Time To Tame the Federal Beast
by Andrew P. Napolitano
Recently by Andrew P. Napolitano: Do Catholics Have Too Many Babies?
When the federal government was created, those who risked their lives and their fortunes and their sacred honors to secede from England were animated by recent events. The government did not come into existence in a vacuum. Rather, those who led the Revolutionary War joined those who fought and financed it to create a central government that would be constitutionally incapable of doing to Americans what King George III and Parliament did to the colonists.
The king abridged many personal freedoms, but among them, religion and the right to keep income were at the top of the list, along with the freedom of speech and the right to be left alone. The reason that religious rights and property rights so animated the Founders is simple: They had been aggressively assaulted by the British government, and most of it had to do with money.
The king and Parliament imposed a tax on the colonists to support the king’s church in England. And the king and Parliament imposed an obligation on the colonists to purchase the king’s stamps and to affix them to all papers in their possession in America. The Stamp Act led to the invasion of the colonists’ homes by British soldiers without warrants, ostensibly looking for the stamps. Both of these taxes led to the Revolution, and the bitter aftertaste they left behind, in turn, led to a firm determination on the part of those who wrote the Constitution to craft a document that would assure that the new government would be constitutionally incapable of similar behavior.
How well have the Framers’ hopes and plans and constitutional craftsmanship worked out? Not very well. I have written six books about the violations of the Constitution that the government has gotten away with. The feds take your taxes and give it to folks who will vote for them. They even fine churches that fail to violate their core teachings on contraception. These are not light or fleeting issues.
Today, Americans who rely on government entitlements receive an average of $32,700 worth of benefits every year. The average American’s annual income after taxes — Americans who work, not those who receive benefits — is $32,400. This is the first time in history that we have seen this inversion. I realize that this is just an average, but the numbers show, by a tiny amount, that the average recipient of entitlements has more disposable wealth than the average wage earner.
These entitlements cost the taxpayers about $2.5 trillion per year. The federal government collects only $2.5 trillion a year in revenue. So, the rest of the government — defense, justice, the goons in the TSA, national parks, even the Post Office — is paid for by borrowing. And most of the borrowing is paid for by the Federal Reserve printing cash. And that causes inflation, which decreases the purchasing power of your savings.
On top of all of this is Obamacare. That is the president’s signature piece of legislation. It is the instrument by which the president is threatening to fine religious institutions — mostly Catholic — that dare not to pay for contraception health care coverage for their employees. That would be the same Obamacare that is forcing every person in America to buy health insurance. This brings us back to where we started historically: The last time the central government in America tried to force all Americans to buy something against their will, it was the king of England and his Stamp Act. And that fomented the Revolution.
You can see how far we have come from the freedom the Framers intended — and how far we need to travel to return. The federal government refuses to leave us alone. It taxes too much, borrows too much, regulates too much, gives away too much money and is in our faces over something as intimate as contraception.
We need a game changer in the White House, now more than ever.
Reprinted with the author’s permission.
Andrew P. Napolitano [send him mail], a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at the Fox News Channel, and the host of u201CFreedomWatchu201D on the Fox Business Network. His latest book is It is Dangerous to be Right When the Government is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom.