By Dr. Harold Pease
It is said that the casualties of this presidential election in order were the toppling of the Bush dynasty, the Clinton dynasty, and the nullification of the Obama legacy. At the top, however, is a rejection of socialism. No two presidential candidates have been more socialistic than Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, and half of America voted for socialism. Keeping Obamacare and instituting “free college” would have made it very difficult to argue that we had not become a socialist country. This is despite the harsh lessons of our socialist beginnings.
This Thanksgiving Day we think of the Pilgrims enjoying abundant food, but this was not their real reality. Few will mention the starving times the first year in 1620 when half died of starvation. Harvests were not bountiful in that year and the next two. Plymouth was beset by laziness and thievery. William Bradford, the governor of the colony, in his History of Plymouth Plantation reported that “much was stolen both by night and day” to alleviate the prevailing condition of hunger. The mythical “feast” of the first Thanksgiving did fill their bellies briefly, he reported, and they were grateful, but abundance was anything but common. Why did this happen? Because they had fallen victim to the socialistic philosophy of “share the wealth.” This dis-incentivized the productive base of society.
Then suddenly, as though night changed to day, the crop of 1623 was bounteous, and those thereafter as well, and it had nothing to do with the weather. Bradford wrote, “Instead of famine now God gave them plenty and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God.” He concluded later, “any general want or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day.”
One variable alone made the difference and ended the three-year famine. They abandoned the notion of government (or corporation) owning the means of production and distribution in favor of the individual having property and being responsible to take care of himself. Before, no one benefited by working because he received the same compensation as those who did not. After the change everyone kept the benefits of his labor. Those who chose not to work basically chose also to be poor and the government (corporation) no longer confiscated from those who produced to give to those who did not. No government food stamps here.
Ironically all this could have been avoided had Plymouth consulted history and communicated with their neighboring colony, some distance south of them, who had previously been down the same trail. Jamestown too was first a socialist society where each produced according to his ability and received according to his need, which, of course, affected supply. One cannot divide what does not exist. Our textbooks tell us that only one of twelve survived the first two years for precisely the same reason, starvation. The problem, as noted by Tom Bethel in his work The Noblest Triumph: Property and Prosperity through the Ages, was identified by an unnamed participant as “want of providence, industrie and government, and not the barenness and defect of the Countrie.”
Captain John Smith is credited with having saved the floundering colony by his “no workie, no eatie” government program (once again, the Virginia Company was the government) and was hated for it. Addicted to the promise of getting something for nothing, even if it is always less than promised, the receiving part of the population will always oppose their not getting their “fair share.” Sound familiar? Captain Smith was eventually carted off to England in chains as fast as the parasitic population could do so. Once again, why? Philip A. Bruce in his Economic History of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century, p. 121 called it agricultural socialism. “The settlers did not have even a modified interest in the soil…. Everything produced by them went into the store, in which they had no proprietorship.” When settlers finally were allowed to own their own property, and keep what they produced, things changed over night.
Colony Secretary Ralph Hamor wrote of incoming prosperity, beginning in 1614, after ownership of land was allowed. “When our people were fed out of the common store, and labored jointly together, glad was he [who] could slip from his labor, or slumber over his tasks he cared not how, nay, the most honest among them would hardly take so much true pains in a week, as now for themselves they will do in a day, neither cared they for the increase, presuming that however the harvest prospered, the general store must maintain them, so that we reaped not so much corn from the labors of thirty as now three or four do provide for themselves.”
This Thanksgiving let us be grateful for the prosperity that we have—even the poorest among us. Jamestown and Plymouth set us upon a course that recognized that prosperity requires incentive to flourish and that the profit motive stimulates industry. We are so grateful that, having recognized the poison of “the share the wealth” philosophy, they purged it from their midst and proceeded to make America the most prosperous country on earth.
