Utah Homemakers for America Weekly Newsletter Jan 25th 2008...
This Week in Politics by Tiffany Hess
The Law of Unintended Consequences
Something I wish our representatives would consider more often is the law of unintended consequences. When our Founding Fathers wrote our Constitution, they limited government to keep us free and to keep government out of our way. Our government was meant to do some very simple things. In his First Inaugural Address in 1801, Thomas Jefferson said, "A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement."
The Constitution does not mention anything about the social welfare programs that cost not just in tax dollars, but in real liberty. There is no mention of health care, D.A.R.E., or providing for the poor, not that the Founders didn't believe in social welfare, they just didn't believe in Federal or even State level social programs, but felt that those things were best handled by private citizens at the local level.
Benjamin Franklin wrote, "Repeal that [welfare] law, and you will soon see a change in their manners. ... Six days shalt thou labor, though one of the old commandments long treated as out of date, will again be looked upon as a respectable precept; industry will increase, and with it plenty among the lower people; their circumstances will mend, and more will be done for their happiness by inuring them to provide for themselves, than could be done by dividing all your estates among them." (On the Price of Corn, and Management of the Poor, London Chronicle, November 29, 1766)
The social programs of today have enslaved the poor by providing them just enough to keep them chained to poverty and claimed so
many that the heavy chains of the poor are dragging down the middle classes as well.
Liberals are long criticized for their social spending, but conservatives have spent a fair bit as well. One way they spend is by involving government where government does not belong. An example is the newly established health care program in Massachusetts. In a re-cent Wall Street Journal Editorial (RomneyCare Revisited: What Massachusetts voters knew about health reform. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703837004575013080421218008.html), the journal reports that, "In 2006, then GOP Governor Mitt Romney brought about a universal insurance plan that bears an uncanny resemblance to ObamaCare—and a meticulous new study confirms that the result has been high costs in return for minimal benefits..." and that, "...although Mr. Romney promised that his plan would lower costs, the liberal Commonwealth Fund reports that Massachusetts insurance costs have climbed anywhere from 21% to 46% faster than the U.S. average since 2005. Employer-sponsored premiums are now the highest in the nation." The costs are crippling.
Our Founders wrestled with the same problems. In a Letter to Samuel Kercheval, Monticello, July 12, 1816 Thomas Jefferson wrote, "We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debt, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our calling and our creeds...[we will] have no time to think, no means of calling our miss-managers to account but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring our-selves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers...
And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for[ another]... till the bulk of society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery... And the fore-horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression."
No matter the good that government may intend to do, the voters must not allow government to "assist" in selling cars or homes, to regulate the use of energy in a private residences, to break contracts, to determine pay. The government does this badly and in a costly fashion further enslaving the tax payer. Legislators need to consider not just the ideal outcome of a piece of legislation, they must square it with The Constitution, then they must not just look at the good, but what is the worst consequence of a pro-posed law. Can it further burden the tax payer, can it further deteriorate personal freedom?
Founder’s Corner: Benjamin Franklin
" .. as all history informs us, there has been in every State & Kingdom a constant kind of warfare between the governing & governed: the one striving to obtain more for its support, and the other to pay less. And this has alone occasioned great convulsions, actual civil wars, ending either in dethroning of the Princes, or enslaving of the people. Generally indeed the ruling power carries its point, the revenues of princes constantly in-creasing, and we see that they are never satisfied, but always in want of more. The more the people are discontented with the oppression of taxes; the greater need the prince has of money to distribute among his partisans and pay the troops that are to suppress all resistance, and enable him to plunder at pleasure. There is scarce a king in a hundred who would not, if he could, follow the example of Pharaoh, get first all the peoples money, then all their lands, and then make them and their children servants for ever... ~Benjamin Franklin before the Constitutional Convention, (June 2, 1787)