GO NAVY BEAT ARMY

GO NAVY BEAT ARMY

'87 Sir

Thirty years of service ----USNA Class of 1987 '87 Sir

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lucky 13? Not so much

Clearly not all Federalist and Anti-Federalist arguments are created equally.  The 13th in our series of papers are, to be quite frank, boring and pedestrian with few Ahh-HA moments or zippy lines with quoting.

Not to say they don't deal with weighty matters, just not very exciting ones.

In Federalist #13, Alexander Hamilton is trying to make the round-about argument that a UNITED States will not only be better from a national security and commerce viewpoint, but better for taxation on the citizenry:

"The money saved from one object may be usefully applied to another, and there will be so much the less to be drawn from the pockets of the people. If the States are united under one government, there will be but one national civil list to support; if they are divided into several confederacies, there will be as many different national civil lists to be provided for--and each of them, as to the principal departments, coextensive with that which would be necessary for a government of the whole....Nothing can be more evident than that the thirteen States will be able to support a national government better than one half, or one third, or any number less than the whole. This reflection must have great weight in obviating that objection to the proposed plan, which is founded on the principle of expense; an objection, however, which, when we come to take a nearer view of it, will appear in every light to stand on mistaken ground.

If, in addition to the consideration of a plurality of civil lists, we take into view the number of persons who must necessarily be employed to guard the inland communication between the different confederacies against illicit trade, and who in time will infallibly spring up out of the necessities of revenue; and if we also take into view the military establishments which it has been shown would unavoidably result from the jealousies and conflicts of the several nations into which the States would be divided, we shall clearly discover that a separation would be not less injurious to the economy, than to the tranquillity, commerce, revenue, and liberty of every part."

So, if I understand this, we should not be buried under Federal, State, County, City, Property and Sales taxes, right?  I mean, it's not like there is ridiculous duplication of effort and wasted bureaucracy among varies levels of government...nahhhhh...haven't you ever heard of the Department of Redundancy Department?

Yea, right...maybe our Founding Fathers thought that a strong government would remain small and only do those things ALLOCATED to it by the Constitution,  but the Federalists clearly did not understand that bureaucracies are like an organism, they are designed to ensure their own growth and survival, and for the most part governments rarely get smaller over the long run.  Particularly when they are used as a TOOL by a certain segment of society to impose their views on the rest of us.  Can anyone say OBAMACARE?  This is clearly not something Federalists understood well.  Of course, back in their day, politicians had a life, profession and INCOME outside of politics, so they weren't so dependent on keeping their phoney baloney jobs using our money.

Anti Federalist #13 goes really, really down in the weeds to continue the arguments about the proposed Federal judiciary and its potential for abusive behavior.

"The proper province of the judicial power, in any government, is, as I conceive, to declare what is the law of the land. To explain and enforce those laws, which the supreme power or legislature may pass; but not to declare what the powers of the legislature are. I suppose the cases in equity, under the laws, must be so construed, as to give the supreme court not only a legal, but equitable jurisdiction of cases which may be brought before them, or in other words, so, as to give them, not only the powers which are now exercised by our courts of law, but those also, which are now exercised by our court of chancery."

So, your friendly Grouchy Historian had to look up what the heck a court of chancery was...thank goodness for Wikipedia:
The Chancery had jurisdiction over all matters of equity, including trusts, land law, the administration of the estates of lunatics and the guardianship of infants.

So, this is why this paper is waaayyy down in the weeds.  We're talking property here, folks, the ownership and control of said property was a primary interest of our Founders.

To be honest, the rest of this paper is something only a lawyer or Constitutional scholar could really love...so I leave you with one quote that jumped out at me.

"The situation of the states will be deplorable. By this system, they will surrender to the general government, all the means of raising money, and at the same time, will subject themselves to suits at law, for the recovery of the debts they have contracted in effecting the revolution.

The debts of the individual states will amount to a sum, exceeding the domestic debt of the United States; these will be left upon them, with power in the judicial of the general government, to enforce their payment, while the general government will possess an exclusive command of the most productive funds, from which the states can derive money, and a command of every other source of revenue paramount to the authority of any state."

The question you're probably asking is huh?  Ok, here's the takeaway from this.  One of the overriding issues at the Constitutional Convention was retiring the war debt from the Revolution, both at the state and national level.  Essentially, our country was broke (sound familiar?) and needed to get a grip on paying back our international creditors (also sound familiar?).  SO, taxation was a major challenge for the Framers and the states basically agreed to give the new Congress the power of taxation in part to help pay back the COLLECTIVE debts from the Revolution. Now I normally hate that word, but it made sense at the time to get the Constitution ratified and have every new American have some skin in the game (so to speak) for the Revolution that gave everyone life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

NOW, fast forward 200+ years....once again we have the issue of state and national debt coming to the fore of political discussion...with a twist.  There are high-tax and low-tax states.  The typical high-tax states, like California and Illinois live FAR beyond their means and have seen the results of their high taxation as individuals and businesses flee.  You also see low-tax states like Texas and Oklahoma becoming paragons of economic growth, even in Obama's America.  So imagine what might happen when (NOT IF) California, Illinois, Rhode Island and other Progressive Blue states start clamoring for their own bailout overtly to the Federal government.  NAAAH, that can't happen here, right?  Well in Obama's America, do you really think he can afford to let his PROGRESSIVE, BIG GOVERNMENT buddies and their employee union cohorts go bust?  What will the rest of the states say?  All good questions.....

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