We remain mostly a socialist country but the plunge deeper has been avoided for now and we have a chance to set a new course distancing ourselves more fully from it, as did they. Will we be so smart? Let us share this message at the table as we feast upon turkey and pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving Day so that our children will know how prosperity is really produced.
Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.
By Dr. Harold Pease
With elections signs all around it might be well to be reminded that it is unrealistic to expect national candidates to follow the Constitution when we did not insist that they did so in state, county and city offices. After all, many simply move up to higher office. Some may even view the Constitution as irrelevant at these levels.
Several years ago in California at a public debate for county supervisor the public was invited to offer questions in writing. I did so and watched the monitor of the debate, with a puzzled look on his face sideline my question in preference to others. I presumed it was because it had something to do with the Constitution, which, unfortunately, is considered by many an irrelevant topic at the city, county, or even state level. You are supposed to ask what “goodies” from taxpayer funding are you going to give me and is it more than your opponent?
So what does the Constitution have to do with local or state issues? Everything!! First, it is the only document that every single elected public servant swears to uphold. So the Founders must have thought it relevant at every level.
Second, candidates at lower levels successfully rise to higher levels because of the name recognition obtained at lower levels and eventually become members of the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, often without ever having read the Constitution they are specifically under oath to protect. When I worked as a legislative assistant in the U.S. Senate some years ago, I was certain at least 50% had never read it at any level of government. Today I would be surprised if those who had read it exceeded 10%. But no one asks candidates, even while campaigning at the highest levels, when they last read it.
So again, why does this matter? Historically, the two enemies of freedom are: 1) it is the nature of all governments to pull decision making power upward to the seat of government and, 2) the more apathetic and indifferent the population becomes the greater the tendency of the people to push decision making power upwards to the seat of government. When these two forces work together it always leads to the central government eventually having most of the power. The Constitution is full of “handcuffs” to keep decision-making power from getting to the top thus maximizing it with the individual. The Founders overriding philosophy of government, if it could be penned into one sentence, was, “never elevate to a higher level that which can be resolved at a lesser level.”
Even a casual look at the Constitution reveals the separation of powers on the federal level into three distinct branches the legislative, executive, and judicial—each with a specific list. For Congress it was a list of the four types of law they could make (Art. I, Sec. 8), for the president it was the types of executive functions he could execute (Art. II, Sec. 2-3), and for the Supreme Court the types of cases it could adjudicate (Art. III, Sec. 2). The lists exist to both restrict them and to prohibit the concentration of power into one branch. The only type of federal government authorized by the Founders was decidedly a limited one. States, counties, and cities have all the powers not listed, as per Amendment 10.
When these limitations are not understood and protected at lower levels of government, the federal government is constantly tempted to steal authority from the states or counties as per its confiscating environmental, health, and education issues, which are constitutionally 100% non federal government issues. States, counties, and cities should use the Tenth Amendment to tell the federal government to “butt out.” “You have no constitutional authority.” When Congress passed, and the President signed into law, the National Defense Authorization Act, December 31, 2012, both states and counties should have written Congress and the President. “You do not have the right to void Amendments 4, 5, 6, and 8, of The Bill of Rights and the Writ of Habeas Corpus for our citizens. The military shall not arrest any of our citizens.”
It comes to this. Sixty years ago it may not have made much difference if a county supervisor/commissioner, or city councilman, swore allegiance to a Constitution that he had not fully studied, or worse, even read. The federal government had not yet absorbed his area of jurisdiction. Now it has! There is hardly an area where the federal government does not have its tentacles embedded, from school lunches to cross gender bathrooms. Over thirty years ago a city councilman complained to me that a third of what he voted on was already mandated because sometime in the past the council had accepted the “free money” which now obligated him. School districts are notorious for having done the same thing.
City, county, and state leaders, you are our buffer from the federal government taking from you your areas of jurisdiction. They have done so for many years because you were complacent in it, or ignorant of the Constitution. Consequently you have lost a large portion of our liberty. Today your understanding of the document must be known BEFORE we place you in power.
