Federal Budget, What It Would Look Like If It Followed The Constitution: It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday, a special day of the week where we get to answer questions from you, the listeners! Always answering from those constitutional and foundational principles! Today we are answering your questions such as what the federal budget would look like if it followed the Constitution, what would that eliminate, and how much smaller would it be? Tune in now to hear all this and so much more, right here on WallBuilders Live!

Air Date: 06/15/2017

Guests: David Barton and Rick Green.


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast.  However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers.  Additionally, names may be misspelled because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.



President Calvin Coolidge said, “€œThe more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”€


That it is! Welcome to WallBuilders Live it”€™s Foundations of Freedom Thursday! This is the intersection of faith and the culture where we talk about today”€™s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, always from it from Biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.

Thursday gets a special emphasis on that constitutional perspective. That’s why we call it Foundations of Freedom Thursday, it’s a chance to really dive into the declaration, and the Constitution, and our history, and the principles that made our country great. And we let you drive the conversation, so send in your questions to [email protected].

We’re here with David Barton, America’s premiere historian and the founder of WallBuilders. And my name’s Rick Green, I’m a former Texas state rep, national speaker, and author.

Find out more about us and the organization at our websites WallBuilders.com and

What Would The Federal Budget Be If It Followed The Constitution

David, we’ve got lots of questions, we”€™re not going to get to all of them. But we’ve got some good ones that we’re going to jump into you right off the bat, you ready?


I am, fire away!


Alright brother, the first one comes from Gordon. He says, “€œHello, thank you for your radio show. My wife and I commute together and find your podcast able to make the traffic, bottlenecks, and crazy drivers totally inconsequential to our mood and general outlook on life.”€


That makes it a Good News Friday all by itself. Should have saved that until tomorrow man.


Yeah, forget the question, forget Good News Friday tomorrow. There you go, listen to WallBuilders Live and you’ll be able to endure the traffic, bottlenecks, and crazy drivers. I love it.


That’s great. I’m glad to be of service man, especially for that.


That”€™s good Gordon, appreciate it. Here’s his question, “€œHas anyone come up with a list of what the federal budget would look like and how many federal agencies programs and departments would go away or be given back to the states, those who wanted them anyway, if Congress operated within the enumerated powers listed in Article 1 Section 8 of the United States Constitution? This would assume the elastic clause would resume its originally intended definition.”€

Wow, that’s a great question David. I’ve never thought about that. What would it actually look like? What would the federal government look like right now if it was actually constitutional? If everything they were doing actually followed the Constitution, how small would that budget be?

Not All Area”€™s Of Government Has To Be Small


Great question and I think we’ll have a fun answer to it. But let me let me just kind of hit, first off, that if you take the numerator powers there are 15 things that the Constitution says the federal government can do. Fifteen, that’s it. Not the 5,243,000 we’ve got going today, 15. So, first off you would reduce it back to those 15 areas.

Now, just because it’s in those 15 areas doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily going to be small within those areas. For example, the constitution allows us to have a military nationally to defend the nation and defend the nation’s citizens. Well, 330 million folks in traveling all over the world as we do, our military has to be able to defend Americans anywhere at home or abroad. And they have to be able to defend all of our all of our borders here. So that’s not necessarily a small force we’re talking about.


Yeah, if you’re here to protect 330 million people you’re going to have to spend some bucks.


You’re going to have to spend some bucks and you’ve got to have state of the art stuff that is at least equal and hopefully a lot better than anything your opponents have otherwise you can’t defend your citizens.

You have to be at the top of the game, you have to be the big dog in the pile in this thing, you have to be the one that can win otherwise your citizens will not be protected. So that’s not going to be small. So even though that’s just one of the 15 areas, that’s not necessarily going to be small area.

And the same thing when you look at our dealings with international relations, for nations. To deal with foreign nations you’ve got a hundred and ninety five nations in the world today and we have Americans that go to all of them.

And so we have to be able to serve Americans in those nations so that’s where you get the various console’s, the embassies, and that’s why you have ambassadors etc. So dealing with a hundred and ninety five nations- and you take some large nations, I mean take some of the big nations in Africa, or take even a nation like Canada. You can’t just put one embassy or one council in Toronto because what do you do with Quebec?

