What Would D. Crockett Say About Bailout Nation?
From Davy Crockett's "It's Not Yours To Give" story:
It is not the amount that I complain of; it is the principle. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be intrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by tariff (Note: There were no income taxes in the 1800s when this was written, most government revenue came from tariffs), which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means.
If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any thing and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other.
No, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose.
(Originally posted in August 2008.)
Update: These were the words of Horatio Bunce, a constituent of Davy Crockett.