This election let us find leaders with Constitutional fire in their bellies to undo the precedents that their predecessors created. All issues on the city and county level are directly or indirectly constitutional issues. We now expect leaders to know, and abide by, the document that they swear to uphold.
By Harold Pease, Ph. D
States should not sue the federal Government to obtain rights they already have under the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution because doing so undermines—potentially to oblivion—that Amendment. It 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.”
The proper constitutional state response to the Obama directive of May 12, 2016, allowing transgender students in public schools to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity, should be to ignore it and forward a letter to the president reminding him that transgender bathrooms, or anything like unto them, are nowhere listed in the enumerated powers of the Constitution Article I, Section, 8 and have not been added by way of amendment.
States using the 10th Amendment should also encourage other states to do the same thing. If the eleven states presently suing the federal government for abuse of power instead took this course, the president would back off—proportionally, more so, as states refusing compliance on constitutional grounds, enlarged. This approach not only does not allow the federal government to weaken the 10th Amendment, but frees the state from costly litigation and the schools from costly implementation. Resolvement is also immediate. Progression through the lower courts to the Supreme Court takes years for resolvement, which is not likely to happen in the Obama Administration. While we wait the administrative objective is, in effect, fait accompli.
The choice to litigate rather than use the 10th Amendment not only implies that the federal government might have some measure of jurisdiction but allows a federal branch of that government sole power to decide. Rare has been the modern Supreme Court decision that limits federal power or protects the separation of power between the federal government and state government. Consider recent decisions on national health care, also not an enumerated power and therefore 100% a state power. State protection of state sovereignty becomes impossible should the Court rule against suing states. States will have neutralized themselves.
Those advocating the litigation process have forgotten the role of federalism in our republic—that two governments, one primarily for foreign affairs, the other for domestic affairs, each coequal, were established in the Constitution. This was the first separation of powers—those not specifically given by the states to the Federal Government belonged to the states. It supersedes the second division of power that of the creation of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches in the Constitution, which then divides the power left to the federal government. The Founders viewed the enumeration of responsibilities in the three branches they created as sufficient.
Fortunately the states, fearing a future over-reaching federal government, insisted on an amendment in the Bill of Rights restating what was then the obvious, before they would ratifying the Constitution. This, in order to protect more fully the separation that had been established—their right to be coequal—thus the 10th Amendment to the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson explained it best when he said, “The states are not subordinate to the national government but rather the two are coordinate departments of one single and integral whole…. The one is domestic the other the foreign branch of the same government.”
The Supreme Court serves a very important role as the umpire in keeping the division of power between the three branches separate but cannot nullify or adjudicate to oblivion the first separation of power, that between the two coequal governments. If a power is not enumerated in the Constitution, having been given to the federal government by consent of the states, in a process outlined in Article V, it belongs to the state and no decision of the Supreme Court can change this. Keep in mind that judicial review, now the peg post to hang most Supreme Court decisions, was not effectively established until Marbury vs. Madison in 1803, thirteen years after the Constitution went into effect and long after the establishment of State authority to nullify federal over-reach.
Perhaps Alexander Hamilton said it best when he wrote that every act outside of enumerated authority is contrary to the Constitution and thus is void. Hamilton continues, “There is no position which depends on clearer principles, than that every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid. To deny this, would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers, may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid” (The Federalist, No. 78, p. 467).
Again, States should not sue the federal government over transgender bathrooms or anything else to obtain rights they already have under the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution. What they need instead are governors and legislatures with a better understanding of the document and “fire in their bellies” to protect the Constitution they have sworn by oath to preserve. The federal directive for transgender bathrooms is the most outrageous abuse of the enumeration clause of the Constitution ever and therefore the most likely abuse to gain public support for state nullification. It is passed time to use the Tenth. Have we governors that will do it?
