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Friday, June 09, 2006

Reconciling Fiscal Conservatism...

...and a Bleeding Heart!

I've wanted to do this post for a long time, though it is not of any immediate relevance. And, perhaps, that's the trouble. Something always came up. Anyway, here it is:

Fiscal conservatism, in layman's terms, is basically taking away the government's credit cards. Without it, the government cranks up the national debt and then we are forced to pay for it. Bush, of course, has taken it one step further by cranking up the national debt, and letting our children or their children worry about paying it off...somehow...someday. With fiscal conservatism, that's a no-no. You tax light and you spend light.

Oh! But what about the people?

And that's where the Constitution comes in:
"WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this CONSTITUTION for the United States of America."

You see, our federal budget is all right there, believe it or not. We only have to work out the minutiae.

  1. establish Justice
  2. insure domestic Tranquility
  3. provide for the common defence
  4. promote the general Welfare
  5. secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity

And there you have it.

1) The federal government should fund that which is necessary to maintain justice, i.e. the federal court and law enforcement system.

2) The federal government should fund that which is necessary to insure domestic tranquility (use the find tool to search for "tranquility," interesting stuff if you don't know what this phrase originally references), but I would personally consider this to cover things like federal roads (because not funding the interstates would make for some very un-tranquil people), corporate controls (which might fall under justice anyway), and maintaining federal buildings, federal memorials and federal parks -- which are not only a part of our national heritage and therefore could also fall under securing the blessings of liberty, but also not funding these would make for some very un-tranquil people so here it is -- not to mention, securing our borders, which is definitely something that fits squarely with the description in the link above.

3) The federal government should fund that which is necessary to provide for the common defense, i.e. the military and their weapons.

4) The federal government should fund that which is necessary to promote the general welfare, i.e. those people who cannot provide for themselves should be provided for.

5) And, finally, the federal government should fund that which is necessary to secure the blessings of liberty, and liberty cannot be maintained by an ignorant citizenry, thus education must be funded.

Now, how hard is that?!? While I'm sure our "representatives" could find a way to make covering only these priorities break the budget, they should NOT be allowed to say they cannot fund all of these things because they already broke it.

They raise our debt to pay for sports stadiums, yet they cannot fund education. They raise our debt to pay for fancy weapons that are NOT currently useful to our military, yet our soldiers who are currently at war with our enemies are under-supplied. They raise our debt by pouring money into the multitude of research projects that hold their interest (at least long enough to sign the budget), but they cannot provide basic healthcare to those who cannot access it. In short, our government is NOT living up to their Constitutionally required expeditures, yet they're still spending our money faster than we can make it!

Does anybody who frequents this blog doubt that these guys just gotta go!?!

The government could, if it wished, afford all the things this country actually requires from our federal government. But, instead, they rack up debt we can't pay for things we don't need that they shouldn't be focused on anyway.

Don't get me wrong. I don't mind social programs -- by which I'm referencing the money the federal government pours into things like museums, art endowments and the like -- it's just that I think society should pay for such things the way society used to pay for such things, i.e. a bunch of people get together, promote their cause and raise the necessary money from other people, not from the federal government. Unless it's a federally-owned, federally-operated, American history museum, then it's not something the federal government should be involved in. If it's not art that is going to be used in a federal memorial or at a federal park as a monument, then the federal government should have nothing to do with it. It's that simple.

All the those things which truly lie within the proper grasp of the federal government could be funded affordably, if they tried (yes, I do realize that would require critical thinking, which they're not so good at, which is why they need to go!). Our taxes could be decreased and we, the American people, could actually get more for our money! What could be better than that!?!

Ah, but then the politicians couldn't pay back all those "supporters" who funded their way into office. And that's what this comes down to. Special interests, those who divert our federal funds from their proper purpose, make for some pretty big money...and big money donors to boot.

I guess, my point is two-fold (the second time I'm using that today, what's up with that!):

1) I'm a fiscal conservative, yet I'm also a -- dare I say it! -- bleeding hearted liberal when it comes to people and the social programs that directly benefits them. These are NOT mutually exclusive, no matter how many Dems and Reps want to tell you otherwise. Basically, we, the American people, can afford our cake, and the poor amongst us can eat it too.

2) Our current batch of "representatives" suck when it comes to fiscal conservatism. They suck when it comes to federally funding that which is, imo, required by the Constitution. And they especially suck when it comes to understanding what the poor actually needs to help them, and funding the welfare that will actually provide that help. And, frankly, I'm sick of it.

I'm sick of the Dems taxing us raw, raising our debt, and buying votes with hand-outs. I'm sick of the Reps taxing us raw, raising our debt, and buying votes with hand-outs. That's not fiscal conservatism and it's NOT a democratic republic.

