From the 1925 State of the Union address. Why can’t we have representatives who talk like this anymore?
It is a fundamental principle of our country that the people are sovereign. While they recognize the undeniable authority of the state, they have established as its instrument a Government of limited powers. They hold inviolate in their own hands the jurisdiction over their own freedom and the ownership of their own property. Neither of these can be impaired except by due process of law. The wealth of our country is not public wealth, but private wealth. It does not belong to the Government, it belongs to the people. The Government has no justification in taking private Property except for a public purpose. It is always necessary to keep these principles in mind in the laying of taxes and in the making of appropriations. No right exists to levy on a dollar, or to order the expenditure of a dollar, of the money of the people, except for a necessary public purpose duly authorized by the Constitution. The power over the purse is the power over liberty.
That is the legal limitation within which the Congress can act, How it will, proceed within this limitation is always a question of policy. When the country is prosperous and free from debt, when the rate of taxation is low, opportunity exists for assuming new burdens and undertaking new enterprises. Such a condition now prevails only to a limited extent. All proposals for assuming new obligations ought to be postponed, unless they are reproductive capital investments or are such as are absolutely necessary at this time. We still have an enormous debt of over $20,000,000,000…
Heritage points out that the debt in 1925 was $30 per person. That’s $352 in today’s dollars. The national debt today is $35,000 a person. If the debt was urgent and enormous in 1925, what is it now?
If only we had a representative who believed that fiscal discipline was more than a hobby.