…secure the Blessings of Liberty

by

Is any power in the hands of the “Federal” Government more terrifying, more dangerous, a greater risk to individual liberty than the power to tax?

As the Great Chief Justice, John Marshall, noted in the United States Supreme Court [USSC] case of McCulloch v. Maryland, echoing words of Daniel Webster, “the power to tax involves the power to destroy.”  Because of that truism of government, Americans have more of a natural abhorrence to that power than to any other possessed by the central government.  We should fear it even more today than ever before.

Social Security managed to evade constitutional limitations when FDR’s lawyers convinced the Supreme Court to tamper with the “general welfare clause” by holding, in the 1937 case of Helvering v. Davis, that “the proceeds of both taxes, (both employee and employers), are to be paid into the Treasury like internal revenue taxes generally, and are not earmarked in any way.”

Simply speaking, this means that Social Security participation being just another tax, like income tax, everyone could be forced to “contribute.”  This, of course, flew directly in the face of what FDR was telling the American people.  And it flew directly in the face of what the Framers intended by the limitations on the central government’s power under Article 1, section 8, limitations which the USSC essentially tore up and tossed out the window.

Recall that FDR was pretending to the public that Social Security was merely an insurance program, which would be based upon segregated funds and earned benefits, but his attorneys argued quite otherwise in front of the USSC.

You might say, “well it’s too late now, and now we know better.”  It’s never too late to reverse course and to decide to finally follow the Constitution.  But if we do not, don’t be too sure that we are not in peril of traveling down the same illicit route again.  Watch if this same maneuver isn’t used again soon, or in a very few years, this time as the federal government attempts to take over the health care system.  No chance, you say?  Can’t happen, you say?  How different is the mandated participation in a retirement system and mandated participation in a single payer health care system?

Since the power to tax is the power to destroy, it is by that fact also the power to control, command, and compel.  How many people have given up smoking because of the cost, most of which is due to the “sin tax” imposed upon the product?  How did it become a legitimate function of government, especially a limited one with enumerated powers, to tax a legal activity, in an obvious attempt to destroy, control, command and compel aspects of that legal activity?

The same is true of alcohol.  Most of the cost of a bottle of alcohol is the tax on it.  How did it become OK for the government to make more money on a product than its manufacturer does?  We see the same sort of issue with oil companies in this country.  While worldwide oil companies do very well, here in the United States their profits run around 8 cents per gallon.  But then, depending on the State, between local, state, and federal taxes, government skims away multiples of that private profit without doing any of the research, work, or taking any risk what-so-ever.  We would prosecute mafia bosses for doing the same sort of thing in the back rooms of Vegas casinos [even though they have done some of the work!], and when government skims with an attitude and presumption that it has a right to the fruits of others’ sweat, that defines Socialism, plain and simple, like the label or not.

Jurisdictions across the fruited plain have compelled motorcyclists to wear helmets and motorists to wear seatbelts on an argument that, since local governmental emergency systems come to the rescue of people injured by not doing such, and since they then take the injured people to emergency rooms whose costs are occasionally carried by government, then government is empowered to command otherwise private, liberty-based conduct to minimize those governmental costs.  Once that sort of perverse liberty-invading rationale is accepted, and it is, there will be no limit.  So, when government [or the taxpayers!] starts to fund your general healthcare, it will eventually regulate the conduct that makes you, by their subjective and unreviewable definition, unhealthy.  So, stand by for regulations about overeating, what is being eaten, smoking, consuming alcohol, too much and too little exercising, and couch-potatoing.

On another, or maybe ultimately related, point, note that since the creation of the Federal Reserve, the national debt has gone up by 400,000%.  As Thomas Jefferson taught, or cautioned, us, “It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”

James Madison, the author of the general welfare clause, who would be horrified by its explosive expansion in Helvering, wrote “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions.”  That is, contrary to the Helvering court’s result-oriented political position, the central government cannot legitimately legislate or tax or spend in any area arguably serving the vague political contours of “welfare,” or else the well-laid plan of a limited government has been torn up by judicial fiat.

FDR, as well as Truman and Johnson after him, placed their personal ideologies above the Constitution, disregarding the founding principles of the Republic, and, as we now are seeing, in doing so they have left us with a legacy that jeopardizes the financial security of the Republic.  Social Security was never a viable, sustainable program, and it was further crippled by adding Medicaid and Medicare to it.

