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Something To Think About

Thursday, February 09, 2006

As to Taxes, they are evidently inseparable from Government. It is impossible without them to pay the debts of the nation, to protect it from foreign danger, or to secure individuals from lawless violence and rapine.
~ Alexander Hamilton (Address to the Electors of the State of New York, March 1801)

Taxes... they are a bane of our existence. They are the necessary evil that has us handing over our money to keep the machine of government going. Without taxes, government would whither and die. Taxes are the life-blood of all governments.

What I found interesting about Hamilton's quote was his qualification of what he considered to be appropriate expenditures by government. If you've spent any time reading the Federalist Papers or the history behind the Constitutional Convention or anything else about the events surrounding the creation of our government, you would know that there was a great argument about what the "proper role of government" would be for the new united States. Some wanted a very small federal government, while others wanted a large central government. The former placed more of the power into the individual State's hands, while the latter placed the power into the national or central government's hands.

But what about the responsibilities of this new government? What were the new duties of this new body? Hamilton knew... as well as anyone else who endorsed the new Constitution with their names. The new federal government was to be limited to but a few tasks that the States were not able to do on their own or that were better left to the federal government. As a matter of fact, he listed them for us:

  • to pay the debts of the nation,
  • to pay to protect the nation from foreign danger, or
  • to secure individuals from lawless violence and rapine.
Odd. I don't see anything in Hamilton's list about a "Social Security" program or even a "Medicare" program or any of the other such social programs our federal government has taken up in it's last 100 years of its existence. Could it be that these types of programs were never suppose to be included in Hamilton's listing of the proper responsibilities of our new government? Is this why these programs are not listed under Article 1, Section 8 of our U.S. Constitution--that Section which enumerates the proper powers of Congress? Finally, let me ask you this. If we had managed to restrain our government to work within these very simple rules that Hamilton listed and those that are enumerated in our Constitution, would we be facing a national debt of over 8 trillion dollars?

I think not!


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