And what are you going to do over with Alberta and all these other places where Americans need to be able to get to some place close if they need help.

So that means even though you may have an ambassador to Canada, you may have five or six diplomatic posts in Canada where Americans can go across that region. Same with a huge nation like Australia, you’ve got one in * Australia but you might have a counsel’s office in each of those Australian states.

And so having said that, even though the Constitution has said, “€œYeah, you’re going to have some kind of dealings with all these nations to help Americans and all the nations.”€ That’s not going to be small either.
So just take military and take foreign relations and already out of the 15 you now are looking at some big bucks and something really big when you’re looking at the world today.

So that’s a start. So what I’m saying is, just because there’s only 15 things doesn’t mean that it’s going to be a really small government. It means that it will be a really limited government. It will only do those 15 things the constitution allows it. Even though some of those things may involve a lot of money, and hundreds of thousands of people, and millions of dollars, and loss of locales, and lots of travels to those locales. It”€™s not be cheap, but it will be limited because it’s all supposed to do.

What The Federal Government Is Allowed To Do


Which means it’s definitely going to be small-er.


It’s going to be smaller than it is now. The jurisdictions will not extend into every aspect of life like they do right now. They will extend into 15 areas and that’s it. And so instead of telling us what kind of safety mechanisms we have to have on our shoes and how fast our safety locks can work on our cars. No, that’s not a constitutional power for the government. That’s something that by the Constitution belongs to the states to regulate and belongs to local communities to regulate but does not belong to the federal government to regulate that.

So that’s the first answer the question. Now we”€™ll come back and we’ll look at, alright, what would that eliminate? What would that budget look like? And how much smaller would it be.


Stay with us folks, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live!


Samuel Adams said, “€œThe liberties of our Country and the freedom of our civil Constitution are worth defending against hazards. And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.”€



A Moment From America”€™s History

This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. Shortly after the American Revolution America had become the envy of the world. It still remains a wonder of the modern world as 219 years later America has become the longest ongoing constitutional republic in the history of the world. What was the foundation upon which our Founding Fathers established this great nation? According to John Adams, the foundation was Christianity.

John Adams declared, “€œThe general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. Now I will avow that I then believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”€

According to Founding Father John Adams, it was the principles of Christianity which formed the foundation for American government. For more information on God’s hand in American history contact WallBuilders at 1 800 8 REBUILD.

Going Back To The Founders


President Calvin Coolidge said, “€œThe more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”€


Welcome back to Foundations of Freedom Thursday today on WallBuilders.Thanks for staying with us. David, you were beginning to answer that question about what the federal government would look like if it was actually constitutional, getting rid of all the departments and all the things that are outside the jurisdiction of what the federal government should actually be doing.


I’m going to extrapolate something, and maybe this is a real stretch to say this, but when you look back to the first federal government and that was President George Washington, the cabinet member he had, etc. You look at the first federal government, I’m going to make the assumption that they knew what was constitutional and what was not probably better than we do today.

So, maybe I’m wrong on that, but I’m going to assume that this since Washington was president of the convention that wrote the Constitution. He probably knows what is and isn’t constitutional. So if you give me that. And of course that’s facetiously speaking because obviously he did know.


He might have known, yes.


He might have known. One of the items we have in the WallBuilders Library is an image of it where people can see. You can just go to WallBuilders.com, you go to the library section, and resources, documents.

You’ll see we have a copy of George Washington’s first federal budget, 1789. The first budget ever done in the history of the United States. And I’m going to suggest that that budget knew what was and was not constitutional.

Constitutional Budget Versus Today”€™s Federal Budget

And as you look at that budget, they have it printed there on the newspaper of the day, and it takes up less than half of the front page in the newspaper, the entire line item of the federal budget.

So, you’re talking one half of a page is the length of the federal budget. Now let me take for example, Obama’s 2012 budget. His 2012 budget was two thousand four hundred and three pages long. That’s twice as long as Margaret Mitchell’s, “€œGone With The Wind.”€ Ayn Rand”€™s, “€œAtlas Shrugged,”€ it’s two and a half times as long as that. It’s twice as long as Tolstoy’s, “€œWar and Peace.”€ And it’s almost twice as long as Merriam Webster’s New College Dictionary. That’s the federal budget today versus what it was back then.

