The nation’s Founding Fathers were concerned whether citizens were educated enough to maintain a republic. History proves those citizens were equipped. Principles of the republic were not violated for 150 years. Alexis de Tocqueville, a French political activist, toured 17 of the 24 states for a year in 1831 and wrote extensively about the strong participation of citizens in governmental affairs.
The U.S. Constitution was drafted, after detailed historical study, with property rights and personal freedom being paramount. During the 18th century, European states were beginning to implement socialist, or redistribution of wealth from rich to poor, theories, but that required taking liberties and was rejected from the draft.
English colonists had learned early the need for leadership and personal responsibility. Capt. John Smith was elected president of the Jamestown, Virginia colony to replace the non-leadership of Miles Standish, who had seen two-thirds of the 104 colonists perish. Captain Smith’s leadership inspired growing of crops that emphatically reduced the death rate and implemented common sense regulations such as, “. . . he that will not work shall not eat . . .”
The Constitution was written primarily to protect individual liberty. Only 16 enumerated powers requiring national enforcement were granted to the Congress; all other power was reserved for the states and the people. Individual states were expected to be laboratories for other states to observe.
The results are definitive. Unfortunately, some states do not learn from the obvious evidence. The worst states for economic performance in 2001-11 as measured by American Legislative Exchange Council, from the bottom were Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, Illinois, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, California, Missouri and Wisconsin. These states also led in number of people and businesses exiting their states. California by 2013 had dropped to number 47.
In the 1930s, the Constitution’s implied powers clause was redefined to remove almost all federal limits, enabling the federal government to redistribute wealth. Interestingly, America was warned of the danger in 1790 by professor Alexander Tyler, a Scottish historian: “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury.”
Check progress of the nation since “progressive” money redistribution.
Near the end of the Great Depression in May 1939, Henry Morgenthau, secretary of the Treasury for President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. . . . After eight years of this administration, we have just as much unemployment as when we started . . . and an enormous debt to boot!”
President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty, commenced in 1967, has since spent trillions of dollars and not decreased the poverty in the country by a single percent. Beginning 30 years ago, the Head Start program commenced with annual government costs of millions of dollars. Many studies since have unanimously reported that benefits initially noted in the children are lost within three years.
Beginning in 2008, $8 trillion was spent on stimulus programs for the Great Recession under Republican and Democratic parties and produced the slowest recession recovery in history. Compare this to recessions under Warren G. Harding, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, each who rejected Keynesian stimulus concepts and established prompt recession recoveries.
All programs were paid with inflated dollars. A 1787 dollar, also worth a dollar in 1913, is now worth 2 cents.
Ask your representative to explain his or her support for these progressive programs that have built a $17 trillion debt for our grandchildren while producing few measurable results. Apologize to your children, then vote Nov. 4 for a replacement.
Earl Heal is a Vacaville resident and member of The Right Stuff Committee, a committee of the Solano County Republican Party. Reach him at [email protected]