Missouri's 7th District, U.S. House of Representatives




Bringing LIBERTY to Capitol Hill -- 2008
Saturday Morning, September 29, 2007, 10:30am

A Discussion of The President's Saturday Morning Radio Address

Click here to listen to a replay of the September 29, 2007 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall

Notes and Summary of the Broadcast -- Avoiding Government Shutdown

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning.
       Today I am signing emergency legislation to fund the Federal government for the next seven weeks. This legislation was necessary because Congress failed in its most basic responsibility: to pass the spending bills that fund the day-to-day operations of the government. There are 12 of these bills this year, and Congress did not complete a single one of them, so Congress had to send me a stop-gap measure before the fiscal year ends this Sunday at midnight.

How the President Differs from the American vision of "Liberty Under God":

  • Todays Americans do not believe in "liberty," they prefer "security" or "equality."
  • Todays Americans do not believe in liberty Under God, preferring a secular savior, the State.
  • Both Democrats and Republicans ignore the "experiment in liberty" of yesterday's Americans that proved so successful, making America the most prosperous and admired nation on earth. Both parties believe in the government as savior.

President's Radio Address Liberty Under God
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning.  
Today I am signing emergency legislation to fund the Federal government for the next seven weeks. This legislation was necessary because Congress failed in its most basic responsibility: to pass the spending bills that fund the day-to-day operations of the government. There are 12 of these bills this year, and Congress did not complete a single one of them, so Congress had to send me a stop-gap measure before the fiscal year ends this Sunday at midnight. Congress has enacted all required spending bills by the fiscal new year in only three of the past 30 years; in only 8 of the past 30 years did Congress complete on time one-quarter of the bills.
Congress's failure to pass these 12 spending bills is disappointing, but I do thank the Congress for passing this temporary measure, and for passing it without any new spending, new policies or new projects. It would have been wrong to deny essential government services to the American people while Congress works through its annual spending bills. Even by government standards, most government services are "non-essential."

By Constitutional standards, they are nearly all unconstitutional. Some "essential government services" were intended by the Framers to be carried out locally, with greater accountability and greater liberty.

I also appreciate the way this bill handles our disagreements over the State Children's Health Insurance Program. Congressional leaders have put forward an irresponsible plan that would dramatically expand this program beyond its original intent. And they know I will veto it. But it is good that they kept the program running while they try to work out a more responsible approach. SCHIP was covered in last week's Ozarks Virtual Town Hall.
Congress now has more time to complete its work on its annual spending bills. Earlier this year congressional leaders promised to show that they could be responsible with the people's money. Unfortunately they seem to have chosen the path of higher spending. They have proposed spending increases that would add an extra $205 billion on top of my Administration's budget request over the next five years. There's only one way to pay for such a large spending increase, and that is to raise taxes on the American people. So it is no surprise that the same Members of Congress who are planning this big increase in Federal spending are also planning the biggest tax increase in American history. It is absolutely hypocritical for President Bush to accuse the Democrats of choosing the "path of higher spending" when the President did not veto a single increase in spending during his first 6 years in office -- because it was a Republican Congress that chose the path of higher spending.

The national debt has skyrocketed under the Bush Administration because it boasts of tax cuts while increasing spending across the board.

If these members get their way, the tax relief my Administration delivered could be taken away from you. Let me explain what this would mean for an average taxpayer. If you have children, your taxes would rise by $500 for each child. If you're a family of four making $60,000 a year, your taxes would be more than $1,800 higher. If you're a single mother with two children, working to make ends meet, your taxes would go up by more than a $1,000. If you're a small business owner working to meet a payroll, your taxes would increase by almost $4,000. And if Congress allows our tax relief to expire, more than 5 million low-income Americans who currently pay no income taxes would once again have to pay taxes. The war in Iraq is costing Americans over $3,000 per person. If you have 4 people in your family, your share of the Iraq War bill is about $20,000. Would you have chosen to pay for this war if given a choice?

The Income Tax should be abolished entirely.

These are not the only taxes Congress wants to raise. They're proposing higher taxes on dividends and capital gains. They're proposing higher taxes on cigars and cigarettes. They're proposing to raise taxes on domestic oil and natural gas production. They're proposing new taxes on stock and bond transactions. And they refuse to make the Internet tax moratorium permanent. If this tax ban expires, it would open the doors for State and local officials to impose new taxes on your access to the Internet. Internet taxes are wrong, but they are only the tip of the iceberg toward which Bush is steering the Ship of State.
At a time when many American families are dealing with rising mortgage rates, college costs, and health care expenses, it is wrong to take even more money out of your paychecks. Washington's elected leaders can do better. By working together, we can keep taxes low, help keep the economy growing, balance the Federal budget, and build on our record of fiscal discipline and greater economic opportunity for all Americans. A "record of fiscal discipline?"
Thank you for listening.  

Additional Resources: Investor's Business Daily - Drain The Swamp
Here’s a suggestion: Many government departments, agencies and offices should be closed for good. …In 1800, the government needed a mere 3,000 employees and $1 million a year to do its job. In those days, lawmakers knew well the meaning of “limited.” Today, federal civilian employees number nearly 2 million. Another 10 million or more are federal contractors or grant recipients. The yearly budget of this runaway train is soaring toward $3 trillion. …Start with the Education Department, created in 1979 by the Carter administration despite the fact there is no constitutional authorization for its existence. In addition to its meddling, the department is spending nearly $70 billion a year in taxpayers’ dollars. By all accounts, public education in this country is worse off than it was when the Education Department opened. It’s hard to make an argument that those 5,000 employees are contributing anything. Next on the block should be the Energy Department, another monster wrought by Jimmy Carter, this one in 1977. There’s no real job this department… Like food, shelter and clothing, energy is a commodity that can and should be traded on an open market. There is no need to make a federal case out of it, particularly one that employees 17,000 people. All Cabinet-level departments — even Defense, which could cut waste — should at least have their budgets drained of excess. On a smaller scale, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities should go. Funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting should be zeroed out.
Budget Delays Should Not Cause Government Shutdowns
Congress has enacted all required spending bills by the fiscal new year in only three of the past 30 years; in only 8 of the past 30 years did Congress complete on time one-quarter of the bills.
Costly Government Agencies

