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Money –> Hole: Why the Hell Not?

With the government shut down it’s time to ask the really important questions such as Should The Government Stop Dumping Money Into A Giant Hole?

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  • ghostsniper January 12, 2019, 1:10 PM

    From The Life of Colonel David Crockett, compiled by Edward S. Ellis
    (Philadelphia: Porter & Coates, 1884)

    David Crockett
    Member of Congress 1827-31, 1832-35

    One day in the House of Representatives, a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in it’s support. The Speaker was just about to put the question when Crockett arose:

    “Mr. Speaker– I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the suffering of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I have never heard that the government was in arrears to him. Every man in this House knows it is not a debt. We cannot, without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as a charity. Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much money of our own as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week’s pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks.”

    He took his seat. Nobody replied. The bill was put upon its passage, and, instead of passing unanimously, as was generally supposed, and as, no doubt it would, but for that speech, it received but few votes, and, of course, was lost.

    Later, when asked by a friend why he had opposed the appropriation, Crockett gave this explanation:

    “Several years ago I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. In spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made homeless, and besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them. The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done.

    “The next summer, when it began to be time to think about the election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there, but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up. When riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came to the fence. As he came up, I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but, as I thought, rather coldly.

    “I began: “Well, friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called candidates, and—-‘

    “Yes, I know you you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine. I shall not vote for you again.’

    “This was a sockdolager….I begged him to tell me what was the matter.

    “Well, Colonel, it is hardly worth-while to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it in that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the constituent to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting or wounding you. I intended by it only to say that your understanding of the Constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what, but for rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest…. But an understanding of the Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is.’

    “‘I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake about it, For I do not remember that I gave any vote last winter upon any constitutional question.’

    “‘No, Colonel, there’s no mistake. Though I live here in the back woods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings in Congress. My papers say last winter you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some suffers by fire in Georgetown. Is that true?’

    “‘Well, my friend, I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve it’s suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing Treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just as I did.’

    “‘It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing to do with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by tariff, 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. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. 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 anything 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, Colonel, 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.If twice as many houses had been burned in this county as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief.

    There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the suffers by contributing each one week’s pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life.. The congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditable; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution.

    “‘So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch it’s power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you…’

    “I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go talking, he would set others to talking, and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, for the fact is, I was so fully convinced that he was right, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him:

    “Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head, when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it fully, I have heard many speeches in congress about the powers of the Congress, but what you have said here at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot.’

    “He laughingly replied: “Yes Colonel, you have sworn to that once before, but I will trust you again upon one condition. You say that you are convinced that your vote was wrong. Your acknowledgment of it will do more good than beating you for it. If, as you go around the distict, you will tell people about this vote, and that you are satisfied it was wrong, I will not only vote for you, but will do what I can to keep down opposition, and perhaps, I may exert some little influence in that way.’

    “‘If I don’t,’ said I. “I wish I may be shot; and to convince you that I am in earnest in what I say I will come back this way in a week or ten days, and if you will get up a gathering of the people, I will make a speech to them. Get up a bar-b-q, and I will pay for it.’

    “‘No Colonel, we are not rich people in this section, but we have plenty of provisions to contribute for a bar-b-q, and some to spare for those who have none.. The push of crops will be over in a few days, and we can then afford a day for a bar-b-q. This is Thursday; I will see to getting up on Saturday week. Come to my house on Friday, and we will go together, and I promise you a very respectable crowd to see and hear you.’

    “‘Well, I will be here. But one thing more before I say good-by. I must know your name.’

    “‘My name is Bunce.’

    “‘Not Horatio Bunce?’


    “‘Well, Mr. Bunce, I never saw you before though you say you have seen me, but I know you very well. I am glad I have met you, and very proud that I may hope to have you for my friend.’

    “It was one of the luckiest hits of my life that I met him. He mingled but little with the public, but was widely known for a heart brimful and running over with kindness and benevolence, which showed themselves not only in words but in acts. He was the oracle of the whole country around him, and his fame had extended far beyond the circle of his immediate acquaintance. Though I had never met him before, I had heard much of him, and but for this meeting it is very likely I should have had opposition, and had been beaten. One thing is very certain, no man could now stand up in that district under such a vote.

