The Federal Judiciary and Social Security
President Bush proposes needed changes
President Bush has made it clear that he intends to push this year for at least two things that any constitutionalist knows must happen in order to have a chance to save our Republic-we must have more qualified judges at the federal level and we must reform our Social Security system. We have seen major damage done to our system of limited, divided, and balanced government because these two areas have reached "out-of control" stages. We applaud the President for making overtures of reform in these two areas. America's Founders would certainly applaud a sincere effort to do so.
NCCS has addressed these issues in past newsletters and publications. We encourage citizens to visit our website at www.nccs.net and review them. A great feature of our website is the ability to search our entire site for specific texts. This is a great way to find specific information among so much available.
Reforming the Federal Judiciary
As we review the state of our federal judiciary and see the freedom-destroying decisions handed down by a few judges, our minds recall the prophetic words of patriot Samuel Langdon as he gave his "election sermon" before the Massachusetts legislature in 1788. He declared:
"On the people, therefore, of these United States, it depends whether wise men, or fools, good or bad men, shall govern.... Therefore, I will now lift up my voice and cry aloud to the people....
"From year to year be careful in the choice of your representatives and the higher powers [offices] of government. Fix your eyes upon men of good understanding and known honesty; men of knowledge, improved by experience; men who fear God and hate covetousness; who love truth and righteousness, and sincerely wish for the public welfare.... Let not men openly irreligious and immoral become your legislators.... If the legislative body are corrupt, you will soon have bad men for counselors, corrupt judges, unqualified justices, and officers in every department who will dishonor their stations....(Cherry, Conrad, ed. God's New Israel . Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1971, pp 100-101)
President Bush Proposes Names that Were Previously Rejected
President Bush recognizes the run-away nature of the federal judiciary and will again send the Senate names for federal judges who will help correct the problem in the judiciary. He is hoping that the increased support in the Senate from the recent election will result in confirmation of more qualified judges who adhere much closer to the Founders' doctrine of "constitutional supremacy."
The Founders' Advice to Judges on Making Decisions
The Founders left no doubt as to how the Constitution should be read and interpreted. When Jefferson became President he said:
"The Constitution on which our Union rests shall be administered by me according to the safe and honest meaning contemplated by the plain understanding of the people of the United States at the time of its adoption -- a meaning to be found in the explanations of those who advocated, not those who opposed it.... These explanations are preserved in the publications of the time." ( The Writings of Thomas Jefferson . Edited by Albert Ellery Bergh. 20 vols. Washington: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1907, Vol. 10, p. 248)
Later, he emphasized the same views:
"On every question of construction, [let us] carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed." (Ibid., 15:449)
Jefferson felt the Constitution should be interpreted strictly. He wrote: "When an instrument admits two constructions, the one safe, the other dangerous, the one precise, the other indefinite, I prefer that which is safe and precise. I had rather ask an enlargement of power from the nation, where it is found necessary, than to assume it by a construction which would make our powers boundless. Our peculiar security is in the possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction." (Ibid., 10:418)
These comments are similar to those expressed by the other leaders in the early chapters of the country's history. Chief Justice Taney expressed the traditional view of the Founders when he wrote:
"It [the Constitution] speaks not only in the same words, but with the same meaning and intent with which it spoke when it came from the hands of its framers, and was voted on and adopted by the people of the United States. Any other rule of construction would abrogate the judicial character of the Court and make it the mere reflect of the popular opinion or passion of the day." (19 Howard 395)
In a textbook, he wrote:
"The first and fundamental rule in the interpretation of all instruments is, to construe them according to the sense of the terms, and the intentions of the parties." ( Story of the Constitution , 2d ed. 1851, vol. 1, sec. 400.)
Every citizen who loves the Constitution and wants to preserve it must encourage his or her senator to work for confirmation of those judges who will maintain the Founders' position on constitutional government
Reforming Social Security
This will no doubt be the most challenging domestic undertaking of President Bush because of both the misunderstanding that exists about Social Security and the growing numbers of people who depend on it and can be easily scared by those who want to see more not less government involvement in the lives of people.
President Bush knows that if something is not done soon to correct the drain that Social Security is on American taxpayers, we will be in a sinkhole from which there will be no recovery possible-only bankruptcy and economic collapse of the nation. Some have thought we have already reached that point because our politicians have not exhibited the courage to make the necessary changes, but we always love to support another glimmer of hope now that President Bush has made it a top priority. Perhaps the foreboding shadows of economic doom are real enough to the politicians that they may listen this time.