The Democrat Party Radio Address:

Graeme Frost, 12, delivers this week's Democratic Radio Address. According to the Democrat webpage, "Because of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Graeme was able to get the medical care he needed after a serious car accident caused severe brain trauma, paralyzed one of his vocal chords and put him in a coma."
"I don't know why President Bush wants to stop kids who really need help from getting CHIP. All I know is I have some really good doctors. They took great care of me when I was sick, and I'm glad I could see them because of the Children's Health Program."

Libertarian Response to Democrats:

  • See last weeks Townhall
  • Bush wants to expand the SCHIP program, not cut it. He just doesn't want to expand it as much as the Democrats do. There's no evidence that this child would have been denied coverage under the White House expansion.
  • Expanding this government program is wrong. It is sinful and immoral to take money from Jones under threats of violence to give to Graeme Frost.
  • -- even if Graeme Frost is poor.
  • It is unconstitutional for the federal government to to this, even if it were moral.
  • Capitalism, not socialism, will ensure the greatest amount of the highest quality health care to every child in this country. The medical care available to this child would not have been available to him if he lived in the Soviet Union a few decades ago.
  • Democrats and Republicans are quibbling over ten or fifteen billion tax dollars. True leadership would inspire and orchestrate voluntary giving from those who can afford to do so.
  • Book Review: The Scandal Of The Evangelical Conscience - Acton Institute PowerBlog
    “If American Christians simply gave a tithe rather than the current one-quarter of a tithe, there would be enough private Christian dollars to provide basic health care and education to all the poor of the earth. And we would still have an extra $60-70 billion left over for evangelism around the world.”

Late Questions from Listeners

Unfortunately, a question arrived from a listener after the conclusion of this week's Town Hall:

I thought the Preamble for the Constitution said the purpose of that document was "to provide for the common weal. . ." How can that be done without education? Without public safety? Without regulation of industries that would otherwise rob the public and spoil the environment?

The preamble states:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Probably our listener was referring to the highlighted phrase.

What are "the blessings of liberty?" How are they "secured" by the government? The blessings include automobiles, computers, antibiotics, and thousands of groceries at the local market. How are these blessings "secured" by the government? By nationalizing the automobile industry, as in the Soviet Union? No, simply by protecting the nation from foreign invasion and eliminating trade barriers between the several States. What about punishing fraud and crime? Though considered to be a function of government, it was not considered to be a function of the federal government. Punishing crime remained with the states and local governments.

The question posed during the Constitutional Convention and during the ratification process was "What form of government best secures the Blessings of Liberty and promotes the general Welfare?" The answer given was not "a huge centralized federal government with unlimited powers," but rather a limited federal government that has only a few powers enumerated in the constitution, with the rest of government remaining with the states. The Tenth Amendment in the Bill of Rights summarizes the philosophy of the Constitution:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

In Federalist 45, Madison described the relationship between the federal government and the states in these famous words:

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State. [emphasis added]

And nobody believed that the state governments had the authority to nationalize production of computers, automobiles, and groceries. Government on all levels was tightly limited, and liberty extended to The People and their businesses.

This is the theory of constitutionally-enumerated powers. Only powers enumerated in the Constitution are possessed by the federal government.

But doesn't the "promote the general welfare" clause indicate that the federal government has vast, sweeping powers to whatever is necessary to "promote the general welfare?"

In testimony before Congress, CATO Institute scholar Jerry Taylor explained how the architects of the Constitution understood the "general Welfare" phrase:

In Federalist No. 41, Madison summarizes the relationship of the general preface language including the "welfare" language, to the subsequent more detailed enumeration of specific powers, as follows. 

"Some who have denied the necessity of the power of taxation [to the Federal government] have grounded a very fierce attack against the Constitution, on the language on which it is defined. It has been urged and echoed that the power to "lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States" amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labor for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction." (emphasis added) 

Thus, Madison, who like Story after him sought to defend federal power, treats with derision the claim of opponents of federal powers the claim that the "welfare clause" is a general grant of power. Madison continues Federalist No 41 in this language of angry paradox: 

"For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural or more common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify by an enumeration of the particulars. But the idea of an enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning, and can have no other effect than to confound and mislead, is an absurdity ... what would have been thought of that assembly, if, attaching themselves to these general expressions and disregarding the specifications which limit their import, they had exercised an unlimited power of providing for the general welfare?" (emphasis added)

More information on the "general Welfare" clause can be found on our Constitution page, and this page.

Our listener mentions three functions which are necessary to secure "the Blessings of Liberty":

The first question to be asked is, must education etc. be provided by the government, or can it be provided by the Free Market: voluntary associations, businesses, and "We the People" networking together to assure that children are educated. In other words, which political theory is true: capitalism or socialism?

If socialism is true, we might still ask, should state and local governments decide how children will be educated, or should that be done by the federal government? In other words if only government can provide these elements of an orderly and prosperous society, which level of government?

The Constitutional answer precludes the federal government from involving itself in these areas. It would not have been ratified by states jealous to protect their own powers, or The People jealous to protect their liberties, if it gave to the federal government such sweeping powers.

Click here for a replay of this edition of the Ozarks Virtual Town Hall