The Dan Smoot Report
Vol. 15, No. 2 · (Broadcast 699) · January 13, 1969 · Dallas, Texas
HOW TO CONTROL OUR GOVERNMENT
"There are those who still think they are holding the pass against the revolution that may be coming up the road. But they are gazing in the wrong direction. The revolution is behind them. It went by in the Night of Depression, singing songs of freedom."
Those lines from the late Garet Garrett's magnificent People's Pottage allude to the socialist revolution which rolled over America during the first 100 days of Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration.
How did it happen?
The American people were victimized by a band of intellectual revolutionists who seized control of government, and then used the massive power of government to advance the revolution.
In 1929, our nation was in trouble deep trouble. There was nothing wrong or inadequate about our constitutional system. American capitalism was not sick of disease or old age or organic weakness: it was suffering from grievous wounds inflicted by the government meddling of World War I.
The great depression did not come because the American system of private capitalism had worn itself out and collapsed. The depression resulted from the distortions and dislocations in our economy caused by government action during and following the war.
The solution for our economic problems in 1929 was not to abandon our old American system but to return to it.
Americans knew this instinctively. That is why they listened in 1929 to a persuasive voice that sang the song of freedom:
"Our nation has been a successful experiment in democratic government, because the individual states have waived in only a few instances their sovereign rights .... But there is a tendency, and to my mind a dangerous tendency, on the part of our national government, to encroach, on one excuse or another, more and more upon state supremacy. The elastic theory of interstate commerce, for instance, has been stretched almost to the breaking point to cover certain regulatory powers desired by Washington."
That was Franklin D. Roosevelt, then governor of New York, addressing a conference of governors on July 16, 1929.
Soon, dark shadows were lengthening across the land. In a radio address on March 2, 1930, FDR again urged the people to return to the original federal system created by the Founding Fathers.
In 1932, Roosevelt was elected President on a conservative platform of states' rights. He had promised to reduce federal expenditures, cut down the power and size of the federal government, and permit political power to return to the individual states where, according to the Constitution, it belongs.
Once in office, however, Roosevelt went in the opposite direction. By the time Roosevelt had to face voters for reelection, the New Deal propaganda machine, financed with taxpayers' money, had already been operating for over three years. Every person who stood up to criticize Roosevelt or his policies was sneered at and vilified by the President, the President's wife, cabinet officers, and leading opinion formers in all occupations.
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The principal obstacle to socialism in the United States was our federal system. Our original Constitution and Bill of Rights provided that most of the dangerous powers of government those directly touching the lives of the people should remain in the state capitals and not in the national capital. With political power thus distributed among sovereign and competing states, no one could impose socialism on the entire nation.
The Founding Fathers left no loophole which would enable the central government to destroy the federal system by usurping powers reserved for state governments; but 20 years before Roosevelt was elected, two fatal loopholes had been made. Even with a submissive Congress, a revolutionary Supreme Court of his own choosing, and a popularity that made him seem politically invincible, Roosevelt could not have converted our old form of limited federal government into a centralized government of unlimited power, without the 16th and 17th amendments to the Constitution (both adopted in 1913). Getting these two amendments was the first major objective of the socialist movement in the United States. Without them, the socialist revolution which began in the 1930's would not have been possible.
Our original Constitution limited the power of the federal government to levy direct taxes on the people. The 16th Amendment gives the government unlimited power "to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived."
Our original Constitution stipulated that U. S. Senators should be chosen by state legislatures. This preserved the idea and actuality of a federation. The limited power of the federal government was further limited by division of legislative power between two rival Houses of Congress, each answerable to a different electorate: the Senate representing state governments; the House representing individual voters. The 17th Amendment, providing for direct election of U. S. Senators, weakened this marvelous check-and-balance on federal power, and left state governments without representation in the national Congress.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, the first President to take full advantage of the federal taxing power latent in the 16th Amendment, expanded federal taxing until state governments were left without adequate tax revenues.
With no representation in the national legislature to help check the mushrooming growth of federal power, state governments turned beggars, asking for subsidies from Washington, becoming wards and tools of the federal bureaucracy; and the people lost interest in their state governments. All eyes turned to Washington for handouts and directions.
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By 1952, the socialist revolution was so far advanced that Norman Thomas (socialist candidate for President in six elections: 1928 through 1948) decided not to run again, saying wryly that Democrats and Republicans had stolen his platform. Thomas acknowledged that Americans had rejected socialism emphatically when it was offered forthrightly as socialism, but had accepted it when presented as "welfare state" measures by Democrats and Republicans.
In 1952 having come to realize that Roosevelt-Truman programs were dragging us deep into the quagmire of socialism voters elected General Eisenhower and a Republican-controlled Congress. Eisenhower had vowed to "clean up the mess in Washington"; had decried federal aid to education and other unconstitutional, unnecessary, and harmful federal spending programs; had promised balanced budgets and constitutional government. The promised cleanup became a whitewash; Eisenhower's foreign policy was identical with Truman's; his domestic program in many ways out-dealed both the New Deal and the Fair Deal.
The Eisenhower reign emasculated the anti-communist, anti-socialist movement in the United States, leaving it leaderless and confused. There was no enthusiasm for the presidential election of I960, because Kennedy and Nixon offered identical programs.
* * *
John F. Kennedy, as President, clarified the essential political conflict in America. Kennedy gathered around him a group of men whose dedication to socialism was well known. Whereas the Eisenhower image had confused much of the public about the true meaning of federal programs, the same programs presented by Kennedy were so readily recognizable as revolutionary that they aroused conservative instincts of the people.
