Breaking the Contract

Member Group : From the Kitchen Table

In every country, there is a relationship between the citizens and the
state. The nature of that relationship determines whether the citizens are
free or the state is a tyranny.

It was a break in the citizen/state relationship that caused the Revolution
that created America. The Declaration not only explained how the
relationship had been broken, it explained what a proper relationship
should be. It said that citizens had endowed rights and reason those
citizens created the government was to protect those rights. So the
government was an entity "contracted" by the citizens.

Most important contracts between parties are written down so everyone is
clear on the terms and conditions. Our mortgages, car loans, and
employment agreements are usually defined in carefully worded documents. The
documents lay out what each side is responsible to give or do for the
other, and what duties each side must honor to receive the designated

The contract between the citizen and the government in America was also
written down and formally agreed to, in a document called the U.S.
Constitution. It clearly lays out the duties and rights of each side of
the citizen/state relationship.

In the contract, the citizens agree to follow the laws, be loyal, and
ensure that the government gets the funds it needs. The government agrees
to provide a safe and stable environment in which the citizens can live
their lives. The specific tasks the government must complete to provide
that environment are even listed in the words of the agreement, as are
limits to the authority of the government.

As long as both sides honored the contract, America thrived.

But today, the contract is broken.

Today, we have a chief executive who makes appointments without following
the process laid out in the contract because he "can’t wait" for Congress. We
have a Congress that has failed to pass a budget, as required by the
contract, although it continues government spending without one. In both
cases, the federal government has removed the contractual limits on it,
expanding its scope and authority. And as it expands, it requires ever
larger amounts of revenue.

That revenue comes from the citizen.

The sad reality is that the overwhelming majority of America’s citizens do
not have any idea how much revenue they are supplying to a state that has
violated its contract with them. Most of us will focus on how large our
refund will be without realizing that getting a refund means that we have
given the government an interest-free loan for some portion of the previous

It would be a challenging exercise for each American to actually calculate
how much revenue moved from their bank accounts to the bank accounts of the
federal government in 2011. And if we were to complete the exercise, it
would be a natural response to focus just on the revenue.

That would also be a mistake. The revenue the federal government is
pulling from its citizens is always related to how closely the government
is following the terms of its contract with each of us.

If we truly want to get control of the spending in Washington, we must
learn what the contract says by reading the Constitution. And then we must
take this election year to remove those who do not believe that the terms
of our Constitutional contract must be honored and replace them with people
who will insist on enforcing the contract that built the most free and most
prosperous nation on earth.

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