by Robert Morrison
September 17, 2009
The power to tax involves the power to destroy. That was the famous line of Chief Justice John Marshall in the case of McCullough v. Maryland (1819). Today, the power of government control also involves the power to destroy. Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to take over all college student loans in the United States. This is the 220th Anniversary of the Constitution. You may well ask where in that storied document Congress gets the power to take over such an important part of the economy?
If you ask the average American family what are their greatest expenses, they can readily report: their home mortgage, their car payment, and their sons or daughters college loans. We have seen liberals in Congress move to take over Fanny Mae and Freddie Macgoverning home mortgages—and the hash they made of that. We have seen them move to take over GM and Chrysler, as well as major banks. Now, they are completing the takeover: college loans.
Its not a stretch to see how they will exercise this new power should the Senate go along and the Obama administration complete the latest power grab. Does the Student Health Center at your Christian college refuse to dispense condoms and refer for abortions? Does the chapel refuse to solemnize same-sex marriages? Well, we may have to have a little chat with your government college loan officer. (Theyll probably house that officer in the same building with your government-issued end-of-life counselor.) Maybe you could find another collegea public optionto send your kids to.
Back in the `80s, Bob Jones University was denied its tax-exempt status because it refused to countenance interracial dating. No other college or university in the country, no major church group condoned BJUs policy. Most of us condemned as racist that policy. But we all recognized that denying a schools tax exemption was an effective way to drive it out of business. The power to tax involves the power to destroy. Happily, BJU reformed its practices. Still, the point was made.
For those of us who, for religious and moral reasons, refuse to go along with abortion-on-demand, refuse to approve counterfeit marriages, todays House action is menacing. We must recognize that the increasing power of governmenta power growing beyond all limitsis a grave threat.
Last week, at a 9/11 ceremonial Freedom Walk at the Reagan Library, All My Children TV star J.R. Martinez spoke. Hes a wounded Iraq war veteran. J.R. quoted Ronald Reagan: The most frightening words in the English language are these: Im from the government and Im here to help you.
Government assistance reminds us of Broadways Yul Brynner in the old hit musical, The King and I. Its a puzzlement, sang the bald baritone playing the King of Siam. When he spoke of allies, he asked: If allies have power to protect me/Might they not protect me out of all I own?
Theres no puzzlement now. This administration and this Congress are showing themselves daily to have no interest in limited government, no interest in the careful system of checks and balances the Founders established to secure the blessings of liberty.
The student loan takeover has not yet been approved by Senate and signed by the President. But Founding Father James Madison said it best: The people are right to take alarm at the first advance on their liberties. Take alarm!