So obviously it’s a whole lot bigger now than it was then and it’s because a lot of the budget deals with items that really are not constitutionally authorized.


But you don’t think they’re actually spending money that the Constitution doesn’t give them the power to spend?.


No, they’re very scrupulous to know every clause of the Constitution and to follow it.


I mean, probably only a couple of trillion outside budget.


The whole budget is only a couple of trillion.


I don’t know about you, but I can’t picture a trillion.


There’s a YouTube clip, a little short video of how to calculate a trillion dollars by pennies. And it shows you pennies, how to calculate a trillion. It’s a great piece to help you visually wrap your mind around what a trillion is.

So let me go back to George Washington, when you look at the original cabinet because the budget is really set around the president’s executive offices. Or what we’ll call, “€œThe Cabinet.”€ And when you look at George Washington’s cabinet here are the departments that George Washington had.

Departments We Should Keep And Departments To Get Rid Of

You had the Department of State, we talked about that. The Department of War is what they called it back then, that”€™s defense now, but that’s military. You had the Attorney General, which we’re going to call the Justice Department. And you had the Department of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton first secretary treasury, so the Treasury Department because they coined money. And then you also had the U.S. postmaster because the Constitution says that the federal government will handle the post roads. So those roads that connect post offices all across the country.

So those are the five original cabinet levels. Now, let me read you the current cabinet levels that we have today and see if we think that they could be eliminated as not being constitutional.

We start out with state today, Treasury we still have, justice we still have. Department of the interior? Don’t see anything in the Constitution that authorizes Congress to handle internal land, that belongs to the states.

Department of Agriculture, absolutely nothing. Department of Commerce, nothing there. Department of labor, constitution gives nothing that’s the state and local. Department of defence, ok, we keep that.

The Department of Health and Human Services, nothing. Department of Housing and Urban Development, nothing. Transportation, gone. Department of Energy, Gone. Department of Education, gone.


Definitely gone. Can we get rid of it twice?


To make up for lost ground in previous times?




Department of Veteran Affairs, I think we can keep that one.


Yeah, you might could because that’s a lot of that language in Article 1 Section 8, it”€™s pretty detailed on the military and some of that I think you could definitely justify.


And you have to remember that the first veterans program was proposed by George Washington in that 1783 letter that he sent to the governors at the end of the revolution. He proposed half pay for all the soldiers who had served in the war and benefits for life for them. So I think we could say veterans affairs would stay.

And then you have the Department of Homeland Security, and I think that could stay.


Yeah, I’d say it fits for sure.


That one works. Outside of that, no. The rest of them aren”€™t there.


But I mean, the ones that we said, “€œgone.”€ I mean, they’re so small, right? I mean, they only take up about three city blocks in D.C. with their big buildings.


Health and Human Services is one of, what was it? Nineteen cabinet level departments? Health and Human Services is one of those. And Health and Human Services by itself is the world’s sixth largest government, by itself. That’s just one of the 19 cabinet level departments.



So yeah, if you got rid of those that the Constitution doesn’t authorize, you would look at a whole different America. But it’s a great question. And you know, I don’t know exactly how to calculate what every budget cost expense would be eliminated. It probably could be done, but I guarantee it’s a whole lot less and we would not be looking at debt like we look at right now, that”€™s for sure. And we would have a limited government that does not get involved in every aspect of our lives.


George Washington said, “€œThe constitution approaches near to perfection than any other government instituted among man.”€

Bring A Speaker To Your Area


Hey, this is Tim Barton with WallBuilders.  And as you’ve had the opportunity to listen to WallBuilders Live, you’ve probably heard a wealth of information about our nation, about our spiritual heritage, about the religious liberties, and about all the things that make America exceptional. And you might be thinking, “€œAs incredible as this information is, I wish there was a way that I could get one of the WallBuilders guys to come to my area and share with my group.”€

Whether it be a church, whether it be a Christian school, or public school, or some political event, or activity, if you’re interested in having a WallBuilders speaker come to your area, you can get on our website at www.WallBuilders.com and there’s a tab for scheduling. If you”€™ll click on that tab, you’ll notice there’s a list of information from speakers bio’s, to events that are already going on. And there’s a section where you can request an event, to bring this information about who we are, where we came from, our religious liberties, and freedoms. Go to the WallBuilders website and Bring a speaker to your area.

