What to Do – Part III

What to Do? – Part III

Since FDR’s New Deal, the general government in Washington has grown into an insufferable Medusa.  To “slay” this “Medusa” (and no, I’m not suggesting destroying our government) so that it becomes the small, constitutionally limited government it was created to be will require more than just stopping spending (What to Do – Part I) and eliminating unconstitutional and overlapping agencies that have been created over the past 70 years (What to Do – Part II) .

To rein in these agencies we must get to the source of the power these agencies have over our lives, namely the repeal of the Administrative Procedure Act of 1946.  You may not have heard of this legislation, but it was what gave life to the regulatory, enforcement and adjudication powers of these myriad agencies that we seek to eliminate.  The Act provides the procedural guidelines that all agencies are expected to follow in two major areas – rulemaking (which is nothing more than legislating) and adjudication (which is simply rendering judicial decisions regarding the rules they have promulgated).  The Act requires that public notice be given for public comment and input before implementing any proposed new regulation, and Congress, by the passage of a joint resolution,  has the authority to disapprove any such proposed rule within 60 days of its finalization.

There are several problems with this Act which should make any constitutionally-minded member of Congress eager to support its repeal.  First and foremost, it is the very embodiment of James Madison’s definition of tyranny:

“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…the preservation of liberty requires that the three great departments of power should be separate and distinct” (The Federalist Papers, No.  47).

As pointed out above, in passing the APA Congress granted all three of these powers into the hands of these agencies.

Second, as these regulations are given the standing of law, enforced as law, and we are judged against them as though they are law, the Act violates the Constitution and thereby should have been stricken down before the ink of President Truman’s signature on it had dried.  Article I Section 1 of the Constitution begins by stating that “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States”.  Article II Section 1 begins “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.”  Article III Section 1 similarly leads off by stating “The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.”   The language in these three sections are very clear – in no wise are these powers to be shared between the three branches or some other entity, period!  For these agencies to hold all three powers indisputably places them in violation of the Constitution.

Third, as far as public notice and Congressional review goes, consider these facts.  In 2014 alone the Obama Administration issued 75,000 pages of new regulations.  In the first three days of 2014, the Feds released 141 new regulations, and since Obama became president there have been 21,000 new regulations issued as of December 2014.  What citizen, much less representative or senator,  can  possibly have time to review such a mountain of rules?

So here is the next step in the process of reducing spending and cutting our government back to its constitutional limits:  repeal of the APA, return the responsibility of legislative action to the Congress, and either pass real legislation revoking the unconstitutionally created regulations these agencies have created over the years or simply proclaim them to no longer be in force as they were not law to begin with.  That will be a huge task to accomplish, but again, freedom and the restoration of our liberties is worth the effort.

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What to Do? – Part II

In last week’s essay I set forth the first step in reining in our government’s appetite for spending, namely to simply stop the spending.  By freezing the amount of spending the steps necessary to solve the root problem, i.e. unconstitutional financing, could then be implemented.  Politicians never “cut” spending – they merely cut the amount of increase in their spending, and by reducing the increase they tell us that total spending has been reduced when in fact it has continued to go up.

Once the freeze is in place the matter of prioritizing and examining what the government is constitutionally authorized to collect taxes for and spend those funds on can begin.  There is an unbelievable number of agencies/departments all with their sub-departments that are not within the purview of government, and these must be eliminated.  The question is, how best to go about this process?

As much as I would like to say “just eliminate them completely, immediately”, I am realistic enough to recognize that such a step is not only economically unwise, but politically impossible.  So once these agencies/departments have been identified (e.g., the departments of agriculture, energy, education, commerce) they should then be prioritized on the basis of which ones are having the most negative impact on the economy (e.g. the EPA) and which can be most quickly eliminated with the least negative impact on the economy.  We must realize that in downsizing the government by eliminating these agencies there will have to be an adjustment period for those who have been addicted to their funds.

When these are prioritized, a determination would be made on just how much each one could be reduced.  I would propose that each one be reduced by twenty percent every year so that by the end of a five year adjustment period, they will be completely gone; this way the states and others will have had time to adjust to the changes.  These reductions would be announced the year before they are to begin so that states, cities, counties, et al would be given sufficient notice and could begin making preparations for the changes.

As these reductions are taking place, then other steps would need to be implemented simultaneously to ease the transition and boost the economy.  I’ll address some of those next week.  I acknowledge that what I’ve set forth this week (albeit very briefly) will be neither easy nor painless.  However, if we are serious about securing our future from economic ruin and political collapse in which our freedom and liberties will be lost, then these first two steps (and the ones to follow) must be taken.

