James Leroy Wilson's one-man magazine.

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Liberty Amendment

Are you familiar with this?

It's a proposed amendment to the Constitution, called the Liberty Amendment:
Section 1. The Government of the United States shall not engage in any business, professional, commercial, financial or industrial enterprise except as specified in the Constitution.

Section 2. The constitution or laws of any State, or the laws of the United States shall not be subject to the terms of any foreign or domestic agreement which would abrogate this amendment.

Section 3. The activities of the United States Government which violate the intent and purpose of this amendment shall, within a period of three years from the date of the ratification of this amendment, be liquidated and the properties and facilities affected shall be sold.

Section 4. Three years after the ratification of this amendment the sixteenth article of amendments to the Constitution of the United States shall stand repealed and thereafter Congress shall not levy taxes on personal incomes, estates, and/or gifts.

I assume this means that the "necessary and proper" or "general welfare" clauses of the Constitution can no longer be used to justify the existence of government-run businesses, such as the Federal Reserve, that are not specified already. But is Social Security a business enterprise? The Amendment doesn't address social-welfare programs. What about Veteran's hospitals? Professional or business enterprise? Something else?

What about National Park entrance fees and other user fees for services - are they taxes for a government enterprise or payments to a business enterprise?

If the political climate allowed the Liberty Amendment to be passed and ratified, the political climate would also render it unnecessary, because the people would follow the Tenth Amendment's restrictions on the federal government, and taxes on personal incomes, estates, and gifts would be repealed anyway.

Still, I like the idea of liquidating a lot of federal programs within three years.

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