What Is A Primary Election


Thomas Jefferson said, “€œ In questions of power then let no more be heard of confidence in the man that bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”€


Welcome back to WallBuilders Live Foundations of Freedom Thursday today. That is why we have these quotes at each of our bumpers. We like being reminded of the Founders words and I love hearing from out of the mouths of babes. Just something a little different about that.

But next question that we’re going to address- And by the way anybody out there that has a question about the Founders, constitution, declaration, or application of these things, application of a Biblical worldview, all these things send them into [email protected]

Alright David, next question comes from Jobey, “€œWhen did primary elections begin and why? How has it affected the quality of our elected representatives?”€ Wow, good question. I have no idea, so I’m going to learn with you right now. So David, primary elections.

And real quick, let me just explain for those that may be not real involved in politics. Primary is the one where the parties pick their nominee to go up against the other party’s nominees in the general. So in November when you vote usually that’s the general election. And depending on your state your primary might be in January, February, March, some will have it really late in August or whatever. So the primary is when the parties pick somebody. And the general is when those choices go up against each other. So David, primaries, when did those begin?

Why You Need To Get Involved In Voting


Well, let me answer first the question of, “€œHow would it affect the quality of candidates?”€ The quality of candidates is not affected by process nearly so much as is by citizens who vote, either in the primaries or in the general.

I’ll go back to something that President James A. Garfield said shortly before he became president. In 1876 on the centennial of the Declaration of Independence he said, “€œNow, more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt it’s because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If that body be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these qualities to represent them in the national legislature.”€

So the reflection of who we have in Congress is always a reflection of those who are involved in the process, primary, or otherwise, it doesn’t matter. Because even though the primaries choose their candidates for their party they still go to the entire body of people in the general election.

And so at that point in time the people will put their stamp on who they want. Now, the difficulty is, statistically speaking, since 1980 only 36 percent of adults in the United States vote for president.

You have of all the people who can vote, and the Constitution says if you’re 18 and older you can vote. And we say the only thing you have to do is just register that way we make sure you don’t vote 12 times if somebody didn’t steal your vote. But only sixty seven point one percent of Americans have registered to vote.

So already one out of every three Americans has checked out. Then if you look at the presidential turnout since about 1980 it averages about 57 percent of the electorate votes. That’s 57 percent of registered voters which is 57 percent of 67 percent which puts you at only 36 percent of American adults choose the president of the United States.

And since it only takes half of that to win you’re now looking at 18 percent of American adults choose the president of the United States including in the most recent election.

So one out of five Americans chose Trump, one out of five did not, and three out of five didn’t do anything.

So if you don’t like what you have or don’t you don’t like how it turned out. I’m, fine with Trump but if you’re not, don’t blame me for voting for Trump. Blame the other three out of five that did nothing in the election.

And the same when you get to off year elections, next year we’re going to choose our U.S. congressman, and one third of the Senate, we’re going to choose our governors. So as you do that it’s only about 34 percent turnout in those elections.

But just 34 percent not of 100 percent. But 34 percent of 67.1 percent which puts you down to 26 percent of Americans choose their governors, senators, and reps. It only takes half that to win. So you are now looking at 13 percent to win.

That means one out of eight Americans chooses our governors, our senators, and our reps.

So I don’t care what the process is, primary or otherwise, if the people themselves don’t get involved and don’t have high standards there’s no process you can use that will save people from themselves. So that’s whether it will make an impact on the elections. We’ll come back and look at the primary process and how it came to be.


That’s good, alright, so we’ll take a quick break, we’ll come back we’ll get the first part of that question, when primary elections began and why. Stay with us, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live!


Thomas Jefferson said, “€œThe Constitution of most of our states and of the United States asserts that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed. That they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.”€

Constitution Alive

Have you ever wanted to learn more about the United States Constitution but just felt like, man, the classes are boring or it’s just that old language from 200 years ago or I don’t know where to start? People want to know. But it gets frustrating because you don’t know where to look for truth about the Constitution either.

