Government by Bureaucrats or Congress is Irrelevant by Keith Snelson - HTML preview

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Chapter 12 Return to the Constitution


“Government is not eloquence, it is not reason. Government is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

George Washington

The Declaration of Independence declares, “We hold these Truths to be self- evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – that to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed,…

It is told that originally Thomas Jefferson had written the word “property” in place of “pursuit of happiness” but since slaves were considered property at that time the word property would have been inappropriate. However, since we no longer have slaves the word property should be a part of that declaration and thus the unalienable rights should be Life, Liberty and Property which will enable us to pursue happiness. If the government will not protect our property then there is little reason to work more than what is required to sustain life. The right to own and have control of your property is as much a right as the right to life and liberty for we are entitled to the fruits of our labor.

As James Madison stated,” in a word, as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights. Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions.”

It is also important to note that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Up to that time governments were instituted to enable kings and rulers to control their subjects.

Democracy had been tried to ancient Greece but was unstable and led to a dictatorship. Representative democracy had been tried in Rome but Caesar had turned it into a dictatorship. Probably the best government had been a tribal government where a family ruled and had been somewhat fair and benevolent. There are still some tribal governments today in Africa and parts of Asia but they are limited in scope and in authority and subject to violent overthrow and instability.

The most common form of government was that of a strong king or ruler who governed through the use of force. His armies were supported by granting lands to his army leaders which enabled them to support their soldiers by taxing the peasants who tilled that land. The king was aware that his wealt h and strength would be increased by adding to that land and so it was common for those kings to wage war and attempt to increase their power and authority.

History seems to be primarily reciting the wars and conflicts that took place throughout the world.

Governments were formed mainly to support the kings and rulers and their main function was to protect themselves through building castles and some infrastructures that enabled them to transport their war equipment and by having large armies. While they employed some servants there was no attempt to provide services to their minions other than protection so those governments were fairly simple.

The Magna Charta in 1215 was one of the first attempts to obtain rights for the people but the kings still controlled the army and had the power to rule. Even though there began to be legislatures to enact laws to protect people the kings were still in charge. It wasn‟t until late in the 17th century that kings tried to keep the loyalty of their subjects and to provide some services to their citizens and even to gain their approval. That even extended to having legislatures elected to pass laws and to have judges to provide justice.

Our founding fathers were aware of the past governments and also of past theories and visions of ideal governments. From their viewpoint governments had been instruments of oppression, slavery and had deprived millions of freedom. In the past century governments have been the most murderous ever even killing their own citizens. Stalin killed over 10 million, Mao somewhere around 60 million and Hitler about 6 million. That doesn‟t count what took place in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Cuba and North Korea among those communist governments.

Our government was one that was limited in its powers and constrained by checks and balances within that government. States retained great powers and within the federal government the functions of legislating, judging, and executing were separated with each of those functions being further restrained by checks given to each function permitting it to restrain the other functions.

Therefore, that government was able to protect life, liberty and property and in the next 150 years we became the strongest, wealthiest, and freest country in the world. However, the last 70 years has seen that government take upon itself many powers that were not in our constitution and the effect has been detrimental to our wealth, strength and freedom. The latest Index of Economic Freedom (2010) rates the United States in the eighth position considering freedom. The largest reason for the drop was due to losses in financial and monetary freedom (due to our Federal Reserve) and worsening of property rights.

With FD Roosevelt the government was increased to include functions never anticipated by our founding fathers. LB Johnson did his part in adding to the government as well and the last ten years has been especially bad for us. At the turn of the century the USA was producing 32 percent of the world‟s gross domestic product and had a relatively low debt in relation to our output with one of the lowest rates of unemployment in the world. At the end of this decade we produced 24 percent of the world‟s GDP (which still is nearly three times that of anyone else), had a deficit of 10 percent of GDP, an unemployment rate of 10 percent and our dollar had lost half of its value against the euro. In spite of our wealth of natural resources we are dependent upon foreign countries for our energy and our situation is worsening.

Something is very, very wrong. We are still the same people, capable of great actions but it is our government that is holding us back. It needs to be changed and we need to return to the system that brought greatness to us and that system was built around our constitution. We must overturn the socialism we have adopted and return to the constitution.

Article 1, section 1 of the constitution reads, ”All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” That is the way our constitution starts and it somehow seems important that this is the very first statement of the constitution. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution states, “Congress shall have the Power… To make all laws…

For many years those two statements were considered to be a limitation upon any other departments or agencies and prevented any one else from passing laws. The reason that all of the agencies and departments that have been created by our Congress can function as independent governments exercising the functions of the executive, legislative and judicial is because of the Whitman v. American Trucking Assoc. Inc ruling from the Supreme Court. That ruling empowered agencies within our federal government to issue rules that had the effect of laws and then determine if the laws are being met (judging) and then assessing fines or judgments.

Now all that these agencies need to do is to write rules and have them published in the Federal Register (which grows by around 77,000 pages each year) and with that legislative power they also can judge and exercise the functions of the executive branch of government.

Our presidents have also assumed legislative powers through the use of Executive Orders and “signing statements” and so our Congress has given up much of its powers and turned those powers over to others.

Now our unelected bureaucrats can exercise the legislative power that was originally given to the Congress. Those unelected bureaucrats can not be removed for incompetence by the electorate and so we now have a different government than was given to us by our constitution.

One of our founding fathers, James Madison, in The Federalist No. 47, states,

“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”

And indeed there are many instances which will be cited hereafter where that is the case. Our bureaucrats now make more laws than our Congress and are not responsible to our citizens for their actions. They also exercise judicial and executive responsibilities as well. We are being governed by those bureaucrats and that is much of the reason for our problems.

We have several departments and over 300 agencies that write laws. . Congress does not review them, discuss or debate them nor vote on them. We have laws written by bureaucrats which are as “legal” as any laws passed by Congress. In addition, those bureaucrats can judge whether their rules are being followed and assess fines and penalties to those they believe are not in compliance. Those fined are permitted to sue to reverse the rulings. Thus, our citizens and businesses are forced to fight against the government rules issued by these bureaucrats.

During the Bush Administration the Federal Register has climbed by more than 10,000 pages bringing the total to over 78,000 pages. The number of regulatory personnel has increased by 66,000 and that total number is now 241,000. Much to our sorrow they are working and writing laws that interfere with our lives and freedoms. A recent report on the pay of the government employees would lead us to calculate that those additional bureaucrats added around $66 billion to the government‟s payroll and there would naturally be additional offices, desks, phones and insurance for each of them. Do you really believe that the value they added to our country is worth that? In fact, they probably do more harm than good.

They add tremendous amounts to our government expenses and also huge amounts to the costs of our businesses. In many cases their removal would be appropriate and in other cases the functions they perform and regulate should be done by the states for each state is somewhat different from the others.

In most cases those departments and agencies are unconstitutional for they are not in the constitution and according to the 10th amendment should be under state jurisdiction. The 10th amendment reads,” “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.”

Thus, the solution to many of our bureaucratic problems could be solved by following the constitution and removing them from the federal government and letting the states adopt them if they wished. That is the main purpose of this book – to return to the constitution and especially follow the statement in article 1, section 1 of the constitution which reads, ”All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” Unlike our bureaucrats that Congress is responsible to the electorate and can be removed by them when appropriate.

If those bureaucratic groups are performing functions that are deemed proper and are not listed in our Constitution then the state governments can elect to adopt the functions performed and they can be removed from the federal government at a tremendous saving to our country and an increase in our freedoms.