By Harold Pease, Ph. D
A federal judge just ruled that Congress never appropriated the funding for the cost-sharing reductions in Obamacare. Judge Rosemary Collyer, citing Article I, Section 7, Clause 1, “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives…” reminding the President that “Congress is the only source for such an appropriation, and no public money can be spent without one.”
Apparently, President Barack Obama realizing that his program to fund those unable to afford healthcare unless subsidized by the taxpayer, like food stamps, had not been appropriated by the House of Representatives, as required by the Constitution, defiantly looked for ways to do it anyway. That body denied his request that they do so in their fiscal 2014 budget. Rather than accept the fact that this is the only body that can approve expenditures constitutionally, the President began to pour billions into it, in effect raising revenue. Since the inception of nationalized healthcare the House had voted more than 70 times for its repeal so subsidizing what they considered a failed program was not going to happen. When, through executive orders Obama funded it anyway, House Speaker John Boehner filed a lawsuit challenging the executive branch’s ability to alter legislation once approved by Congress.
The judge’s ruling to stop further reimbursements to insurance companies who reduced health insurance for those thought to be unable to pay in exchange for the government’s promise to pay the difference out of tax funds, is delayed while the case is appealed to the D. C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Affected are approximately 57% of the people who signed up (estimated 5 million) for coverage through the federal exchange web page. Without the subsidies healthcare costs will rise substantially, although the taxpayer should get a break.
There are few parts of the Constitution more clear than, “All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.” This means that any law, which extracts money from the backs of the American worker, can only originate from the House.
So why should you care if the president defies this small part of the Constitution? For thousands of years, until the Constitution, governments taxed their citizens whenever and whatever they wished. The people had no say. If the Egyptian Pharaoh wanted bricks without straw from the Israelites, for instance, so be it. Rulers lived lavishly off the wealth extracted from their poor subjects with little or no mercy toward them—lavish physical structures and frivolous wars of conquest were too often the norm. The Founders wisely took this power from the rich and gave it to the poor themselves by requiring that the poor, then the majority, had to consent to any taxation over them. The power to tax is the only constitutional power exclusively given to the masses. The House of Representatives was the only branch of government designed to actually represent them as it is based upon population. The Senate was to represent the states, the people only indirectly.
As far as I know the United States is the only country in world history that had this protection from their government placing its tax base with the masses that pay the taxes. It is a priceless freedom. If we are over-taxed in the United States we have chosen to be and one body alone is responsible—The House of Representatives. And, if over-taxed, a correction by the masses can follow quickly as all members of this body come up for reelection on the same date—every two years.
No tax can constitutionally originate with the President or the Supreme Court, not even the Senate, although it can modify as on other bills once originated by the House. The House is also in charge of spending—even defunding something previously funded. The power of the purse (both taxing and spending) is one of the most important powers of the Constitution. We must not let this freedom dwindle or allow the line between the two legislative branches to be blurred into oblivion.
Addressing this subject James Madison, the father of the Constitution, observed, “This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.” The U.S. Constitution mandates that “the House of Representatives cannot only refuse, but they alone can propose the supplies requisite for the support of government.” This power alone he added, “can overcome all the overgrown prerogatives of the other branches of the government. They, in a word, hold the purse… (The Federalist 58).”
This may seem like a small thing but the people really do not want to surrender their freedom from excessive taxation, which, prior to this constitutional clause did not exist. No president should take this power unto himself by obligating the House through his defiant spending in opposition to existing law prohibiting such. Losing this is serious because, once gone, it is unlikely to be retrieved. Thank God Judge Rosemary Collyer understood this. Hopefully the D. C. Circuit Court of Appeals will as well when appealed to by the President.
Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 25 years at Taft College.
By Harold Pease, Ph. D
Liberty Under Fire has examined the candidates for president as to their intention to give first consideration in problem solving to the Constitution. Many of the problems now facing this nation and the expensive, time-consuming lawsuits to bring the Barack Obama administration in line with it, are due to his not following the Constitution. Our current constitutional crisis is more serious than any other concern, including ISIS.