Now, the present President, Obama, wants to further cripple us by adding yet another costly, liberty-infringing, pocket-book attacking, and unconstitutional program.  How far down the road to collapse, ruin, and tyranny will we travel before we see the error of ignoring the Constitution?

Liberty is the absence of government involvement in people’s lives, yet our government is far, far too present in all aspects of it, and we must reverse course now, before the iceberg of tyranny looms any larger in our path.

Capmotion & chas

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10 Responses to “…secure the Blessings of Liberty”

  1. Gini Says:

    I agree Cap…and I believe that’s what I tried to say, tho not nearly as eloquently. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  2. olinl Says:

    When you hear progressives talking about 360’s instead of 180’s, it makes you wonder if we have lost our compass!
    =========================
    Or is they have lost their minds…lol

    chas

  3. Salvatore Says:

    Good Morning Chas & Cap,
    I agree Carolyn,
    “hope the course can be reversed”
    Great post my friends.
    ========================
    As always a great pleasure to have you stop in and comment my friend.

    chas

  4. carolynro Says:

    I hope the course can be reversed. But, the question remains: in what direction
    ==============================
    Since we are obviously on the path of tyranny, we would hope that reversing means a return to a republic guided by the Constitution.

    chas

  5. Dan Fugate Says:

    So smart it hurts my head.
    ==================
    You should try living in mine…lol I have to get through cap’s improvements.

    chas

  6. capmotion Says:

    Gini, there is nothing wrong with considering the Constitution to be a “living document,” so long as one understands that its “livingness” largely and generally requires amendment to change its substance – substance cannot be changed by result-oriented construction, nor by tampering with word meanings, or else the fundamental law would no longer be “fundamental.” Nor “law.” Absent amendment, the Constitution must “live” with the unalloyed meaning of the Framers intact.

    One of the problems is that word tamperings began early on, in some of John Marshall’s writings, and the fault lies partially in the fact that the Great Chief Justice[?] was neither a framer, nor did he have access to the Notes of the Debates, which were purposely kept secret for decades after the framing, so he did not know of some of the limitations intended by the framers. And we think he otherwise did not care of “limitations,” as is the malady besetting many powerful people in government.

    We need to seek out people who will hew closely to the lines drawn by the Framers in their governance, and we need to oust those who will not or do not.
    =================
    Didn’t Madison set it up so that the debate notes were not to be released until all the members of the convention were deceased? It seems to me that it wasn’t just until his death.

    chas
    =================
    He did not want them published until the last Framer was dead. They were ultimately published in 1840, 4 years after he died. The irony is that the public was then much as it is now: Dolley Madison tried to get a commercial publisher to buy them, but they ascertained that it would not be fiscally feasible, because there would not be any interest in the public to read about what the Framers said and thought and intended about the Constitution! She accordingly sold them to Congress for a third of the asking price, and not many were purchased by the public. The signficance of that late a publication is that some of the Supreme Court cases which arguably altered our constitutional structure were issued without benefit of insight about what the Framers meant by various things like commerce, and necessary and proper, and general welfare.

    cap

  7. capmotion Says:

    Geeze, Frank, I think our overarching theme has been that this president, and many [read “all”] in this administration, and in others, and in the Congress, and on the Court, have ignored, flouted, and aggressively violated the limitations on the central government intended by the Framers.

    The fact that one is a “scholar” does not guarantee that he will honor the Framers’ scheme of things; many scholars are scoundrels, and vice-versa.

  8. Gini Says:

    Am I ‘caught up’ yet? 🙂 🙂 🙂

  9. Gini Says:

    I would agree w/Frank, and presume to add, ‘these people’ did and do not consider the Constitution, THE DOCUMENT, but a ‘living thing’, that can be ‘interpreted’ at will….with no responsibility to the original intent of the framers. Great read…and I continue to ~smile~ ~frown~ and contemplate w/a ~furrowed brow~ the excellent view point so well written on your blog Chas. lol {and Cap!}

  10. Frank C Says:

    You guys could have easily added Obabble to the list of Constitution Ignorers…For a Constitutional Scholar he sure doesn’t follow that Great Document.
    ========================
    He did get a mention for the health care take over, ubt that of course hasn’t happened yet.

    chas

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