Well, we’ve got a special program for you available now called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. It’s actually a teaching done on the Constitution at Independence Hall in the very room where the Constitution was framed. We take you both to Philadelphia, the Cradle of Liberty and Independence Hall and to the WallBuilders”€™ library where David Barton brings the history to life to teach the original intent of our Founding Fathers.

We call it the QuickStart guide to the Constitution because in just a few hours through these videos you will learn the Citizen’s Guide to America’s Constitution.  You’ll learn what you need to do to help save our Constitutional Republic. It’s fun! It’s entertaining! And it’s going to inspire you to do your part to preserve freedom for future generations. It’s called Constitution Alive

with David Barton and Rick Green. You can find out more information on our website now at WallBuilders.com.

When And Why The Primary Elections Began


Thomas Jefferson said, “€œThe Constitution of most of our states and of the United States asserts that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed. That they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.”€


Welcome back, thanks for staying with us on WallBuilders Live, Foundations of Freedom Thursday, today. In our final segment we’re finishing up a question about when did Primary start? And what’s their impact been on elections? So David, you were about to answer that part about when they started and why.


Yeah, they started in an effort to try to get more people involved in the process. It was believed as you got into the 18 hundreds that the party leaders were exerting too much control over choosing candidates and the party faithful wanted to say, “€œWell, I want a voice in this too.”€ And so whereas the inside party operatives would say, “€œHere’s who we want for president, Governor.”€ And whatnot, they wanted that presence expanded, if you will. So then you got into first conventions.

You started having conventions for the parties where there a few thousand people could go to the convention. And at the convention they would choose their nominee for president, or governor, whoever it was. And you didn’t know going in who it might be and you chose at the convention.

In the case of President James A. Garfield, he went to the Republican Convention of 1880 as the campaign manager for a different candidate. But they came to an impasse, couldn’t get it on the 36 ballot, they said, “€œHey, let’s do Garfield.”€ And he won on the first time that his name was put up.

So they had an impasse for 36 votes, couldn’t come out with the the convention to be behind any one candidate until they put Garfield up and then he gets it. So you have that as the process. Now you get a few thousand involved but then people said, “€œWell, that’s not enough, there’s still a whole lot of us that don’t get to go to the convention, can’t make it, whatever we want to voice.”€ And so by 1899 in Minnesota you have the first statewide primary where the voters get to vote.

The Different Versions Of Primaries

In 1901 Florida has the first presidential primary. And the Constitution in Article 1 Section 4 says that while the Constitution says that you have to elect a president, you have to elect a senator, and representatives according to apportionment. They said that the states get to choose the times, the places, and the manner of holding elections.

So since the states can choose the manner they can say, as do a lot of states, “€œWe want primaries. We want everybody in the state to vote.”€

And then they can say, “€œBut in that, we only want you to vote in the Republican primary if you’re a registered Republican. Democrat primary for registered Democrat.”€ That’s called a closed primary. Some have open primaries that say, “€œWe don’t care what party you affiliate with you come vote in one party or the other, you choose which one every time, you don’t have to be registered.”€ That’s an open primary.

You have jungle primaries like Louisiana and California where all parties get on the ballot and the top two candidates go to the general election. So it might be two out of the same party so you don’t have competition between parties.


And they call it a jungle primary.


That’s a jungle primary, it is a really really terrible thing. Because in California you’ll never have an alternative voice. That is such a blue state there will never be a Republican make the primaries there. Because the top two votes there are so many Democrats they will always be Democrats. And so there’s no option there. So you have that.

Or you can do like Iowa does, or Utah, or Idaho, you can have a caucus where it says, “€œHey, the party is going to send representatives to a local precinct meeting. Y”€™all tally the vote there and do it.”€

But whatever process is used, the states have the right to determine the time, places, and manners. But the outcome is it still goes back to how good the people are. So that’s the history of the primary process, how it came to be, why it came to be. But the bottom line is still that you’ll never have better candidates than what the citizens themselves are.


Folks, you can get more information on our website WallBuildersLive.com. In the archives section you can listen to more of these Foundations of Freedom Thursday programs, diving into those principles. Hope you’ve enjoyed it today, you’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.


Abraham Lincoln said, “€œWe the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts. Not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”€