Choosing ‘profusion and servitude’ over ‘economy and liberty’

The House of Representatives on Dec. 8 honored lame-duck, one-term Nevada Congresswoman and permanent, lifetime UNLV politics professor (gubbimint jobs are like that) Dina Titus by enacting on a voice vote her bill to provide federal funding to schools and food banks to supply weekend meals to “low-income” children.

Previously budgeted at $10 million per year, the final House version doesn’t specify any dollar limit. Quick Senate passage is uncertain, thankfully.

Ms. Titus called it the “Weekends Without Hunger” bill. How nice. I put “low-income” in quotes because no child will be required to prove he or she is “poor” to get the free stuff — living in a zip code or school district with “a fair number” of poor folk will be deemed sufficient.

In fact, Ms. Titus said during the short debate that half the children in Clark County schools are from families who qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

Which is a pretty good working definition of “the poor,” for Democratic purposes: “The half of the people who pay no income taxes because they’re not rich” … the net tax consumers whose votes — added to those of government employees — keep so many Democrats in office.

“While school meals help keep children healthy and ready to learn during the days when school is in session, there is no targeted federal childhood nutrition program available to provide these children with food during the weekends and extended holidays,” Ms. Titus explained.

“As this Congress moves to give tax breaks to millionaires, I implore you not to forget the children,” Titus said, referring to a pending compromise tax proposal under which income and capital gains tax rates for “millionaires” (and everyone else) would stay precisely where they are, while the death tax would soar from zero to either 35 percent or 55 percent. Some “tax break.”

While “Roll Call” reported on Nov. 20, 2009 that Rep. Titus herself “claims a minimum wealth of at least $1.47 million.”

But that’s neither here nor there. Republicans declined to call for a recorded vote, probably because no politician craves going on the record as “opposing food for children.”

But reasons to oppose this allocation are manifold and sound:

1) To say no crying need for such a new scheme has been demonstrated would be an understatement. The country is currently fighting what government doctors decry as an epidemic of childhood obesity, not emaciation. Any doctor will tell you that — while of course a tiny minority of parents, usually children themselves, prove unable to care for their infants — the most usual diagnosis for an American child six or older who is clinically underweight is either some underlying disease or a behavioral disorder such as bulemia, not the inability of the family to provide sufficient nutrition.

2) Once begun, such programs never shrivel away. Instead, they tend to grow beyond their sponsors’ wildest dreams. What else did Ms. Titus mean when she said (according to wire reports) “there still was value in getting such a program created even if its funding might be uncertain”?

3) Added to a bandwagon full of other nice-sounding social welfare enactments, the new “entitlement” will form part of a vast and tottering welfare state which the nation cannot afford. Washington currently borrows 40 cents of every cent it spends, much of that from the Red Chinese, whose goals are seldom ours. Will the federals be able to kick this addiction, cold turkey, when the borrowers start demanding higher interest rates, or other geopolitical concessions? Will these same Democrats (and yes, plenty of go-along Republicans) be around in 20 years when it comes time to hand these kids the bill for principle and interest, saying, “Time to pay back those loans we took out for the government weekend food packages you didn’t need and never even asked for”?

4) Waste, fraud, and contract kickbacks will ensue, as the night follows day. Wanna bet?

5) This enactment is unconstitutional. Nowhere in Article I Section 8 is the Congress authorized to spend a single penny of anyone’s tax money feeding anyone’s kids, anywhere. Each member of Congress swears a sacred oath to “protect and defend” a Constitution which was specifically enacted to LIMIT the powers of the central government to those specifically enumerated.

Asked whether pretty much anything couldn’t be justified under the notion that the government was formed to “promote the general welfare,” Thomas Jefferson, who played a major role in the founding, dismissed that as a rhetorical trick, replying in his June 16, 1817 letter to Albert Gallatin: “Our tenet ever was … that Congress had not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enumerated; and that, as it was never meant they should provide for that welfare but by the exercise of the enumerated powers: … consequently, that the specification of powers is a limitation of the purposes for which they may raise money.”

“Should this construction prevail,” Jefferson added in separate letter to Spencer Roane, “all limits to the Federal Government are done away,” at which point Jefferson warned we would have not a limited government, but a “complete government,” by which he meant, a tyranny.

6) But finally and most importantly, this is yet another step in reducing the value, the importance, the need for and thus the durability of that institution to which children have always in the past looked for their sustenance — the family — and replacing it with the presumption, ingrained from the cradle, that the institution to which all voters should look for their sustenance is … The State.

For most of history (to take a parallel and better developed example) families also chose and funded their children’s education. Yet look now at the hysterical shrieking that arises should we propose to get government out of the schooling business (where it has failed utterly), instead returning that function to the private family. Listen to the shrill, hysterical, the absurd arguments that incompetent parents, left to their own devices (and with the tax moneys which now fund the government youth internment camps placed back in their hands), would send their kids not to the kind of well-established, fruitful and cost-effective private schools we have long known, but instead to storefront rip-off enterprises run by witches, warlocks, cannibals and child molesters.

Now imagine a similar outcry, in 20 years, when we propose the “weird and extreme” notion that the responsibility for feeding and providing medical attention for children should again be returned to “parents.”

Why do the statists wish to undermine the family? Does it bother them that parents tend to teach children conservative values and practices at variance with what is now “Politically Correct”? Which ones? Let them answer.

The courts have ruled again and again that any function which the government funds or subsidizes, it may monopolize and/or regulate even to a point approaching prohibition. When the Harrison Narcotics Act passed back in 1914, sponsors insisted it was just a “truth-in-labeling” law to make sure moms wouldn’t end up dosing their kids with opium or heroin in a bottle of Mother McCree’s Soothing Syrup that lacked an accurate list of ingredients. They swore up and down it would NEVER lead to the central government restricting the ability of doctors to freely prescribe such medications — legislators would have laughed out loud at the notion it could ever lead to any doctor going to JAIL for prescribing such proven effective medications. Similarly, they swore the income tax would “only be on millionaires,” that the common folks would never have to worry about it.

How are those two working out? Still sure you want to empower Washington to take over feeding the children?

America is not a colony of insects, who work solely for the benefit of the Great Collective and who shall never know who gave them birth.

And even if the children did occasionally have to wait a few hours for their next meal — which they do not — there are worse things.

As Mr. Jefferson also warned: “We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debt, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our calling and our creeds … (we will) have no time to think, no means of calling our mis-managers to account but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers. … And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for (another) … till the bulk of society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery. … And the fore-horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.”

2 Comments to “Choosing ‘profusion and servitude’ over ‘economy and liberty’”

  1. Mark Taylor Says:

    Not only will we no longer ‘pay any price’ for freedom, we apparently can’t stomach the possibility of a few kids missing a meal. Maybe they should call these soon to be public sector union cooked snackfests happy meals? Oh wait, they’re in the process of outlawing those…

  2. Lava Says:

    Obesity is the same as emaciation Vin. The fattest people are starved for nutrients; the gubmints giving them fiber and pasta. Obesity doesn’t mean you have too much food.

    It means you’ve been reading “strong and healthy” guides with the latest, snappiest STRIPED pyramid. Which of course is taught in camp – er, school.