By Jim Beers
One could say it began with Teddy Roosevelt. Confronting "big" business, "National" Parks, "National" Wildlife Refuges, "National" Forests were all hallmark "accomplishments of "Teddy" the Republican President. He did "good" things and always with the highest motives but he did very bad things in his (and our) ignorance. He set a precedent that, unlike the Constitutional peacetime government of the previous 120 years, the US government (the central or federal government per the Constitution as distinct from State government) could solve any and all issues better than State or Local governments. This precedent, that coincidentally played right into the hands of the emerging Socialist/Communist ideology of Karl Marx, not only soon proved the wisdom of The Founding Fathers that powerful central governments lead inevitably to "Tyranny"; it came just one short decade before the election of Democrat President Woodrow Wilson and a Democrat-controlled US Congress.
Wilson's legacy and his Presidency have much to teach us today. Wilson was elected on a "New Freedom" campaign very like FDR's "New Deal", JFK's "New Frontier", LBJ's "Great Society", and Obama's "Change". Like them, Wilson had a Democrat Congress with a "mandate". Wilson was a foe of business and founded the Federal Trade Commission to "regulate" "Trusts". Wilson campaigned on a plank of "individualism and state's rights" and then supported and signed the 16th Amendment authorizing Congress "to lay and collect taxes on incomes" and the 17th Amendment that changed the election of US Senators from "chosen by the (sic State) Legislator thereof" to "elected by the people thereof". How "individualism" is supported by federal "taxes on incomes" or how "state's rights" are supported by denying their appointment by the State "Legislature" are two things only those currently claiming that a national health plan is needed to solve the economic crisis might understand. Like the current President's election claims of support for the 2nd Amendment and opposition to "earmarks"; election and a "progressive" Congress transforms "conservative" candidates into liberal zealots overnight.
Wilson's final claims to fame rest on his unflinching support for a nascent world government (The League of Nations) and The Versailles Treaty (recognized ever since as a major contributor to World War II a short two decades later). Wilson's argument for the Versailles Treaty (that also contained the "Covenant"* of the League of Nations) was, "Dare we reject it and break the heart of the World?" (One is reminded of recent election claims about how Europeans and Middle Eastern countries didn't "like" us.) Fortunately, the Democrats had lost control of the Senate by 1918 and the Versailles Treaty failed to be ratified.
(*Note the word "Covenant" like the word "Convention" used in recent decades by UN bureaucrats and "progressives" in "developed" nations to disarm local objections to "Treaties" like Kyoto and Endangered Species and proposed gun control schemes.)
It is the 16th and 17th Amendments that have evolved into "vampires in the nursery" today, 18 March 2009. For two days now the public screaming about AIG (the largest insurance company "in the world?") paying its' executives Millions in "bonuses" has reached a fever pitch. Reportedly all of the Bush/Obama "Stimulus" and "Bailout" Trillions included Billions to AIG. Reportedly we (American citizens?, Congress?, the President?, the Secretary of the Treasury??) now "own" 80% of AIG and here are the AIG Executives paying each other Millions in bonuses and reportedly sending money to foreigners on top of it! Here we are "saving" them (and reputedly "the economy") and these ungrateful holdovers from Wilson and Roosevelt's anti-trust nemeses are "misusing" "our money"! People are appearing at rallies and on TV with pitchforks and threatening, what, to hold their breath?, to pout?, to call for imprisonment and worse for all (what was it the communists called them?) "intellectuals, bourgeois, and capitalists?