What Social Security Pretends to Be
A number of years ago, Dr. Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize-winning economist, urged Warren Shore to do an in-depth study of the American Social Security System and alert the people to what is actually happening. The Warren Shore Study was published by the Macmillan Publishing Company in 1975 under the title Social Security: The Fraud in Your Future .
Shore presents an alarming array of misrepresentations which have been dispensed to the American people during the past 70 years. The Social Security Administration has published tens of millions of pamphlets and brochures making the following claims:
- That Social Security provides participants with an Insurance plan backed by the United States government.
- That deductions from the paychecks of workers are "pooled" in a carefully monitored "trust fund" which guarantees an actuarially sound insurance program for participants.
- That the workers' employers match these funds and the employers' matching payments are credited to the account of each worker.
- That the latest amendments to the Social Security Act guarantee automatic increases designed to keep up with inflation, thereby making Social Security "inflation-proof."
- That Social Security is a perpetual protection against disability and unemployment, and guarantees a minimal amount of security for those in need when they reach retirement age.
What Social Security Really Is
For many years, students of Social Security have been attempting to warn the nation of the disaster course which the Social Security Administration has been pursuing. Warren Shore found their warnings were thoroughly justified, and their prognostications tragically accurate. Instead of the splendid fabric of security and protection described by the Social Security Administration, here is what the 70-year-old Social Security program turned out to be:
- Social Security was ruled by the courts to be nothing more than a glorified welfare program which is financed by compulsory "deductions" and distributed in a highly discriminatory manner, instead of being an "insurance program," in which the participants enjoy guaranteed rights.
- Shore found that payroll deductions were being poured into the general funds of the U.S. Treasury and spent indiscriminately to cover the current costs of government, instead of being pooled in a trust fund.
- The employers' matching funds are likewise poured into the general funds of the U.S. Treasury, instead of being allocated to the credit of each worker. They are written off as nothing more than an excise tax, or business tax, which is included in the price of the product, like any other "cost of doing business" item.
- There is an accumulation of government IOUs or U.S. bonds, which would not pay the costs of Social Security for a single year even if they were all cashed in tomorrow, instead of "funds" being "held in trust" by the Social Security Administration.
- The automatic increases actually add to the money supply by employing huge quantities of deficit spending, which aggravates the inflation spiral worse than almost any other single factor, instead of being "inflation-proof."
- Social Security is a year-to-year welfare program requiring annual budgetary support from the general fund, instead of being a perpetual guarantee of security and future protection. It could be terminated next year.
Freeing Ourselves from this Sinkhole of Social Security
President Bush is proposing a reform which let's taxpayers put money into a private retirement account instead of paying it to the government for social security. Some have estimated this particular proposal will cut about $100 billion annually from social security income to the federal government. President Bush has indicated there will be no tax increase to cover this decrease. Where, then, is it to come from?
To the greatest possible extent, these funds should be obtained from expenditures allocated to agencies which past Presidents and Congress's have found to be wasteful, unnecessary, or counterproductive on the federal level. Past special commission on government waste have already identified forty such agencies which are carrying out functions entirely outside the Constitutional authority of the federal government. There are tens of billions in other expenditures which cannot be realistically justified.
A "sunset law" requiring a justification for the existence of an agency, or the expenditures of each department of government, will allow these tens of billions of dollars to be reallocated to cover the costs of Social Security or other social programs during their transitional "phasing out" period.
A second source of funds which is readily available is the sale of expendable public lands.
These public lands have a conservative value of more than twelve trillion dollars. This would be a viable means of securing whatever funds were needed to supplement those mentioned above. In fact, this resource could be used to pay off the entire federal debt and save the 13 to 16 percent of the entire budget which is now lost in interest payments.
Between these two resources, the benefits for all those presently on Social Security could be maintained. The money required for these payments will diminish substantially each year as the number of beneficiaries is reduced by natural attrition. As this occurs, it will be possible to make a corresponding reduction in taxes.
While there may be plenty of other things to disagree with in political happenings of our day, we can't help think the Founders would say in regards to these two pressing issues: At least you are moving in the right direction. Keep going!
Earl Taylor, Jr.