Theodore's World: An Open Letter to the Congress and the President

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February 17, 2009

An Open Letter to the Congress and the President

An Open Letter to the Congress and the President of the United States

The Heritage Foundation

For the last 35 years, educators and analysts at The Heritage Foundation have been intimately involved in the nation's great public policy debates. In all that time, we have never encountered legislation with such far-reaching and revolutionary policy implications as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act currently before Congress. And never have we seen a bill more cloaked in secrecy or more withdrawn from open public exposure and honest debate.

In addition to being the single most expensive bill ever proposed, this measure calls for a massive expansion of the federal government's reach into the day-to-day life of virtually every citizen, business and civic organization in the nation. That, in itself, should be the subject of an extensive public conversation and thoughtful debate. Instead, we have seen Congressional leaders schedule snap votes on a 1,434-page bill that no one—repeat, no one—has had a chance to read in its entirety, much less digest and deliberate.

This bill has been advertised as an economic stimulus bill—despite the fact that the Congressional Budget Office estimates it will actually weaken our nation's long-term economic growth. While the stimulative utility of the bill is, at best, questionable, it would unquestionably rewrite the social contract between the American people and their government. For example:

* The bill reverses the bipartisan and highly successful welfare reforms of 1996 and drastically expands the welfare state. For instance, it will start rewarding states for adding people to their welfare rolls, rather than for helping them find gainful employment. And contrary to long-established practice, it will entitle able-bodied adults without children to receive cash assistance.
* It does extreme violence to the concept of federalism—bailing out states that have spent irresponsibly at the expense of taxpayers in states that have been fiscally prudent.
* It greatly shifts the responsibility and power over health care delivery and decision making from individuals to government. Among other things, it would create a new federal health board to decide which medical services are "effective" in America, paving the way for government effectively to overrule the clinical decisions of private physicians.
* It deliberately censors religious speech and worship on school campuses by prohibiting use of any "stimulus" funds for facilities that are used for sectarian instruction, religious worship, or a school of divinity.

The list goes on. These and similar provisions will mean fundamental changes in our society. In many instances, the bill would establish policies that directly challenge widely held American values.

We are appalled that Congress is even contemplating such profound changes with so little openness and due diligence. In the past, major policy changes in our welfare system, or health care, or trade policies, etc., were always, quite properly, preceded by extensive public conversation and full debate. That is how a democracy should make important decisions.

The failure of Congress and the Administration to allow that debate is damaging to our democracy. Both chambers of Congress suspended their budget rules to push it along. And both the President and the leaders of the House and Senate have violated their solemn promises that the bill would be available for several days of public review prior to voting, so that the American people might have a chance to learn what is in the bill and to make their views known to their elected officials.

This reckless approach to governance can only undermine public faith in our elected officials and our government as a whole. We call on Congress and the Administration to live up to their promises and stated ideals, and give the democratic process a chance to work.

Ed Feulner is president of The Heritage Foundation.

Wild Thing's comment......

This is excellent and well reasoned, and succinct. This should be a should be a full-page ad in every newspaper in our country. And for those very characteristics, it will be incomprehensible to the vast majority of Republicans and for sure Democrats and as fas as Obama is concerned he would have to have it typed onto his cheat screen to even read it.

This is what happens when we suffer Rinos.

What would the Framers say about the stimulate fascism bill?

"If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."
-- Samuel Adams

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a monied aristocracy that has set the government at defiance. The issuing power (of money) should be taken away from the banks and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs."
-- Thomas Jefferson

The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.
-- Thomas Jefferson

Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"In questions of power then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."
-- Thomas Jefferson
To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.-- Thomas Jefferson

"The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale."
-- Thomas Jefferson

"It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins."
-- Benjamin Franklin

If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare... they may appoint teachers in every state... The powers of Congress would subvert the very foundation, the very nature of the limited government established by the people of America.
-- James Madison

Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God!
-- Patrick Henry

The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.
-- Patrick Henry

When the American spirit was in its youth, the language of America was different: Liberty, sir, was the primary object.
-- Patrick Henry

....Thank you Mark for sending this to me.

3rd Mar.Div. 1st Battalion 9th Marine Regiment
1/9 Marines aka The Walking Dead
VN 66-67

Posted by Wild Thing at February 17, 2009 05:50 AM


I don't think CONgress understands the concept of The Republic much less The Federation (We are a Federal Republic). Just because there is a strong Federal Government to bind the UNION OF 50 SOVEREIGN STATES does not mean that they have unlimited power to regulate tax etc. Their "social" responsibilites are DEFINED not outlined in the Constitution. The States have a broader authority to enact such programs on their own.

Oh in case anyone was wondering about the Constitutionality of the spendulus here's just one big no argument, "No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another." Article I, Section 9 of The U.S. Constitution "Limits on Congress".