No, you did NOT read that wrong. The only difference between the Dems and the Reps is who they tax worse and who they buy votes from. That's it. They both have got to go!

I don't know about you, but, as a one of those pesky "Posterity" people, I'm telling you I want my government BACK!!!


At 6/10/2006 8:25 AM, Anonymous And Another Thing said...

The key to your post is at the end...."I want my government back." First, it is not yours. Or ours. It is 'theirs.' The founders of the nation gave their posterity a vehicle to use for the future. The future is here and the vehicle is being driven drunk on sidewalks.

We aren't supposed to have 'grassroots' or 'populist' movements. They are 'naive' and destructive to how things REALLY work. Leave it to the pros.

Each election reaffirms this, and each election reaffirms that the electoral/governing process is so distorted that nothing short of a revolution in thought will change it.

The republic is now defined on the 19th hole of exclusive country clubs.

At 6/10/2006 10:05 AM, Blogger Gun-Toting Liberal said...

Heh... linked to this one at your favorite (recent) GTL post, Steph. Frankly, my disagreements are very minor, but with your "airplane view" in this post, I could not agree more, so I'm staying away from the minor stuff. Not only do I think this is on helluva post, I also think Michael's comment (above) rawks.

The Truth RINGS LOUDLY, Steph, and there was an imaginary capital "T" hovering over this one as I read it. Great post, my friend ;-)

At 6/11/2006 3:54 AM, Blogger David Schantz said...

Great post!! While your on a roll I'd like you to take a shot at answering this weeks question when you have the time.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

At 6/11/2006 7:49 AM, Anonymous Jake Porter said...

Good post.

4) The federal government should fund that which is necessary to promote the general welfare, i.e. those people who cannot provide for themselves should be provided for.

I disagree. Private organizations do much better. If we look at Hurricane Katrina, private organizations were kept out by the government. Another example is my grandmother who was denied cancer medication by the government because it could kill her.

Governments always ask for more money and spend more with little or no results, private organizations are more accountable to the people.

At 6/11/2006 9:37 PM, Blogger Subcomandante Bob said...

When enough politicians figure out that most of us are fiscal conservatives and social moderates, they will have one HELL of a third party.

At 6/12/2006 2:53 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Sorry guys...baby's been sick and I am the mommy. Alas...the things that interfer with blogging! ;-)

And Another Thing,

LOL What can I say; you're right. That was totally my bad. This has never been "my" government or "our" government, because the political elites hi-jacked the whole thing before I was even born. In fact, with the exception of the smallest local elections, I don't think I've ever participated in an election that did NOT have serious, and credible, accusations of election fraud involved.

But, I must stick with my notion of us being amongst those pesky "Posterity" people referenced in the Constitution, and try to fix things. But, don't worry, if they come I'll just tell 'em to kiss my VOID card and I'll be sure to live-blog the black helicopters. It might even be worth the hassel of figuring out how to post pictures!

At 6/12/2006 2:57 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...


Yeah, we've recently seen how those minor disagreements can get quite out of control. How many posts did that thread have by the end? And all I because I agreed with you, but...

Thank you!


Thank you, and I'll be over directly.

Subcomandante Bob,

I'm still waiting for that third party, but when it's time comes (soon, please!) it'll be one helluva party that'll get 'er done!

At 6/12/2006 3:10 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...


You're right that currently private organizations do it better. However, I think that has more to do with objectives and critical thinking skills than actual ability.

The Dems use hand-outs to the poor as a means to obtain votes. If they actually helped the poor improve their situation, then they would no longer have the means to earn their votes. Likewise, if the Dems solved the problem of discrimination in the work-place (and elsewhere) they wouldn't be able to take that issue to the bank, so instead they exacerbate the situation while making it seem like they're trying.

Oh, and the Reps do the same thing, but in different ways. Like talking about fiscal conservatism but never quite living up to it.

However, if the government were to actually care about solving the problems for the sake of the solution and the benefits of having the solution instead of having a problem + goal = votes mentality, then they could actually be more productive than the private organizations, because they could coordinate so now got left behind, instead of ensuring that a whole lot of people do get left behind.

"Another example is my grandmother who was denied cancer medication by the government because it could kill her."

That's what we get for electing lawyers and expecting them to be "doctors." I agree. I too have had my run-ins with the wanna-be-gods in our bureaucracy, but somewhat in the reverse. More than once I've been told they will not fund the cheaper, more effective, side-effect-free therapeutic alternatives for my children because they're not respectable, i.e. they don't have any rich lobbyists backing them up.

But, again, that seems to me to be a lack of solution issue.

At 6/12/2006 1:32 PM, Blogger susan28 said...

