Shining City On a Hill to a Banana Republic

News Highlights

Unconstitutional Government Programs Cause Unimaginable Debt
The U. S. Constitution is fundamentally a rule-book for government. According to the Cato Institute’s Stephen Moore,
“…it is impossible to find in the Constitution any language that authorizes at least 90 percent of the civilian programs that Congress crams into the federal budget today.”
When numbers in the billions and trillions are tossed around, they are hard to grasp. Dave Ramsey tries to bring it down to a more easily understood level:

“[A couple is] earning $58,000 a year. However, they are spending $75,000 a year. More importantly, they have credit card debt totaling $327,000. In fact, $10,000 of the family’s income goes just to pay interest on those credit cards.

“Now, what would you expect my advice to this couple to be?” Ramsey asked his radio audience. He then proceeded to say that if he followed the current model of “cuts” being proposed in Washington, his recommendation would be that they reduce their annual expenditures by a mere $3,000 — all the way down to $72,000.

Ramsey has calculated that these numbers are in exact proportion to the actions of our federal government in dealing with our deficit. However, instead of terms like “billions” and “trillions,” to which no one can relate, Ramsey has reduced the numbers to ones we can all comprehend. Anyone with a brain can figure out that a family making $58,000 and spending $75,000, with $327,000 in credit card debt, is headed for bankruptcy — or worse….

We cannot continue in serious times with unserious people representing us in Washington. They have taken the United States of America from the greatest, strongest, most prosperous country on the face of the earth and turned it into a debtor nation. They have taken us from a shining city on a hill to a banana republic.”

Read the full article here

Taxpayer funding of NPR is Unconstitutional
…because it is not authorized in the Constitution’s enumerated powers, and subsidizing one network out of many violates freedom of the press.

What comes to mind when you think of government-sponsored news? It probably would be the propaganda machines of the former communist Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. A free press is a result of a free exchange, and using taxpayer dollars to fund NPR is not a free exchange.

This week, the House of Representatives passed legislation (H.R. 1076) by Rep. Lamborn) to defund National Public Radio (NPR) by a vote of 228-192.  A Senate vote is possible on the amendment, potentially as an amendment to other government funding legislation moving through Congress.  The legislation would not take NPR off of the air, but would permanently stop federal taxpayer funding of the organization.  Additionally, the measure would prevent local stations from paying their NPR dues with federal funds.

Several NPR federal funding defenders said that the small amount that taxpayers pay to NPR is not worth debating, but all the enormous list of unconstitutional “small amounts” add up.  Going outside the Constitution puts government in a role that endangers our liberty over the long-term.  NPR is a poster child of a federal program that is completely outside of the boundaries of the U.S. Constitution.


1789 Blog and Opinion: Top Picks

Obama’s Edifice Complex
“His election was given a boost by the precipitous slide in the stock market and the economy before the election in 2008. He truly did not let this “crisis go to waste.”  Congress was swamped with Democrats and they gave Barack Obama a platinum American Express card to go wild. We have yet to see a President — with the possible exception of FDR — who was as determined to create as many monuments to his own presidency as the man who now holds the reins of power in the Oval Office. Barack Obama has an edifice complex, not of buildings but of government programs, and after he has finished leaving his mark, we will paying the price for decades to come….” Read more on The 1789 Project’s Opinion page here.

Common Sense Education
“[Federal intervention into local schools] has caused an enormous compliance burden, dissipating dollars and human capital that could have been more effectively directed to achieve educational excellence. The damage should be calculated not only in terms of decades of wasted fiscal and human resources and on-going opportunity costs. We must also take stock of how federal intervention has created a dysfunctional governance system that undermines direct accountability to parents and taxpayers, while at the same time encouraging bureaucratic expansion and empowers special interests.” Read more on The 1789 Project Blog here.

Spending Solutions: Social Security
“And so another continuing resolution makes its way through the halls of Congress…. Cuts need to be made in substantial areas, such as social security, but as of now, neither party has really stepped up publicly and shown the political backbone to do so. If we would just cut out unconstitutional spending like Social Security, we could save ourselves a big headache. If politicians still haven’t gotten the message from the voters about this need, then perhaps 2012 will just be history repeating itself.” Read more on The 1789 Project Blog here.

More from The 1789 Project Newsfeed

The “Constitutionally Correct” Award

Jimmy Gittings, President of the Baltimore Principals’ Union

After all the chaos in Wisconsin and other states, we are excited to take this opportunity to praise  of a school administrators union. When the ACLU swept in to attack the rights of students, teachers, and parents to enjoy the “free exercise of religion,” Mr. Gittings did the right thing.

Jimmy Gittings, president of the city principals’ union, said he supported Principal Jael Yon, “an exceptional principal trying to do what’s best for our children in the Baltimore City school system.” Gittings added, “The only individuals I hold accountable for these injustices for Ms. Yon are the narrow-minded politicians from some 50 years ago, for removing prayer from our schools. Once prayer was removed from our schools, the respect for our teachers and administrators has been increasingly out of control.” Read more here.

The “Constitutionally Incorrect” Award

 Mount Holly Township, New Jersey

It is hard to defend a decision that lets government take well-kept property away from one private individual or business to give it to another who might make it more upscale.
This New Jersey Township is abusing Eminent Domain to take numerous homes, paying just half of what residents will need to move nearby. This seizure is clearly unconstitutional under the 5th amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The “takings clause” found there requires “just compensation” for property taken for public use. 

The supreme court opened the door to this kind of taking with the 2005 Kelo v. City of New London case in which they allowed the city of New London, Connecticut, to condemn a middle-class waterfront neighborhood and to parcel it out to private developers who would make more lucrative use of the property, including building luxury condos. Americans need to let governments know we are serious about the sanctity of private property because we understand that the right to own property  is a fundamental principle of American liberty.

Other communities around the nation are seeing similar gross abuse of eminent domain power as local governments try to increase revenue by bringing in development. Another good example is this Community Youth Activities Center (CYAC) in National City, California. CYAC had its day  in the California Supreme Court a week ago, fighting to save their highly effective facility.
Citizens can act to prevent these occurrences by pressuring their state legislators to place strict property rights protections in their state constitutions.

Stories to Watch

A look at the Week Ahead
Congress is out of session this week. A congressional budget showdown is shaping up with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) expected to release the House budget during the week of April 4th.  The proposal is expected to address entitlement spending by slowing the growth of Medicare, cutting Medicaid, and beginning some Social Security cost savings.  If the President refuses to deal on the budget, some Republican leaders are likely to oppose raising the debt ceiling until negotiations break through.  For example, this week twenty- three senators wrote a letter to President Obama expressing that, “Strong leadership is needed now to advance possible solutions to ensure that our entitlement programs can serve both current and future generations. Without action to begin addressing the deficit, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for us to support a further increase in the debt ceiling,’”

One scenario is that the national debt limit could be extended only several weeks at a time, similar to the way that continuing resolution votes have occurred this year, while policymakers negotiate over next year’s budget.

We hope this sampling from the newsfeed, blog, and opinion pages from the 1789 Project website inspires you to continue fighting for the Constitutional Revival.
Please contact us if you would like to receive a free pocket Constitution
David LaRock
The 1789 Project


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