    “At the appointed time I was at his house, having told our conversation to every crowd I had met, and to every man I stayed all night with, and I found that it gave the people an interest and a confidence in me stronger than I had ever seen manifested before.

    “Though I was considerably fatigued when I reached his house, and, under ordinary circumstances, should have gone early to bed, I kept up until midnight, talking about the principles and affairs of government and got more real, true knowledge of them than I had got all my life before.

    “I have known and seen much of him since, for I respect him — no, that is not the word — I reverence and love him more than any living man, and I go to see him two or three times a year; and I will tell you sir, if everyone who professes to be a Christian, lived and acted and enjoyed it as he does, the religion of Christ would take the world by storm.

    “But to return to my story. The next morning we went to the barbecue, and, to my surprise, found about a thousand men there. I met a good many whom I had not known before, and they and my friend introduced me around until I had got pretty well acquainted—at least, they all knew me.

    “In due time notice was given that I would speak to them. They gathered up around a stand that had been erected. I opened my speech by saying: “Fellow-citizens — I present myself before you today feeling like a new man. My eyes have lately been opened to truths which ignorance or prejudice, or both, had heretofore hidden from my view. I feel that I can today offer you the ability to render you more valuable service than I have ever been able to render before. I am here today more for the purpose of acknowledging my error than to seek your votes. That I should make this acknowledgement is due to myself as well as to you. Whether you will vote for me is a matter for your consideration only.’

    “I went on to tell them about the fire and my vote for the appropriation and then told them why I was satisfied it was wrong. I closed by saying:

    “And now, fellow-citizens, it remains only for me to tell you that the most of the speech you have listened to with so much interest was simply a repetition of the arguments by which your neighbor, Mr. Bunce, convinced me of my error.

    “‘It is the best speech I ever made in my life, but he is entitled to the credit for it. And now I hope he is satisfied with his convert and that he will get up here and tell you so.’

    “He came upon the stand and said:

    “‘Fellow-citizens — It affords me great pleasure to comply with the request of Colonel Crockett. I have always considered him a thoroughly honest man, and I am satisfied that he will faithfully perform all that he has promised you today.’

    “He went down, and there went up from that crowd such a shout for Davy Crockett as his name never called forth before.

    “I am not much given to tears, but I was taken with a choking then and felt some big drops rolling down my cheeks. And I tell you now that the remembrance of those few words spoken by such a man, and the honest, hearty shout they produced, is worth more to me than all the reputation I have ever made, or shall ever make, as a member of Congress.

    “Now, sir,” concluded Crockett, “you know why I made that speech yesterday.

    “There is one thing now to which I will call your attention. You remember that I proposed to give a week’s pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men– men who think nothing of spending a week’s pay, or a dozen of them, for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased — a debt which could not be paid by money — and the insignificant and worthlessness of money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $10,000, when weighed against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it.”

  • Marica January 12, 2019, 2:41 PM

    Damn, Ghost. Preach it. Video was hilarious, by the way. Thanks.

  • Howard Nelson January 12, 2019, 4:48 PM

    In addition to voluntarily carrying adequate insurance to cover personal catastrophes, does government have any obligation to pay out of its tax revenues derived from its citizenry for expedited repair of water, electric, transportation, food distribution, shelter , and medical systems?
    What does the the phrase in the preamble to the Constitution, “promote the general welfare” mean in the face of the massive destructions of gulf coast storms, east coast storms, mid-country tornadoes and massive flooding, and west coast firestorms?
    Non-governmental charities and mutual assistance groups are helpful but never adequate for these large scale catastrophes. Ought we to exclude government assistance, inefficient as it may be, until the Constitution is amended permitting use of government resources?

  • ghostsniper January 12, 2019, 6:00 PM

    Hey Howard, I want to buy a Harley so I can give little kids rides down at the orphanage but I lack the funds to do so. Can I come over there and steal all your stuff and sell it so I can get that Harley, I mean, my intentions are good and well, it’s for the children.

    If stealing is wrong then ALL stealing is wrong, don’t you think?

    BTW, look up the definition of the word “general” when you get the chance.
    Thnx, Mgt.

  • Howard Nelson January 12, 2019, 7:19 PM

    gs, if you really care about the kids why don’t you organize the community and the Harley dealership to offer outings for the orphanage’s kids. That would be a voluntary mutual assistance group of the non-governmental sort.

