With only seven Articles, the bill of rights, and two additional Amendments, our Founding Fathers gave us the greatest system of government the world has ever known. Fewer than 100 years after the ratification of the US Constitution, this country was producing over half the world’s wealth with only 6% of the world’s population. America became a light, a beacon to the rest of the world – showing by example that prosperity and peace can be enjoyed by any country that follows the Founders’ success formula. After an unprecedented rise, why has there been such a startling decline? This unraveling can be traced back to the changes we have made to the system of government the Founders gave us. Before we can again enjoy the peace, protection, and prosperity we once knew, Americans must restore the checks and balances that have been lost, repair the tax rules, and repeal legislation that dismantles the Founders’ success formula.
Checks and balances must be restored because a state can no longer protect itself, nor its citizens, from encroachment by the Federal Government. Of the fifteen Amendments added to the Founders’ original twelve, the most damaging to the balance of power was the seventeenth, which single-handedly destroyed the Founders’ system of checks and balances. Regarding these checks, Charles C. Pinkney stated, “The Senate will… represent the states… and thus each branch… will form a proper and independent check on the other, and the legislative power will be… balanced.” However, instead of maintaining each state’s ability to protect its interests, the 17th Amendment turned US Senators into additional representatives of the people, instead of representatives of the state. After this vital check was removed, a state could no longer protect itself, nor its citizens from the oppressive overreach of Federal power. In effect, we took a huge step back toward the very top-heavy, monarch-loving system of government that our forefathers pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to vanquish. Though the 17th Amendment was the most destructive to the balance of power, it was not the first Amendment to leave disastrous consequences in its wake.
In 1913, mere months before the 17th Amendment was ratified, passage of the 16th Amendment added or removed three key variables from the Founders’ success equation. First, this Amendment introduced direct taxation. Prior to the 16th, there were zero Federal income taxes to US Citizens. Responsibility for funding the Federal budget was divided up among the states by population. The states would then determine how to fund their portion of the Federal budget, which sometimes included taxing the citizens of that state. The genius of the Founders’ model was that individual citizens were protected by their states, for US Senators (representing their state) had power to tell the Federal Government to reduce its spending if the tax burden would be too impactful to its citizens. This is precisely what was happening prior to the passage of the 16th and 17th Amendments in 1913. Second, the 16th repealed citizen’s rights to privacy, which had been guaranteed in the Bill of Rights by the 4th Amendment. The 4th declares: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.” Because latter Amendments always supersede the former Amendments, the 16th completely repealed the 4th Amendment and opened the homes and files of private citizens to the prying eyes of curious, meddling tax collectors. Third, the 16th had a severe impact on capitalism because it introduced steep, progressive taxation – a strategy that was taken straight out of the Communist Manifesto. The idea can be compared with Robin Hood’s, “Rob the rich to feed the poor” mentality, which sees confiscation and redistribution of wealth as a proper way to provide for everyone’s needs. However, history has refuted this approach every time it has been attempted because it places the greatest burden on the biggest producers. Experience shows that when the incentive to produce is removed, nobody is rewarded for their risk, innovation, or creativity; on the contrary, they are penalized for it. As a result, citizens don’t work as hard, and companies either go out of business or minimize their production. On the surface, what appears impactful for only the elite ends up making everyone suffer. If the aforementioned changes to the Founders’ success formula represented all of the damages done in that fateful year, it would have been impactful enough, but there was one more piece of legislation coming that would eclipse them all.
On December 23, 1913 the Federal Reserve Act became law. This act gave authority to control the economy of the entire nation to twelve private banks. With this power, they could control inflation and the economy in any way they desired. Few recognized the ugly truth beneath its promises. As James A. Garfield points out, “Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce.” Indeed, as we look back through the lens of experience on the past 100 years, it is clear that we were duped. A few of the broken promises were: 1) There will be no more depressions (Federal Reserve policies created the depressions of 1921 and 1929, as well as eleven recessions since World War II), 2) Interest rates will be kept low, 3) There will be no inflation, 4) Federal Reserve will submit to direct supervision. None of these, nor the other promises made by the Federal Reserve, have been kept. Additionally, along with the ratification of the 16th Amendment and creation of the Federal Reserve came the creation of over 500 government agencies. These agencies were given power to create and enforce their own laws – laws that we never voted on, but to which we are subject. Like the Federal Reserve, they consistently abuse their power and rob American citizens of their inalienable rights.
Today, most Americans see the symptoms, and without recognizing the root cause, they become discouraged, feel helpless, and give up. Many have lost confidence in the Founders’ success formula because they don’t realize that it was working until we changed it. They fail to realize that the system itself has become corrupted to the extent that it no longer works the way the founders intended. When a new leader is sworn into office and raises his/her right hand to make an oath to God that s/he will uphold the Constitution, the leader is promising to uphold the Constitution in its present form – the corrupted one; not the one that the Founders gave to us. On its present course, the Federal government will continue to grow, unrestrained. States will continue to lose power to determine their own laws, and protect their citizens. People will become more despondent, devoid of hope, and willing to vote for the lesser of two evils. Without the repeal of the 17th and 16th Amendments, and the abolishment of the Federal Reserve, even the most perfect presidential candidate will be unable to solve the problems facing Americans today. The challenge of our time is to realize that the Founder’s success formula is the solution and then do what is necessary to restore it.