Article contributed by “The Ed”
I love clarity. One of the most clarifying notions I have is the knowledge that freedom and responsibility are a marriage made in heaven and a divorce decree from hell. Separate them and bad things happen. We Americans are free to drive millions of miles each year. What happens when we do not accept the responsibility to drive sober? Casualties happen. And the response to secure ourselves from the neglected responsibility to drive sober is an infringement on our freedoms in the form of more police patrols and more sobriety checkpoints.
The right to keep and bear arms is a right for self-protection. American citizens own many different kinds of weapons. We have just been through a period where the Columbine, the Virginia Tech, the Gabby Gifford, the Oregon Mall, the AuroraTheater, and the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings have occurred. Now there is a clamor for more protection from such people and a clamor to cut back on the second amendment right to keep and bear arms in response to the abuse of our second amendment rights.
Uniting these two examples is a maxim: Rights carry responsibilities. When the responsibilities associated with those rights are abused or neglected bad things happen. When those bad things happen, those in authority tend to cut back those rights for everybody. When responsibility is abused or neglected, freedom suffers.
There is a huge debate raging in America about what to do about the deficit spending. Now we have Congress spending money without a plan (they have not had a budget since the Bush administration). Three fifths of what Congress has been spending lately has been from tax receipts. Two fifths comes from debt financing. It is safe to say that Congress has been very free spending money and Congress is not spending the public dollar responsibly. Congress has done more than merely neglecting its fiscal responsibility. Congress has abandoned it altogether. This is a divorce decree from hell for the American people.
Bad things are happening. When Congress spends money, whether it comes from tax receipts or deficit financing or inflation, it comes from the economy. It comes from the American public. Our economy is heavily burdened and it is suffering. Think about this. The right to own property is in the Constitution. On the other hand, the government has the right to tax. (Just ask Supreme Court Justice Roberts.) At what point, with the government taking income, SS, MC taxes directly, borrowing money to take it from the American public’s future, or printing money to take it through inflation, are we, the citizens of the US, right to say that the government has gone too far?
Congress is spending irresponsibly. Now the curtailment of freedom comes. We, the American public have to pay the bill for our Congressional profligate spending. Whether that bill comes due as taxes, debt or inflation, our collective wealth will be taken from us. So should we, the American people, allow our property rights to be infringed? Or do we want to see our irresponsible representatives curtailed from their freedom to spend? Congress is the body that behaved irresponsibly. I want to see Congress’s freedom to spend curtailed.
I wish that we could simply throw the bums out. But the influence of this country’s special interest groups is too great. They spend millions of dollars to influence elections. So that when the time comes to decide where the public’s money should be spent, Congress is representing the special interests and nobody is at the table representing the American public. No, we won’t curtail Congress’s freedom to wantonly spend the public’s money by throwing the bums out. We have to curtail their ability to spend. I want limits on Congress’s freedom to spend. They are the ones who are abusing and neglecting their fiscal responsibility.
I would suggest a balanced budget amendment if I thought for one minute that it would work. It won’t. Congressmen get elected and stay in office by serving their constituent special interests. The three branches of government were given enumerated powers in the Constitution. The Tenth Amendment says it clearly that powers not granted to the federal government by the Constitution, nor prohibited to the States are reserved to the States or the people. Congressmen can only serve their constituents by stretching their constitutional authority well beyond what is written in the Constitution. For this reason, people who are even marginally considered Constitutionalists seldom get elected to Congress. When asked where the constitutional authority for Obamacare came from most Congressmen could not answer. A few said it comes from the general welfare clause of the Constitution. With such interpretations of the general welfare clause, Congress does not have to worry about limits placed on it by the Constitution. And if Congress does not have to worry about limits placed on it by the Constitution, a balanced budget amendment, just like the Tenth Amendment, means nothing.
And now a final note of clarity: Abuse or neglect of responsibility has to have consequences to the perpetrators or it means nothing. Perhaps the states can impose on their elected representatives one day of hard labor for every billion dollars he or she authorizes with their votes that is over tax receipts. This is said in jest since Congress would simply write a law forbidding the states from such action. They would call it unconstitutional citing cruel and unusual punishment.