Frugality And Taxation, The Principles of Limited Government, Part Three: Today we are doing Part 3 of a special program from David Barton on The Principles of Limited Government. We are going to be answering your most pressing questions such as, “€œWhat does it mean to have a limited government? Is that just money or is that also jurisdiction? How do you get a limited government? How do you reign in an out of control government? And what would it look like if we did things the way that our Founding Fathers envisioned that it would be done?” We’re answering all these questions and more, right here on WallBuilders Live!

Air Date: 06/23/2017

Guests: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


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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.



Welcome to the intersection of faith and politics, WallBuilders Live with David Barton and Rick Green. Our website is, lots of things you can do there at that website. One of them actually, well you don’t have to go to the website to do this, but our e-mail address.

If you’d like us to cover certain topics that we haven’t covered yet, or maybe we’ve talked a little bit about and you”€™d like to know more, or you just have a question about something regarding the Founding Fathers or an issue in our culture today, you can email that to us at [email protected].

Also at the website, you can check out our archives, and if you’re tuning in today, and missed yesterday, or the day before, you”€™re going to want to go to those archives because this is the third part in a three-part series. Today we’re going to get the conclusion of a presentation by David Barton called, “€œThe Principles of Limited Government.”€ So, yesterday and the day before are available on our website if you want to get caught up, go to, click on the archive section, and download the last two days.

And by the way, you’ll see in that archive section that you can actually get programs from as far back as a year ago. Everything from senators, and congressmen, about what’s going on on Capitol Hill, to state legislators across the country, and legislation that’s either passed and been a good thing, or some bad things that have happened and why we need to stop it, to the attorneys that are arguing before the Supreme Court and fighting battles to defend Christians who have been arrested for sharing the gospel, and all kinds of other things. So all of those programs are available on our website

Our other website is where you can also go to get all kinds of great information. One of the things you can get there is the CD of this presentation, Principles of Limited Government. But you can also get it on the website at if you want to listen to it in the part. So, without any further ado, we’re going to pick up right where we left off yesterday with David in the middle of the Principles of limited government.

Principles To A Frugal Government


Jefferson said that you need to be frugal in government, one is with power, two is with spending, and three is with growth. Again, Benjamin Franklin had so many good statements, this is a statement he said, “€œGovernment is aptly compared to architecture. If the superstructure is too heavy for the foundation the building totters, even if assisted by outward props.”€

In other words, if you out build a foundation the whole structure is in jeopardy. If you build a foundation for a building that is 10 feet by 10 feet and the building above that you build on top of that foundation is a  thousand feet by a thousand feet the foundation is not going to hold. And that’s the problem, we have a foundation that was built for a limited government and we keep outgrowing our foundation and getting into things that were never authorized, taking power that God never allowed government to have.

And so we see the thing, it”€™s not frugality of growth. Sam Adams has a very insightful statement, he said, “€œIf the liberties of America are ever completely ruined it will be because of a mistaken notion of prudence that leads men to give into the measures of the most destructive tendency for the sake of present ease.”€

In other words, “€œThat’s probably not the best principle, but it”€™s something I really want now. So since I want to right now for present ease I’m going to go ahead and give in to that measure that government probably shouldn’t even be involved with.”€ And as he said, that’s a destructive tendency. We give into the measures that will destroy good government for the sake of press and ease.

It Can”€™t Be A One Size Fits All

That’s why if you look at the federal government, there are 19 cabinet level departments. If you look at the cabinet level departments, for the sake of present ease we said, “€œLet’s create a Department of Education.”€ Now, we’ve always had education be local and it’s always been dealt with at the local level that way parents are most involved and they have the most input of what happens with their kids.

But let’s federalize it, let’s play like one size fits all. The kids that are raised in San Antonio need exactly what kids in New York City need, which is exactly what kids in Omaha Nebraska need. And that’s not the way it works.

But we, for the sake of present ease said,  “€œWell, let the federal government do education. And by the way, let’s let the federal government take care of the environment. Let’s not be good stewards ourselves, let”€™s let the government do that. And let’s let the federal government have a Department of Agriculture and they can oversee all the agricultural things. Now, we understand that agriculture is privately owned, but the government needs to tell private individuals what to do with agriculture.”€

We”€™ve given up so many departments and in giving up those departments, President Dwight D. Eisenhower said this, “€œThe people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.”€  We gave up principles for the sake of present ease, as a Sam Adams says.

When you give up your principles for ease, you give up your principles for something that you want right now, then you lose both your principles and your values. So the second thing is exercise frugality.

