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The Des Moines Register’s Opinion Section on Sunday, July 3, 2011 featured a “Progressives Trifecta” of half-truths and sophistry:

  • Richard Doak – What if the founders were around today?
  • Donald Kaul – My favorite 4th of July speech
  • Dean Baker – Keep Social Security safe from politicians who want to save it

This week I will focus my comments on Richard Doak’s imaginary view of our founding fathers.  I will cover the other articles in due time.

Richard Doak – He begins with “This Fourth of July finds the country caught up more than usual in the mythology of America.”.  This opening argument is a fundamental tactic of the Progressives, i.e. to undermine our most cherished institutions by equating them to something less (mythology).

  • He asserts that “a faction” of the Supreme Court claims to discern the “original intent”.  Every Justice is required to faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent … under the Constitution.  How can a Justice fulfill that oath without trying to understand the original intent of the founders?  Every decision requires a majority, not a faction (minority).
  • He says that “Today’s congress and courts are more intent on freeing the rich from taxation…”.  According to The Heritage Foundation, the % of Federal Taxes paid by the top 10% of income earners has increased from just fewer than 50% in 1980 to about 70% at the end of 2008.  In 2008, 49% of U.S. households paid no Federal Income Tax.[1] The reality is that for decades congress has been intent on freeing everyone but the rich to pay taxes.
  • He asserts that “The Constitution, written in 1787, created a strong central government and a unified national economy.”.  He then creates the straw man that “politics are occasionally roiled by calls for a return to a weak central government and state’s ability to veto federal actions” as existed under the Articles of Confederation.  I have attended every major Tea Party event in Iowa over the past 3 years.  I can’t recall anyone calling for a return to the Articles of Confederation.   Most Tea Party supporters simply want the country to operate under the Constitution as properly amended.
  • He offers several rights, including guaranteed health care, implying the founders would have included them had they thought about them.  At the time the Constitution was written, there was substantial discontent over the welfare of the common man, both in the United States and Europe.  The French Revolution occurred in 1789.  The Articles of Confederation were introduced by James Madison that same year and ratified at the end of 1791. It is disingenuous to imply that the founders had no opportunity to think about social justice entitlements.  It is more likely that they considered such matters to be the province of individual states.
  • Finally, he offers up the U.S. Post Office as a shining example that the founders were pragmatic and had no favoritism of private sector solutions vs. government solutions.   They just wanted to do “what works best”.   I can’t think of a better argument for limited government and the need to repeal Obamacare.


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