AAT: bingo. government is a "social contract" between predator and prey: prey agrees not to fight back too much and predator agrees not to eat too much. government "protection" is the same as Mafia protection: the only thing they're protecting is their property, which is us. they only suffer us to exist as long as we serve thier interests. government by its very nature is top-down, like nature itself. two words: electoral college; the original "ivy league".

Steph: agree comletely, though i like stadiums. guess i'm part Roman :) but any people-funded gig - state or federal - needs to *directly* beneift those who fund it and not pick our pockets in the name of "increased tax revenues" pre-arranged to fall thru the loopholes.

Jake: i think we need both: a bare-minimum government safety net, but *zero* restrictions on private participation and zero government interference in private use of drugs *period*, experimental or otherwise. i find government intervention in private bodily functions to be utterly reprehensible and whooly un-American.

here's my day's contribution to the cause; my post to the MoveOn agenda poll:

"i think it's time for break ranks and support priniciple rather than party. Liberal is as Liberal does and face it, we've been abandoned.

i'm not suggesting a specific 3rd party, simply the willingness to break ranks when suitable candidates cannot be found within our own ranks.

Loretta Nall in Alabama's a great example, and of course the fabulous Barney Frank. a Congressful of those and we'd be on our way to domestic tranquility and global respectability."


At 6/13/2006 12:34 AM, Blogger Tom Harper said...

Excellent post. Both parties suck and we need to take our country back. That's the exact predicament we're in; I can't think of anything to add to what you've said.

At 6/13/2006 1:46 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...


The idea of "breaking rank" is exactly what this country needs. Few people I've debated with are satisfied with their (main) party, yet many are also reluctant to leave it because they feel it's the lesser of two evils.

I haven't found a third party I can back completely. I think those of us who are moderate enough to agree that this country needs a distinct change should band together under a whole new party -- if one should become available -- that's going to resist the in-fighting and just get 'er done. Once we pull our homeland from the brink of destruction, then we can worry about the details.

I cannot imagine any other way that things are going to improve.

At 6/13/2006 1:47 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thank you, Tom. Wrenching the control of this nation from the Reps and the Dems is the hard part...but it's also the only thing I know of that's going to bring lasting, positive change.

At 6/13/2006 3:25 PM, Blogger Ken Grandlund said...

Great post Steph- first time reader here. came over from the inclusive bloggers blog roll...

Your last comment is dead on- I should know. I'm trying to mount a campaign as an independent for Congress and having one hell of a time even getting the word out. The system is wrapped up like a 3000 year old mummy and those who dare try to crack back the wrappings often find a nasty ancient virus waiting for them-

We DO need less party and more principal. Sadly, until we kick out all those who 'play by the rules' and inject real americans into the equation, we're going to see more of the same.

At 6/13/2006 6:58 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...


Welcome to Hazardous Pastimes! And running for Congress is definitely a hazardous pastime! I wish you luck with that; I've checked out your blog and if I could vote for you I would, but alas I don't even live in California, let alone your district.

Re: Getting the word out. Over at VOID we are working on an "ad" space (I don't think there's any charge involved, but am not 100% certain of that) for non-incumbents who wish to be affiliated with our organization. Basically, VOID stands for Vote Out Incumbents for Democracy and our mission is to inform the voting and eligible but non-voting public that they have and have had the power to excise corruption from our government the entire time.

Check it out; if you like what you see you can either e-mail me here or e-mail David Remer and we'll get you hooked up as soon as that new portion of our site is up and running.

I'm not sure how much it'll help, but it's something. :-)

At 6/14/2006 10:09 AM, Blogger Nicki said...

Hi. Very nice blog. Thought you might be interested in the following article by Robert Greenslade about the "General Welfare" clause.


At 6/14/2006 11:35 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...


Welcome to Hazardous Pastimes!

It's an intriguing article, however, as our government has proved time and again what the Constitution was intended to mean, and how it's applied are often very different matters, and the Founding Fathers themselves were obviously not in complete agreement about this matter.

For intance, the authors of the Constitution intended the Amendments that prevented the federal government from impinging on our freedom of speech, ect., were supposed to restrict the states as well, however the Supreme Court repeatedly disagreed, and had the legal authority to determine which it was.

At 6/14/2006 11:46 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

For me, the various debates going on in this article can be best summed up with this paragraph:

"If the reader will recall, Hamilton asserted that there were strict limitations to Congress' power to tax and appropriate money under the general welfare provision. First, the appropriation must be applied to the whole [general] and cannot be local or particular. This constitutional restriction alone wipes out the majority of the taxes Congress imposes each year because the money is then appropriated to fund congressional pet projects that are local or particular in nature. Second, Congress cannot use the power of appropriation to do things not authorized by the Constitution, "either expressly or by fair implication.""
--emphasis added

I couldn't agree more! Thank you very much, Nicki, for a great read!

The book at the bottom looks intriguing as well.


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