By Edward H. Crane, David Boaz
Information how legislators can go back the federal goverment to the scale and scope estimated by way of the Founding Fathers.
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Extra resources for Cato Handbook on Policy, 2005
The Founding Fathers could have established such a system, of course. They did not. But we have allowed those marks of a parliamentary system to supplant the system they gave us. To restore truly limited government, therefore, we have to do more than define the issues as political or budgetary. We have to go to the heart of the matter and raise the underlying constitutional questions. In a word, we have to ask the most fundamental 21 82978$$CH3 12-08-04 07:29:49 CATO HANDBOOK ON POLICY question of all: does the government have the authority, the constitutional authority, to do what it is doing?
Certainly it is possible to raise taxes or cut benefits enough to prop up the existing system for a little while longer. But the Social Security payroll tax is already the biggest tax that the average American family pays. Do we really want our legacy to our children and grandchildren to be the largest tax increase in American history? Cutting benefits is no better option. Already younger workers can expect a low, below-market return on their taxes. Benefit cuts would only make a bad deal worse.
The claim of ‘‘states’ rights,’’ in short, is no defense for state violations of individual rights. Thus, if the facts had warranted it, something like the Church Arson Prevention Act of 1996, depending on its particulars, might have been authorized not on Commerce Clause grounds but on Fourteenth Amendment grounds. If, for example, the facts had shown that arsons of white churches were being prosecuted by state officials whereas arsons of black churches were not, then we would have had a classic case of the denial of the equal protection of the laws.