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Opinion Letters Government Spending and Tax Collection

Concerning government spending and tax collection, one of TMCN&SG’s columnists recently said “The main focus needs to be on how to reduce spending–not collecting.”

The democrats (with a little “d”) who wrote the Articles of Confederation placed such a focus into the Articles. The national government could raise money only by requesting it from the states. The states could give a lesser amount than asked for or nothing at all. This had the effect of making it very difficult for the national government to borrow money. Lenders did not want to lend to a borrower that might not be able to get the money to pay them back. So the national government, little able to either borrow or tax, was much hampered in how much it could spend.

That provision of the Articles put the United States at a disadvantage in the spheres of defense and diplomacy. This was a reason that the oligarchies gave for their calling of the Constitutional Convention of 1787–to amend this and other provisions of the Articles of Confederation, they said. Instead they used the occasion of the Convention to overthrow the Confederation government and install in its place a government constituted by themselves.

But, until overthrown, that provision had definitely limited the opportunities for pork barrel and other forms of corruption in the national government, as neither the politicians nor the bureaucrats could get their hands on large amounts of money.

Would that the national government’s spending in the domestic sphere had never been released from that provision, or could again be thus restricted.

But Washington will not restrict itself. Maybe we who are outside of the Beltway need to dust off Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence and reissue it.

Short of secession, an act for controlling Washington-spending has been introduced into several state legislatures. It would retain under state government control, all national taxes raised within the state. The national government could gain control only of so much as the state government released to it and only for the purpose( s) for which the state government released it.

George Crockett — Franklin, NC


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