    And no, I don’t think disaster aid by government is stealing; it’s the price we pay for pay for being citizens protected by government against enemies foreign, domestic, and natural disasters. That the protection is imperfect does not void the value rendered.
    And no, all stealing is not wrong when determined on the spectrum of evil to good. Is taking food from a tyrant’s warehouse to feed starving children in a starving neighborhood orphanage wrong? I am prepared to make the case, before Tyrant, Man, Children, and God, that it is not wrong but rather the right and good thing to do. In the real world there are priorities for behavior in expression of values.
    To take the food from your stores would be wrong. To overthrow the tyrant is the preferred path as the French and South Americans are relearning.

  • ghostsniper January 13, 2019, 4:43 AM

    “And no, all stealing is not wrong…”

    Well there ya go, an admission, by an undeveloped mind.
    Thank you, but I could have done without seeing that.
    I imagine that if you are violently assaulted by others that believe, like you do – that theft is permissible, you will change your errant ways.

    Back in the early 60’s my dad, a lifelong Readers Digest reader, encouraged us kids to read by pointing out that at the end of each article there was always a little joke or anecdote. The RD would come in the mail and be placed on the table next to my dad’s chair. Nobody touched that chair, table, or the contents thereof. When dad was done with the RD then the rest of us could have at it. So I spent the next many years reading the RD cover to cover. In the 80’s I could sense a change in the RD and I didn’t like it and stopped subscribing. It’s now been more than 30 years since I looked at one but recently looked at one in the checkout line at walmart. It still has some good articles but the chore of wading through all the offensive stuff was more than I could bear so I put it back on the shelf.

    In the 60’s there was an article in the RD titled the “Two Types of People Today”, about the producers and parasites in the US and the increasing of the latter and decreasing of the former. We are now about 50 years down the road from then and the things pointed it out are sadly so true. You do indeed get more of that which you encourage.

    When I got Shannon in Sep 2014 she was about 5 months old and previous persons had inadvertently “taught” her to walk on the right side while leashed and that is a no no. I immediately started carrying small “cookies” in my pocket and when Shannon would try to walk on my right side I would correct her and instantly give her a cookie and tell her she was a good gurl. A week later she would never walk on my right side again, even off the leash. 4 years later I still have cookie crumbs in the right pockets of all of my britches and I still reward Shannon for good behavior all the time. My latest goal for her is to get her to balance walk along the top of the porch railing. This is done in stages and it started with me laying an 8′ long pressure treated 4×4 post on the porch floor and getting her to walk on it. She didn’t see the point of it and got bored quickly as she is extremely high energy. Cookies to the rescue. I got her to stand on the post and then I put a cookie on it right in front of her and told her not to touch it. 10 seconds later I said “Get it.”, and she gobbled it. Then I put another cookie on the post about 4 away and did the same thing. When she got to the end we turned around and did it again. And again. And again. Now, I tell her to “Get on the rail” and she gets right on that post and waits. In a day or 3 I’ll sit that post up on 2 concrete blocks (8″ high) and do it all over again forcing her to establish balance. By spring I expect her to be walking the 176′ long railing all around our house. The railings and post are ensconced in ice today so there will be no training. But the learning will continue in other venues. It’s a journey not a destination. Cookies, and pleasing me, are her life’s goals.

  • Marica January 13, 2019, 9:47 AM

    “… it’s the price we pay for pay for being citizens protected by government against enemies foreign, domestic, and natural disasters.”

    I’m a-gonna need some citations to the Constitution, here. I was unaware that citizens pay for the status of citizenship– protected or otherwise. Also unaware that a proper function of the government (which is by the way comprised of my fellow citizens) is to protect me from natural disasters or their consequences. Hell. I have a problem with the National Weather Service / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as part of the Commerce Department, even existing in the year 2019.

    ALL STEALING IS WRONG. Period. End of story.

  • DAN January 13, 2019, 5:30 PM

    GS. SO TRUE about RD & back in the 60s i read that same article & it still is truer today than ever,probably why in our day the good guys wore white hats & bad guys wore black hats. easy to tell whos who, not like today when it’s all shades of gray, let the DUKE sortem out.

  • H January 14, 2019, 6:52 AM

    Well, now, there, then……….

