The Tax and Spend Spectator
It is central to a free society that every man owns his own soul. Thus the First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion.
A free society must not live in fear of the state: hence the Second Amendment.
We do not trust democracy or the separation of powers to protect freedom of religion or of the press, or the right to keep and bear arms. In those cases, the Constitution was specifically amended to highlight the danger and protect us.
Then where in the U.S. Constitution, designed primarily to limit the power and scope of the federal government, is there a limit to the size and cost of the state?
Did everyone in Philadelphia just assume this was understood? Sort of the way they forgot to mention property rights--because everyone assumed they were assumed?
For at least 30 years now, conservatives have been working to enact a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) to the federal Constitution to prohibit or limit Congress's ability to borrow money.
"The record the period before President Reagan was one of galloping socialism," the great libertarian and Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman wrote in a 2004 Wall Street Journal op-ed. "The Reagan years were ones of retreating socialism, and the post-Reagan years, of creeping socialism."
Now that the Bush years are a matter for the history books and President Obama has outlined the course of his presidency, it's hard to escape the conclusion that the pace of the growth of government has picked up substantially. By Friedman's own metrics, the creeping socialism of the past decade is poised to gallop.
Of course, there are many ways to measure the concentration of power in the hands of government. There is no bright line dividing a capitalist economy from a social democracy, nor one separating a social democracy from a communist or fascist regime. But Friedman thought that two statistics, in particular, were indicative of economic freedom: the government's share of economic output, and the number of regulations issued.