-September 18, 2015

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What to Do? – Part I

In my last essay I pointed out the reasons why an amendment to our Constitution for a balanced budget is both unwise and ineffective.  So I’m asked, what do you propose is the solution to the run-away spending of our government and the debt it is piling up?  As I stated then the problem is not spending per se, but spending on many things the government is not constitutionally authorized to finance (you can read some of the previous essays I’ve written here – I’ve written over 200 during the past 5 years and eventually hope to post more of them:  http://frankkuchar.com/).

There are numerous afflictions propelling us into this abyss that must be addressed.   My discussion in this essay and a few more to come will obviously be just a brief listing of suggestions that I think must be implemented to achieve financial stability and a return to fiscal soundness in our government .  In addition, they will not be easy to implement nor painless as it will require political will and courage, two things sorely lacking in both our country’s leadership and many in our citizenry.

The first step in any situation where a family, business or country is living beyond its means is to simply stop spending.  Obviously, to stop all unauthorized spending immediately is not realistic nor healthy as it would cause a gargantuan economic upheaval.  Yet, if we do not stop it soon, that upheaval will occur and it will be even more cataclysmic.


To achieve this as quickly as possible Congress should begin by freezing all spending at our current levels (at a minimum) if not cutting back to a lower level.  Next would be a prioritizing of what needs to be funded, based upon constitutional authority.  Some of these areas could be subject to modest increases as needed (e.g., defense, border security/immigration).

Included in this process would be the elimination of all government subsidies for businesses and industries.  This would include for example subsidies for the ethanol industry, these so-called “green companies” (like Solyndra and boondoggles of that ilk), corporate bailouts and guarantees, the Import/Export bank, etc.

This would give only slight relief, but would provide time to pause and put the brakes on our headlong rush into economic ruin, while the  other steps are put in place to not only slow our descent but to then begin reversing our course and climbing out of this hole our leaders have put us in.  That’s the starting point; a simple step but one that will be oh so hard for leadership to take and for the recipients who are addicted to that spending to accept.

-September 11, 2015


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Balanced Budget Amendment – Good or Bad Idea?

Whenever people become desperate, any idea that comes along and sounds like a good approach to a problem  and offers an easy and quick fix, it is something that gains wide appeal.  This month Congress will be debating the next fiscal year’s budget and whether or not to lift the debt ceiling, and if they raise it, the cry for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution will crescendo.  But is it the right answer?  Will it deliver as promised, or is it instead a bad idea that sounds good to a citizenry desperate to rein in a government whose spending is out-of-control?

In a word, my answer to whether we should have a balanced budget amendment is “NO”!  To explain why we must first understand the problem we are attempting to solve.  Our problem as a country is not government spending, nor a lack of money flowing into the government coffers.  Our problem is our government spending money on things for which it has no authority to finance.  You cannot read our founders without repeatedly hearing the message that the new government they were forming in the Constitution was to be small and limited and therefore not in need of gargantuan sums of money.  If the national government confine itself to its enumerated powers listed in the Constitution, the tax burden at the national level would be drastically reduced, there would be no deficit, and we could begin digging our way out of the pit of indebtedness we find ourselves in.

What makes a balanced budget amendment a bad idea is it does nothing to address this problem.  Instead, it would do just the opposite.  Every version I have read of a proposed amendment to balance the federal  budget fails in that it does not point us back to the limitations imposed upon the government by the Constitution.  Instead it “constitutionalizes” all of the unauthorized spending currently in the budget.  It would allow the government to spend money on anything it wants so long as the budget “cap” is not breached.

Furthermore, if the limitations imposed upon the government in regards to its sphere of operations is so routinely ignored, then by what logic can we expect those in power to observe a constitutional limit on spending?  In other words, if they brush aside the restrictions on what they can spend money on, is it likely they will abide by the restrictions on how much they can spend?  These proposed amendments all have a loophole that would allow for exceeding the imposed limit, and history tells us that those in Congress would take advantage of it.

There are other ways to approach this problem that space in an essay as this is not conducive to exposition.  I will consider laying out in future newsletters what I would suggest as a solution that would solve the problem.  However, it is a solution that will not come without pain and will require a great amount of political will and courage, both on us and our leaders in all levels of government.  Suffice it to say, the idea of a balanced budget amendment will not only fail in its intended purpose, but will codify all that is wrong with government’s approach to spending; but like all such ideas, it is the “chicken” way out – a path that skirts shouldering responsibility and statesmanship.

– September 4, 2015

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