Our readers in Iowa and New Hampshire, who will be expressing themselves very soon in the first two presidential primaries, should know that defending the Constitution must be first priority in this Presidential election. Constitutional integrity will solve our problems very nicely. Another four years without such may leave the Constitution so defiled as to not be recoverable.
To our many Democrat friends, your party has provided much historical strength especially in upholding Amendments 1, 4, 5, and 8 of the Bill of Rights. In the 20th Century your greatest contribution was in extending equality to blacks. Today most blacks support your party in appreciation. But in four Democratic sponsored presidential debates not one of your candidates (Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley) even spoke of our present constitutional crisis. Not one of them gave any indication that it would be considered in problem solving. Indeed, more taxes and more government—even government by decree—was always their remedy.
Unfortunately, the Republican solution to problem solving is only mildly better. They too problem solve with high taxes and unlimited government. They too abandoned the concepts of a republic and federalism years ago. They too pay no attention to the list of appropriate areas of legislation in Article I, Section 8 and Amendments 9 and 10 that gives all power not identified in the Constitution to the states. Republican presidents too, with their executive orders, usurp the powers of Congress as the only lawmaking body. A President Trump’s executive orders would differ from a President Hillary Clinton’s only in that his would be “good ones rather than bad ones,” as Trump explained.
On Second Amendment issues all the Republicans candidates are better than any of the Democratic candidates. Remember, Amendments cannot constitutionally be changed by warping its original meaning or by any law made by Congress or by executive order. If it needs to be changed that can only happen by another amendment and that requires 3/4th of the states to approve as per Article V.
On abortion issues Carly Fiorina has the most constitutional response, it should be returned to the states. There exists no language in the Constitution giving the practice national authority and as such constitutionally falls under the 10th Amendment. Ted Cruz, however, has the most actual experience in court with respect to preserving constitutional integrity on the subject. All others say that they are pro-life but would use national power to enforce that view.
With respect to the management of our currency, constitutionally given only to Congress with no authority for them to hand it off to the banking elite who most benefit by its management, most republican candidates are critical but in favor of the Federal Reserve. Only Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio demand that the books be opened to Congress, Cruz and Rubio cosponsoring Paul’s legislation to do just this.
There exists no constitutional language whatever giving the federal government any say in health issues. As such it is a state issue as per Amendment 10. All Republican presidential candidates say that they oppose Obamacare but what they would do about it as president differs. Least likely to do anything about it is Jeb Bush. Most likely to work to have it totally repealed is Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. Trump and Rubio would repeal and replace. Replace means a Republican version of the same thing, which would be just as unconstitutional as that of Obama’s healthcare.
Candidates most likely to reverse Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty order are Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. Candidates least likely to do so are Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Chris Christie. Only Cruz and Trump have the correct constitutional interpretation of the 14th Amendment dealing with immigration.
On the Trans- Pacific Partnership Treaty most Republican Presidential candidates are in favor with Marco Rubio referring to it as being “a pillar of his presidency.”
Trump calls it as a “disaster” and “pathetic.” Rand Paul opposes it because it was done in secret and was unavailable to the people. Only Ted Cruz talks about opposition to it on constitutional grounds.
With respect to 4th Amendment issues of privacy and NSA surveillance on Americans, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz each sponsored legislation in opposition to it or limiting of its practice. Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee think spying on our own citizens without a warrant is unconstitutional. Others support or at least do not voice opposition to the practice.
In these instances, and many more, the presidential candidate presently defending the Constitution, and most likely to use the Constitution in problem solving as president, is clearly Ted Cruz, with Rand Paul a close second. Least likely include Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich and Marco Rubio.
By Harold Pease, Ph. D
On October 26, 2015, the Pacific Legal Foundation filed a new challenge with the Supreme Court contending that ObamaCare violates the Constitution that requires all tax-raising bills to originate in the House of Representatives. They argue that it was raised by the Senate who took an unrelated House bill to aid veterans, gutted it, and replaced it with their own ObamaCare language; a charge that has not been denied.