Moment From America”€™s History


This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. The teachings of God’s Word are the best friend civil government has. Because these teachings deal with the heart. Only by dealing with the heart can crime be prevented. For as Jesus explained in Matthew 5 all crime comes from the heart.

Understanding this, Daniel Webster, the great defender of the Constitution once declared, “€œThe cultivation of the religious sentiment represses licentiousness. It inspires respect for law and order and gives strength to the whole social fabric.Whatever makes men good Christians makes them good citizens.”€

Indeed, it is not the good Christians whom the police arrest for armed robbery, gang activity, or other such crimes. Understanding this, the Founding Fathers encouraged religious instruction. For as Daniel Webster so accurately noted, “€œGood Christians make good citizens.”€ For more information on God’s hand in American history. Contact WallBuilders at 1-800-8 -REBUILD.

The Third Principle Of Good Government


The third principle of good government set forth by Jefferson in his first inaugural address, he said, “€œGovernment is to restrain the infliction of injury.”€ Now, to understand this we need go no further than a simple passage out of the Bible.

Just reading it from 1 Timothy 1:8-10, this is what God tells us in the Scriptures, he says, “€œWe know that the law is good if it’s used as it should be used.”€ So, law is a good deal if you use it properly. What’s the proper way to use the law?

God continues, “€œIt must be remembered of course, the laws are made not for good people but for lawbreakers, and criminals, for murderers, for the immoral, for sexual perverts, for prostitutes, for homosexuals, for slave-traders, for kidnappers, for perjurers, or for those who do anything else contrary to sound policy.”€ In other words, we make laws to restrain the bad not the good. We, restrain that list of behavior that was listed to be restrained there by the Scripter. That’s why law exists.

Now, Romans 13:3 says as a result, “€œRulers are terror not to good works but to evil.”€ In other words, if government is doing what it is doing to restrain injury, doing what it is supposed to do, then it”€™s the bad people who have a fear of government, not the good people. But we really don’t find ourselves in that situation today.

The Government Is Punishing The Wrong People

I”€™m going to go back to something President Reagan said, it was just a nice little quip that he made, it was humorous because it’s based on truth. He said, “€œThe nine most terrifying words in the English language are, “€˜Hi, I’m from the government, and I”€™m here to help.”€ We don’t look at the government as being a blessing in that sense, we say, “€œOh no, it”€™s the government, this is a bad deal.”€ And particularly when you look at just a single agency like the internal revenue service. Does that scare the good people are the bad people? It doesn”€™t scare the bad people, it scares the good people. That”€™s not the purpose of government.

And by the way, the IRS is just one agency in 19 cabinet level departments. There are hundreds and hundreds of agencies. And they’re not there to restrict the wicked and the evil. They’re not a terror to evil, they’ve become a terror to the good people.

And if you look at the IRS code, actually, the statute on IRS is not that long. But it’s an administrative law where they go in and reinterpret the statute. The IRS code right now is three million four hundred thousand words long. That’s the IRS code under which all citizens live.

Now, at 3.4 million words, let me put that in perspective. The Bible itself is only seven hundred eighty-three thousand words long. So in other words, the IRS code is five times longer than the Bible. God is able to govern the whole world for five thousand years with the Bible and IRS, in one agency, has a code book five times longer than the Bible and has difficulty governing. That’s because it’s not the purpose of law. They’ve gotten out of what law supposed to do.

If you look at the US Federal Code, and US federal code is in every county courthouse, every county law library will have a copy in the US federal code, if you look at the US Federal Code annotated and take that. And by the way, those are all the federal laws under which we all live. And we know that ignorance of the law is no excuse.

So, if I happen to be going down a highway at 70 miles an hour and a policeman stops me and he says, “€œWell the speed limit was 50.”€ “€œOh man, I thought it was 70.”€ Well, the fact I was ignorant of the law is not an excuse. I’m still going to get a ticket, I’m still going to get in trouble.

So, therefore you need to know the laws under which you live. If you’ll decide therefore to go and read the US Federal Code, and these are the laws under which you live, the laws for which you’re responsible. If you’ll take the U.S. federal code and if you’ll agree to read 700 pages a week you can finish the US federal code in only twenty-five thousand years. “€œWhat? I read 700 pages a week and it is going to take me 25,000 years?”€ Yeah.

When you look back to the founding era in 1789, do you know how many federal felonies we had? Three. You know how many federal felonies there are today? 4,500 federal felonies. It’s not that there are that many crimes, it”€™s that we’ve made everything into a felony.

And again, it used to be local police who said, “€œNo, we’re not going to have that.”€ No, we’ve made everything into federal. So whether it be in crime and felonies in turning everything into a crime, or the length of the federal code, or the link that even Agency regulations, it’s not limited government anymore, it’s not doing the third part. Government exists to restrain the infliction of injury. That’s why government exists.