    I don’t know anything about nothin’; all of y’all who have read any of my comentaryin’ here already knows that. And I don’t even have a garage, you can call home and ax my wife!

    But that guy what turns the valve to flood that hole with gasoline and his buddy what strikes fire to it? I gar-on-damn-tee you that both them palookas go home from work every night with their pockets full.

    Them palookas have a job title; they are called “members of congress”, and like Captain Redlegs, they firmly believe that “doin’ right ain’t got no end.” And to that end, have hired themselves an armed escort provided by your tax dollars to make sure they get home safely, and another group of folks with guns, also paid by you, to make damn sure you “pay your fair share” to keep the hole full and burning, all the each and every live long day, or they’ll shoot you deader than charity, should you doth protest too much.

    Somebody prove me wrong. You there, Howard; you may go first, sir, if you please. I should like to hear more about this “consent of the governed” theory you’ve not named but seem to be dancing around. No offense………I’ll be over to the side of the hole, warming my hands whilst all that money, some which used to be mine, burns.

  • Jaynie January 14, 2019, 7:59 AM

    Fantastic video, that had me laughing out loud. Gosh, didn’t those actors have the pundit behavior down cold? Chilling, though, once I was past the initial comedy of the piece. So brilliant in that it ran on for so long.

    Great story, too, about Davy Crockett and Horacio Bunce, ghostsniper, the video and story go together well in solidly making the point. Would that the DJT administration could wrench the swamps’ hands off the gushing spigot of government waste and slow down the spending.

  • ghostsniper January 14, 2019, 8:16 AM

    There is a universal concept that people do not want to surrender that which they have earned.
    They may contribute to a cause they have been convinced is just.
    But outright theft is resisted by all, sometimes violently.

    There is also a universal concept in that people feel guilty in receiving that in which they have not earned. Through learned experience this concept is easily ignored by some. When receiving that in which they did not earn, in time, a strange thing occurs, whereas the receiver of unearned benefit becomes dependent on it, sometimes violently so.

    In all things upon which a person may become dependent there is only one sure way to escape it’s wrath and that is by immediate halting of it’s access. Cold turkey as they say. Everything else is just coddling and makes the eventual escape that much harder to achieve.

    People that believe property belonging to others is fluid and should be used as others dictate have never owned much in the first place and that is why they place no value in what others own, except in how it might benefit them. Benefit is not limited to property alone and can also include emotions.

    While Howard himself may not attain benefit of the theft of other peoples property, by assisting in the organization of others, even if no direct participation is involved, to steal other peoples property and then used in part toward a goal that he finds noble, he derives emotional satisfaction. That is, unless the thieves they have the right to Howard’s property too.

    You see, none squeals so loudly as the immature mind that must comply with the rules he wishes for others.

    So, you wanna take my guns, the means in which I protect myself and my family?
    Then first you must surrender your own guns and those of your security persons and all the police and military that surround you. If you are unwilling to do that then your words are hollow shilling and to be ignored, and if you persist you will meet a violent termination.

    There is freedom, then there is everything else.
    As long as sanctioned theft exists there can be no freedom.
    Make no mistake, there is no “little bit” of freedom, or limited freedom, or more freedom.
    There is just freedom. Period.

    Similarly, there is no partial slavery, or more slavery.
    Either you are free entirely, or you are enslaved.
    There is no halfway, partway, or any way.
    Consider the hypocrisy of an uttered creed that claims the “land of the free” and sanctions large scale theft all in the same sentence.

    ghost steps down from the soap box and gathers his things and heads to the range…..

  • Snakepit Kansas January 14, 2019, 5:41 PM

    I’m with Ghost. If you earned something honestly in the Free Market then you should be able to keep it. I understand some folks cannot help themselves and need support, but that is not most of the folks I see at WalMarts. Taxes, I understand, but when I was a teen the sales tax rate in KS was 3%. Now it is more than double that and today it is supposedly not nearly enough!

    In my young adulthood I had holes in my shoes and shorts. I never ate out. Worked two jobs and went to school only when I had cash to pay for it up front. I made the sacrifices to work my way up. This exercise is called “character development”. Gubmint handouts rob people of being able to develop their character, which unfortunately, they tend to pass onto their next generation. To make real men and women we often are required to be tempered in a crucible.