The 16th Amendment set this in motion 96 years ago. The "taxes on income" were reputedly only going to be levied on "millionaires" and "the rich", much like the taxes being laid today (only the "rich, 5% of taxpayers, only over $250K, etc.) to pay for the Trillions the Democrat President and Congress are using to establish Socialism in the US today. Over the 96 years federal income taxes have come to be accepted as "wealth redistribution" engines and financial support of everything from welfare and Social Security to "National" Parks, Refuges, Forests, Endangered Species, Grants, Loans, Law Enforcement, etc. that would either not exist or would be far less intrusive in American life today without them. However, up until today who would have been seriously listened to if he had said, "why pretty soon they will just tax us 100% of what we earn"? That is exactly what US Senator "Chuck" Schumer said the Congress and President would do "If they (the AIG Execs) don't return every penny of their 'bonuses'" forthwith. Thus has the tax "only on the rich" become a weapon like those used by every dictator throughout the ages to oppress those they dislike to favor those they like or need. Call it populism, call it political expediency, call it what you will; the fact that a US Senator even has such thoughts much less feels free to express and enact them means simply that the 4th Amendment, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated" is no longer in effect. Congress and the President can do or take whatever and whenever they want anytime they want. But what about the US Senate?
When the 17th Amendment was passed 96 years ago, US Senators no longer were answerable to a State Legislature that, say what you will, was and remains not only the current political expression of that State but is composed of elected officials that are far more susceptible to being recalled or defeated than any US Senator "elected by the people thereof". The reason for this very significant change is that now US Senators are reelected by garnering national and international supporters that provide millions and volunteers and unlimited media support to the Senator as opposed the "people" and "Legislature" that are more concerned with the affect of federal actions on their State. Thus we are now treated to the ultimate spectacle of US Senators as pampered and unanswerable dandies as Republican Senator Grassley suggests publicly that AIG Executives that do not return their bonuses should commit suicide. One observation is relevant here: if you or I were to publicly state that any Senator or the President should commit suicide because they did something we disapproved of. well, between the Secret Service, the Capitol Police, and the US Attorney we would be imprisoned and never again "allowed" to vote or possess a gun.
There is an old ditty that goes,
For want of a nail, a shoe was lost
For want of a shoe, a horse was lost
For want of a horse, a rider was lost
For want of a rider, a battle was lost
For want of a battle, a kingdom was lost.
To paraphrase that ditty,
For want of State defenders, State's Rights were lost
For want of State's Rights, Federal restraint was lost
For want of Federal restraint, Individual Rights were lost
For want of Individual Rights, Freedom was lost
For want of Freedom, America was lost.
The federal government has no authority other than brute force to "bailout" or "stimulate' any bank or company or insurance outfit like AIG. What is going on right now (even ignoring "socialized medicine", gun control, and abject foreign pandering) like wage controls for executives, dictating what cars to build, etc. is simply an incremental shift to Socialist government that is ultimately a "slow motion" approach to the Communist government (anyone for Russian cars or Chinese family limits by forced abortions, etc.?). The disgraceful politicians in Washington today are self-serving Socialist enablers that have less regard for us ("should commit suicide") than they have when pandering for votes from animal rights radicals ("outlaw horse slaughter", "outlaw cockfights", "outlaw trapping", "outlaw hunting", etc.). The federal income tax in the hands of an unrestrained federal government ("we'll tax them 100%") is merely ammunition for self-serving tyrants to oppress us.
How to reverse 95 years of Socialist/Communist infection of Constitutional government? Throw out the current crop of self-serving Socialists in the Congress and the White House. Elect politicians that will reduce and limit (through Constitutional Amendment) the size and growth of the federal government except for national defense and interstate commerce. Elect politicians that do not equivocate about national sovereignty, the Constitution, and State's Rights. Elect politicians that restore the appointment of US Senators by State Legislatures to thereby restore the reason each State has two Senators and not just two "Lords" in a remote House of Lords. If this is impossible we will continue to regress to the intolerable tyranny from which we sprung. If we continue this decline either we will meekly accept bondage and oppression or we will need to contemplate the blood, sweat, and tears that were required of The Founding Fathers, from Washington to the Vermont cockfighter freezing and starving at Valley Forge, to recognize and protect the freedoms and God-given rights that once made America the envy of the world. Jim Beers
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