Oh and when it comes to Firearms What part of "Shall Not Be Infringed" do these people not understand, even if a state like california wants to pass some extreme measure, on the surface from a neutral legal stand point it sounds perfectly logical in that the state is exercising its own sovereign authority, but alas state law is conflicting with federal law and in that case, Federal Law (i.e. The Second Amendment) trumps whatever regulatory measure the states pass (as far as ownership goes, even in Texas it says the state government has the power to regulate the wearing of arms but not ownership) the same thing goes to the federal government the Bill of Rights are in there to put a restriction on government mr. ob[s]ama not even the fed can trump the constitution. I think it was on Hannity's radio program yesterday Sean was asking why do The American People have to earn what is a God Given Right Defined in The Constitution.

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, "The Right to Keep and Bear Arms"

"Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in the lawful defense of himself or the State; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime." Article I, Section 23. of The Texas Constitution, "The Right to Keep and Bear Arms"

Posted by: JohnE PFC U.S. Army at February 17, 2009 07:35 AM

You bring in enough immigrants and you corrupt the schools so that they do not teach fundamental principles and eventually you get a majority who do not understand what freedom is and what it takes to keep it.

Posted by: Avitar at February 17, 2009 10:30 AM

I have sent this to all my mailing list. No current congress person has so clearly spoken to this bill as did Thomas Jefferson. Don't we miss the Founders? I'm a naturalized Virginian and I used to tell my North Carolina relatives about the day when, on the same day, George Washington was at the East end of the Duke of Gloucester Street in Williamsburg sitting in the Virginia House of Burgesses, Patrick Henry was in his law office down the street, and Thomas Jefferson was at the West end of the street lecturing at the College of William and Mary.

I really appreciate you, Chrissie, and Mark for carrying the flag for those of us who can barely walk. Hah, that's me.

In about two hours Air Force One carrying the Won will wheel in over my house and land at Buckley AFB two miles east of me. I'll try to get a picture of it. Then the modern incarnation of Santa Claus will go up to my daughter's museum (which she isn't allowed to enter today) and sign his gift list. Aurora only has 50 million dollars on the list for reworking the Colfax/I-225 intersection. (Don't ask me how they could spend that much money there.)

I'm really glad we can host this for all of you. It'd be hell if he had to stay in D.C. and do his job.

Posted by: horace at February 17, 2009 12:00 PM

We are now ruled by a majority of liberal socialist politicians. They love big and bigger central government. Now that they have ultimate power they are going to shove government down our throats. They are going to mock, violate, change and destroy The Constitution. They have the numbers to do this by legislation.

JohnE points out that The Constitution limits centralized power and gives states more rghts. The liberals in DC don't care what The Constitution says. They are going full speed ahead to consolidate all power and control the everyday aspect of our lives. They tax the working man and subsidize those who are too lazy to work.

This stimulus bill will take decades to reverse, IF we ever get the people back into office who believe in the Founding Fathers version of America. We may be witnessing the destruction of the Republic as it has been known for 200+ years.

Posted by: TomR at February 17, 2009 12:10 PM

Its a great letter. A polite letter of protest, from what will be the have-nots. The elites' of course are not listening. Afterall they know what's best for US. That is until it fails.

It will fail but then it will be a matter of seeing how many pieces are left to put it all back together, again.

At this time we are beyond the point of quoting the Constitution, because I think we are beyond the point of no return. We have a congress, majority of leftists democrat and a ultra left wing Usurper President, who don't care about the constitution. If they did we would not be in this mess in the first place. So as far as I am concerned it is time to get our local and state leaders on board and beat these bastards from the grassroots. Yes, State's Rights.

Posted by: Mark at February 17, 2009 01:01 PM

Mark I was just listening to Rush and he was quoting John Adams, "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other." I guess that is as good an explanation as any other.

Posted by: JohnE PFC U.S. Army at February 17, 2009 01:28 PM

And I wonder what part of the so called stimulus is paying for the concentration camps that the Messiah is building for people who will be demonstrating against his nazi type policies. Thank god we have Mr. Mossberg and Mr. Ruger to help us through these trying times.

Posted by: cuchieddie at February 17, 2009 02:10 PM

JohnE PFC U.S. Army, that was great, thank you!!!!!
HUGE DITTO to all of it.

Posted by: Wild Thing at February 17, 2009 07:15 PM

Avitar, your right and if I had anyway to change that I would make it a top priority. I would love to see Veterans allowed to go to schools and share and let the kids know what it means to love their country and why we are free.

Posted by: Wild Thing at February 17, 2009 07:18 PM

Horace, thank you and thank you for being here.

Posted by: Wild Thing at February 17, 2009 07:19 PM

Tom, it makes me cry, I wonder what it is like not to love ones country so much. I think those that don't the ones that are bent on destroying America, they know the feeling of not this love for their country.

Posted by: Wild Thing at February 17, 2009 07:23 PM

Mark, I agree, it is sad to face and angers me but I very much agree it is already too late on many levels.

I agree with this so much.....
"So as far as I am concerned it is time to get our local and state leaders on board and beat these bastards from the grassroots. Yes, State's Rights."

Posted by: Wild Thing at February 17, 2009 07:27 PM

cuchieddie, yes I wonder too.

Posted by: Wild Thing at February 17, 2009 07:30 PM