Two of the most important concepts enshrined in the Constitution of these United States include self-governance by an intelligent and involved population, and a federal bureaucracy limited in its ability to encroach on the rights and responsibilities of its states and citizens. The last one hundred years have seen exponential growth in the abusive power of the government across many sectors; from a previously unconstitutional income tax system, to politically supported protection of segments of the economy. At the core of these insidious developments is the confluence of a seemingly endless supply of confiscatory tax revenue, and politicians arrogant enough to believe themselves indispensable to the distribution and appropriation of such funds, and the power it brings. The following paragraphs will outline three steps that are an important opening salvo in the battle to reclaim our constitutional heritage, as well as turn back the growth of an overreaching federal government and the political ‘nobility’ that have emboldened themselves to a point far beyond mere arrogance.
As a vital first step, the imposition of term limits on all elected federal offices is key to returning our nation to constitutional principles. Limiting both the Senate and the House of Representatives to no more than twelve years in office would help guarantee a generational changeover of politicians. Two terms for the Senate and six terms for the House of Representatives is more than enough time for any individual to have a positive impact on the national discourse. The danger inherent in amassed power held by career politicians was plainly evident to our Founders. With an unresponsive monarchy and the conceited nobility that sycophantically surrounds absolute authority, our Founding Fathers recognized the corrupting influence of inherited and accrued power. By restricting our aspiring politicians to a finite duration of office, the potential for exploitation could be mitigated. Limiting, both, the potential for abuse and the accumulation of undeserved power in the hands of a self-important few; the imposition of term limits is an important step in protecting our Federal Republic from soft tyranny and despotism. Additionally, term limits would help to guarantee a constant influx of fresh ideas to meet the needs of a changing society. As a by-product of this turnover of politicians we could help to ensure a more responsive government by taking the perpetual re-election machinery out of the equation. Elections based on ideas and the thoughtful and accountable implementation of laws and regulations should be the standards that all elected officials are measured by.
These next two steps should be addressed in tandem due to their importance in ensuring budgetary control over congressional spending. Both a Balanced Budget Amendment and a legislative end to Base-Line Budgeting are essential to guaranteeing the fiscal responsibility necessary to the viability of essential government services and, more importantly, the health of our economy. Base-Line Budgeting is the general trend in government spending in which government agencies receive an automatic increase in the base spending level year after year. Practically every time a Democrat decries a Republican for cutting funding for a program or government agency; the spending decrease usually applies only to a reduction in the annual percentage increase. The important lesson to learn from Base-Line Budgeting is that government spending NEVER decreases, the only decrease is generally in the rate of increase. Additionally, when an instance of a government agency wasting taxpayer dollars on overpriced items or extravagant conventions arises, Base-Line Budgeting is the most likely reason. By spending the maximum allotted allocation, many departments duplicitously justify next year’s increase in funding. Requiring every federal department, agency or program to accurately account for, and justify, their annual budget would be essential to maintaining a fiscally sound budgetary process. As common sense as it sounds, a Balanced-Budget Amendment is anathema to the confiscatory politicians that abound in Washington D.C. A Balanced-Budget Amendment would necessarily require that every annual budget be paid for by existing government revenue. No blank checks, no deficit spending paid for by foreign borrowing. A Balanced-Budget Amendment, necessitating thoughtful and truthful deliberation over both the expanse and cost of government services, is vitally important in defining the parameters and scope of the unwieldy bureaucracy we are burdened with. Controlling the annual expenditures of the central government, via an end to Base-Line Budgeting and a Balanced-Budget Amendment, would enable governance that restricts the corrupting influence of unlimited spending, as well as restraining the crony-capitalism that perverts the free market and allows politicians to build careers based on the selective application and dispersal of capital, both political and financial.
While the three steps outlined herein will not directly solve all of the pressing issues, both foreign and domestic, facing the United States. Border and immigration issues will continue to pose an existential threat. Nor will it automatically return the United States to a strong position as regards our feckless and self-destructive foreign policy (although a strong domestic economy would go far in ensuring the strength and viability of the United States). They will, however, create space in the national discourse by removing the vexing and recurrent dangers of political arrogance and budgetary malfeasance. This would allow our elected officials to properly focus their time and efforts on actual problems, and not the accumulation of power and resources outside the intent of the Constitution. These three steps will go a long way to returning our nation to constitutional principles, work to contain the growth of a pervasive and smothering federal bureaucracy, and the arrogant politicians that perpetuate this growth, as well as their own self-importance.