There might be something to these cruises after all. On a recent Hillsdale College excursion esteemed economist Walter Williams provided a civics refresher for cruisers that few in his professional environs of academia can even grasp. “Most of what they understood as legitimate powers of the federal government are enumerated in Article 1, Section 8,” Professor Williams reminded the audience of what the Founding Fathers laid out in the Constitution. “Congress is authorized there to do 21 things, and as much as three-quarters of what Congress taxes us and spends our money for today is nowhere to be found on that list.”
“To cite just a few examples, there is no constitutional authority for Congress to subsidize farms, bail out banks, or manage car companies.” Understanding how we came to such an impasse involves some harsh self examination, which few, particularly among his colleagues, care to undertake.
“Many manufacturers think that the government owes them a protective tariff to keep out foreign goods, resulting in artificially higher prices for consumers,” Professor Williams reminded his fellow passengers. “Many farmers think the government owes them a crop subsidy, which raises the price of food. “
“Organized labor thinks government should protect their jobs from non-union competition. And so on. We could even consider many college professors, who love to secure government grants to study poverty and then meet at hotels in Miami during the winter to talk about poor people. All of these—and hundreds of other similar demands on government that I could cite—represent involuntary exchanges and diminish our freedom.”
Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.