Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A challenge to Senator Mike Lee of Utah

On 3 Jan, Laura Ingraham interviewed newly elected Senator Mike Lee of Utah. Among the things discussed was the enactment of a balanced-budget amendment. I am troubled when I hear anyone, especially a politician who styles himself a constitutionalist, talk of a balance budget amendment. Why? Because a balanced-budget does not address the real problem: An out-of-control, expensive, and inefficient government.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the federal government took about 15% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in 1950. Today, the federal government hogs nearly 20% of GDP and is projected to take 40% of GDP by 2075! Why does the government need so much money today and even more tomorrow? It needs that money to do things which it is not constitutionally authorized to do (see Article One, Section Eight) -- things which the 10th Amendment clearly states are functions of the States and of the people themselves.

Any balanced-budget amendment must include a strict limit on the size and cost of government and a concrete plan to get there. I propose that limit be set no higher than 10% of GDP -- preferably at 5%. I propose that the plan include:
• Conduct an audit of all federal laws, rules, policies, agencies, programs, and judicial rulings to identify everything that exceeds the authority given to the federal government through the original intent of the US Constitution or which violate the natural rights of man.
• Immediately repeal all laws, rules, policies, and judicial rulings identified by the above audit as unconstitutional.
• Phase out and prohibit all unconstitutional agencies and programs within 10 years.
• Require every member of Congress to personally read each bill and pass a comprehensive test on the content of that bill before every vote. Any congressman who fails the test must be restricted from voting on that bill.
• Congress must write our laws -- not delegate that responsibility to unaccountable, unseen bureaucrats.
• Limit all legislation to one subject per bill. If a law, program, or project cannot stand on its own merit, it must not be attached to another must-pass bill!
• Impose a 10-year sunset on all new legislation.
• Immediately stop funding state and local agencies, programs, and projects while eliminating and prohibiting all federal mandates imposed on state and local governments and on the people.
• Restore to private enterprise activities that should be or which formerly were in the free market (ie airport security screening).
• Get government out of activities which are best served by charity such as care for the poor or those without health insurance.
• Repeal the 17th Amendment (direct election of US Senators by popular vote).
• Repeal the 16th Amendment (income tax). If the federal government would stay within the limits defined by the Constitution, it simply does not need this source of revenue!
• Stop bailing out businesses and people who are failures!
• Comply with Article Four, Section Four of the US Constitution by protecting the States from the ongoing invasion of illegal immigrants with no amnesty in any form whatsoever for those already here.
If Congress would take these steps, I suspect that the federal government would function quite well on 10% of GPD -- perhaps even less.

I must remind every member of Congress of his oath of office:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
Every member of Congress has sworn to be faithful to the Constitution -- not to a political party, party leaders, a party platform, a personal agenda, political popularity, lobbyists, or especially to the president! Properly-placed loyalty among congressmen is all that is needed to restore the government to its rightful place, size, and cost.

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