By 1963, the conservative movement had regained its lost vigor. New Frontier programs were bogged down in Congress. Conservatives, feeling certain that John F. Kennedy was politically doomed, impatiently awaited 1964, confident that any good constitutionalist could defeat the President.
Then came the assassination. The emotional backwash of that tragedy was the major factor in Johnson's 1964 victory. Ruthlessly exploiting the nation's sorrow, totalitarian liberals blamed anti-communists for the dastardly deed of a communist. Johnson cynically capitalized on the situation. Congress (as if trying to make public atonement for having opposed Kennedy's programs) enacted New Frontier legislation that had had no chance of getting out of committee prior to the assassination. An inexplicable feeling of guilt settled upon conservatives who had opposed Kennedy politically! They winced at being called extremists this having become a label of hate with connotations making it almost synonymous with assassins. The greatest conservative movement of this century foundered in a national trauma.
* * *
In the first year after his election, Johnson pushed more dangerous and unconstitutional legislation through Congress than all Presidents who preceded him.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was the most extravagant spender of tax money the nation had ever had; but Truman was more extravagant than Roosevelt; Eisenhower was more extravagant than Truman; Kennedy was more extravagant than Eisenhower; and Johnson was extravagantly more extravagant than Kennedy.
All Presidents, from George Washington to Franklin D. Roosevelt (1789 to 1933 144 years), spent $114 billion. In 12 years, FDR spent $374 billion. In 8 years, Truman spent $395 billion. In 8 years, Eisenhower spent $577 billion. In 8 years, Kennedy and Johnson spent $945 billion.
The 8 years of spending by Kennedy and Johnson exceeds by $62 billion all money spent by the federal government from the beginning of George Washington's administration in 1789 to the end of Harry Truman's administration in 1953. The $883 billion spent during the 164 years from Washington through Truman included costs of the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean war in addition to the cost of paying off Revolutionary War debts and the costs of innumerable wars with Indian tribes.
Kennedy-Johnson spending included the cost of the Vietnam war; but the major increase of spending during the Kennedy-Johnson years was for non-defense activities. In 1961, non-defense spending of the federal government was $51.9 billion. In 1968, non-defense spending was $106.3 billion an increase of 101%. In that same 1961-1968 period, population of the United States increased 13%.
When Eisenhower left office in 1961, there were about 45 domestic social programs being financed by the federal government. As Johnson leaves office in 1969, there are at least 435 such programs.
The federal government has become a colossal international welfare agency which arbitrarily seizes as much of every American's property as it wants, and scatters that property all over the earth in performing its illegal, self-appointed roles of policeman, loan broker, and Santa Claus for the world.
* * *
The ghastly mess in Vietnam; rising living costs; soaring crime rates; worldwide contempt for America by people whom we have supported and defended for years; widespread waste, corruption, and political favoritism fobbed off on the public as a war on poverty; the communist-incited, government-supported civil-rights movement which seems headed either for civil war or for surrender of our sacred rights to a militant minority of racial agitators these glaring conditions caused President Johnson's popularity to sink so low that he decided to quit.
Constitutionalists must make the public realize, however, that these conditions are not the result of Lyndon B. Johnson's mishandling of national policies: they are the inevitable, accumulated consequence of the policies which Johnson inherited and continued policies which have been followed by the last five Presidents.
We must change the policies. We must dismantle the federal socialist welfare state and compel our government to operate within the bounds of constitutional authority. The only certain way to do this is to limit the taxing power of the federal government so that politicians cannot get enough of our money to pay for the destruction of our Republic.
We should put continuing, relentless pressure on Congress to submit the Liberty Amendment which would repeal the Sixteenth (income-tax) Amendment, specify that treaties cannot override our Constitution, and prohibit the federal government from engaging in any enterprise except as authorized by the Constitution.
TEXT OF LIBERTY AMENDMENT
"Sec. 1. The Government of the United States shall not engage in any business, professional, commercial, financial or industrial enterprise except as specified in the Constitution.
"Sec. 2. The constitution or laws of any State, or the laws of the United States, shall not be subject to die terms of any foreign or domestic agreement which would abrogate this amendment.
"Sec. 3. The activities of the United States Government which violate the intent and purposes of this amendment shall, within a period of three years from the date of the ratification of this amendment, be liquidated and the properties and facilities affected shall be sold.
"Sec. 4. Three years after the ratification of this amendment the sixteenth article of amendments to the Constitution of the United States shall stand repealed and thereafter Congress shall not levy taxes on personal incomes, estates, and/or gifts."
Here are the states which have already endorsed the LIBERTY AMENDMENT, which is pending in Congress as House Joint Resolution 23.
- South Carolina
THE DAN SMOOT REPORT is published weekly by The Dan Smoot Report, Inc., Box 9538, Dallas, Texas 75214 (office at 6441 Gaston Ave.). Subscriptions: $18.00 for 2 years; $10.00, 1-year; $6.00, 6 months. Dan Smoot was born in Missouri, reared in Texas. With BA and MA degrees from SMU (1938 and 1940), he joined the Harvard faculty (1941) as a Teaching Fellow, doing graduate work in American civilization. From 1942 to 1951, he was an FBI agent; from 1951 to 1955, a commentator on national radio and television. In 1955, he started his present independent, free-enterprise business: publishing this REPORT and abbreviating it each week for radio and TV broadcasts available for commercial sponsorship by business firms.