, and just last week admitted it underestimated the deficit by a mere $2 trillion.  Not much of a track record.

Is it too late?

Is it too late for the United States of America?  Are we doomed to follow the timetable Sir John Glubb outlined in “The Fate of Empires,” surviving about 250 years?  Or, are we different from the failed empires he studied?  The outcome is our choice. 

We are unique among the nations of history.  We designed our own form of government, a government so unique that it was viewed as an experiment. 

The czars of the U.S.S.A.

In his inaugural address of 1801, Thomas Jefferson near-prophetically described our current government saying, “Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the form of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.”

President Obama has appointed about 30 czars, claimed advisors who report to him and do his bidding; none appearing before the United States Senate with its constitutional role of advice and consent.

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.”

Role of the Supreme Court?

A Justice of the United States Supreme Court is retiring.  A chance to re-shape the court.  A chance to change history.  Wait a minute.  Don’t the above statements suggest the United States Constitution is flexible, open to interpretation, no need to amend it? 

Dare I suggest the primary role of the United States Supreme Court is to preserve and protect the integrity of the United States Constitution as written and intended by the Founding Fathers?  And isn’t Congress the only branch of government given the authority to propose amendments to the Constitution, as prescribed in Article V? 

The Socialist States of America

Sir Winston Churchill  said, “(Socialism’s) inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”  To this Margaret Thatcher added, “The problem with socialism is that at some point you run out of other people’s money.”  Shared misery and not enough “other people’s money.”  Doesn’t that sound like the agenda the United States Congress has for us?

Congress unashamedly follows the advice of socialist Norman Mattoon Thomas who said, “The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism.  But, under the name of ‘liberalism,’ they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”  

Can we tax our way out of irresponsible debt?

 Congress believes irresponsible debt and spending is needed to rectify the problems created by irresponsible debt and spending. Further, it believes raising taxes to pay for its irresponsible debt will actually stimulate spending.        

My father was raised on a farm in eastern Nebraska, sheltered from this unique congressional economic theory. He lived through the Great Depression, served in World War II, raised four sons, and never took a class in economics. Instead, he learned a simple, common sense, outdated, obviously flawed economic theory.  

What should we ask Congress?

Last week President Obama reprimanded Wall Street CEOs’ for their outrageous salaries and spending, saying they must show “restraint and responsibility.”  Should he have admonished Congress instead, because it puts Wall Street executives to shame with irresponsible spending?  Moreover, Congress displays righteous indignation toward companies going on extravagant junkets and sponsoring lavish conferences, while it does the very same thing.

Perhaps writer P. J. O’Rourke was correct saying, “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.”  But, this is probably an unfair statement because it insults teenage boys.