At issue is Article I, Section 7 of the U. S. Constitution, known as the Origination Clause, that reads: “all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.” This means that any law, which extracts money from the American people, can only come from the House. The problem is The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, originated in the U.S. Senate not in the House as constitutionally required and is now one of the largest tax bills in U.S. History.
So why does this matter, a tax is a tax? For thousands of years governments taxed their citizens with no limits. Rulers lived lavishly off the wealth extracted from their poor subjects with little or no mercy toward them—lavish physical structures and frivolous wars of conquest were too often the norm. The Founders wisely took this power from the rich and gave it to the poor themselves by requiring that the poor, then the majority, had to consent to any taxation over them. The power to tax is the only constitutional power exclusively given to the masses. The House of Representatives was the only branch of government designed to actually represent them as it is based upon population. The Senate was to represent the states, the people only indirectly.
As far as I know the United States is the first, possibly the only, country in world history that puts its tax base with the masses who pay the taxes. It is a priceless freedom. If we are over-taxed in the United States we have chosen to be and one body alone is responsible—the House of Representatives. No tax can constitutionally originate with the President or the Supreme Court, (even if Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. says that it is okay), not even the Senate, although it can modify as on other bills once originated by the House. The House is also in charge of spending. We must not let this freedom dwindle or allow the line between the two legislative branches to be blurred into oblivion.
In the Supreme Court’s decision of June 2012, it took great pains to establish that Obamacare is not a law passed under the Commerce Clause; this is a tax they ruled. Whether a fine, as the Administration argued throughout the case, or a tax as Roberts insisted, it is an extraction of money from the masses and therefore a tax and therefore must originate from the House, not the Senate. The philosophical switch created by Roberts made the constitutional error far more glaring. By letting origin slide the House looses its clear distinction on the origin of taxes and the people their right of first approval of taxation for generations yet unborn and probably forever.
What is worse it smacks of a sloppy cover-up by then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Now that the Supreme Court made healthcare constitutional by deeming it a tax, it mandated a House of Representative origin rather than the Senate. A House version HR 3200 was available but Reid did not like it favoring his own HR 3962, The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Choices Act. Prior to the Supreme Courts tax ruling the tax was called a fine, not a tax, so he reasoned that it did not make any difference which legislative body originated the fine. The ruling necessitated resurrecting a bill that had passed the House first but had not been acted upon in the Senate, the Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009 HR 3590, deleting its contents and pasting in the contents of the Senate’s bill HR 3962.
The Home Ownership Tax Act was a tax providing a first time home buyer’s credit to members of the Armed Services, never mind that it had nothing to do with healthcare and now, after being deleted leaving only the empty shell, had nothing to do with the Armed Services or home buying either. The only thing that Reid kept was the original date, September 17, 2009, which now deceptively confirmed that it preceded Senate action. Accomplices to Reid were the original authors of the deleted bill: Congressman Charlie Rangel of NY, and Senator Clare McCaskill of MO. “This is the kind of morphing that reeks of illegitimacy and fraudulency,” declared The Washington Times, April 8, 2013. And it does. The level of corruption in the Democratic Party to get this thing through is almost incomprehensible.
What is worse, if Reid had indeed simply pasted in his own bill into the dead Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act, as believed and not denied, this tax bill HR 3962, the one that became Obamacare, has never actually been before the House of Representatives, the only body actually authorized to originate a tax. Obamacare may be the only revenue-raising bill in American history originated, processed, and implemented by the Senate and President alone.
Nothing could be more unconstitutional!! If left unchallenged Obamacare severely damages Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution. Hopefully the Supreme Court will protect the Constitution as first priority rather than a piece of legislation fraudulently framed and blatantly unconstitutional in numerous parts. Unfortunately the Supreme Court moves very slowly and this challenge is not likely to be resolved until 2017.