As a follow up to yesterday, a reader sent me this quote:
...I am willing to-believe that, notwithstanding the aid already furnished, a donation of seed grain to the farmers located in this region, to enable them to put in new crops, would serve to avert a continuance or return of an unfortunate blight.
And yet I feel obliged to withhold my approval of the plan, as proposed by this bill, to indulge a benevolent and charitable sentiment through the appropriation of public funds for that purpose.
I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that though the people support the Government the Government should not support the people.
The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow-citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood.
The author: President Grover Cleveland. The date: February 16, 1887, in a response to the House of Representatives.
Try to imagine Barack Obama (or even George Bush, for that matter) sending this out as a response to requests for funding for entitlement programs, and you'll have a good idea where and why we've failed -- and also get an idea why the Feds were never supposed to run as much as they do. Too many conflicting interests lead to compromises where no one is happy -- and then everyone turns out a bunch of the folks in office and the whole thing resets, leaving behind no one except the likes of Robert Byrd who serve the self-interests of their constituency.