Avalon Project


Hey, guys, this is Tim Barton with WallBuilders. I know you hear my dad and Rick talk a lot about our Founding Fathers about the original intent of our nation, a constitutional heritage that we have. And really we’ve seen how far we slipped away from that. And I know a lot of us as we hear my dad and Rick talk think, “€œI wish there was a place that I could go where I could see these documents and I could read and learn about the Founding Fathers firsthand.  See the things they did.”€  

I want to give you some websites today that can help you accomplish that very thing. If you get online you can go to places like Library of Congress and you can look under their century of lawmaking or historical documents. You can go to the Avalon Project, to the Founders Constitution, Google Books, or even the internet archives.  

Or you can just go to We have a section for our WallBuilders Library. And under that section, we have different subgroups for historical documents, historical writings, even a place where you can get helpful links to find out more information about other websites.  Where you can do research for yourself and find the truth for yourself. Friends, this is the time that we need to know who we are and where we came from. is a great place to go.

The Fourth Purpose Of Government


If you look at the fourth purpose of government, Jefferson said that it was to encourage entrepreneurship and free enterprise. If you look back at his quote, he says, “€œIt is to encourage industry and encourage businesses.”€ You say, “€œOk, so we are to encourage entrepreneurship and free enterprise.”€

There are some really good quotes on this. Matter of fact, Jefferson himself said this, “€œThe pillars of our prosperity are the most thriving when left most free to individual enterprise.”€

If you want the nation to prosper then you let the people run the businesses, you let the people do the work. It’s interesting that in the crashes that we’ve had in the recent decades, those who needed bailouts, and those who needed economic help from the government, were the most regulated industries. It was the insurance industries, it was the health industries, it was where the unions were, where you had the most regulation is where  you had the least amount of prosperity.

And that’s why Jefferson said, “€œThe pillars of our prosperity are the most thriving when left most free to individual enterprise.”€ That’s entrepreneurship. Benjamin Franklin said it this way, “€œA free market is the means under God of establishing the freedom of our country entire, and if handing it down completely to posterity.”€

Free market system is what will hand the prosperity off to the next generation. If you get out of that you’ll lose your prosperity, you’ll have all the economic calamities, and pressures that come.

So we understood that the purpose of government was to encourage entrepreneurship and free enterprise, not to encourage the regulation of individuals, and businesses, and what and how they can do it. Those are the areas that get into the most difficulty and have the most need a bailout. It’s free enterprise that are the most prosperous and thriving unless government inhibits that.

The Fifth Purpose Of Government

And then finally, the fifth thing that Jefferson talked about was to protect the property and earnings of citizens. He said, “€œNot to take from their mouth the bread of labor that”€™s earned.”€ So protect their property and protect their earnings.

And that’s really two thoughts. Protecting property is one clear thought. And this goes back to inalienable rights, the Fifth Amendment, the right to pursue happiness which is the right to acquire own possess and use your own property.

James Madison who today they call “€œthe father of the Constitution,”€ said, “€œIt’s not a just government, nor is property secure under it. Where the property which a man has in his personal safety and personal liberty is violated about arbitrary seizures of one class of citizens for the service of the rest.”€

In other words, he says, “€œIt’s not a good government and property is not safe. If the government can come in and take your private property and give it to someone else.”€ Now, that’s what we’ve seen in recent years, it started back with the kilo decision.

But they’re saying, “€œThe city needs your property and it can make greater tax income if have to take your house and turns it into a shopping mall.”€ So what we’ve seen a rise of is this kind of use of eminent domain. It’s not a good deal.

And by the way, nonprofits and churches are the real target of that because they don’t pay any taxes. So we need to knock every church down and put a strip mall up somewhere and put a shopping center. You have towns like the one outside of Houston Texas that has 54 churches and wants them all out of town. “€œChurches don’t produce.”€ Yeah churches produce a ton of income because they produce people that don’t commit crimes, they bruise people that don’t do white collar crimes, the police have so much less to do. There is so much less need for prisons. The contributions of Churches is massive in what they save the government. But the government says, “€œNo, you’re not producing tax income. Therefore, you’re a burden to us and we need you gone. Fifty-four churches out of town, we need to take that property and give it away.”€ So it’s not good government when it doesn’t protect the property of citizens.

Why The Government Has Failed At Protecting Us

John Dickinson, I mentioned him earlier. John Dickinson, signer of the Constitution said it this way, “€œLet these truths be indelibly impressed on our minds. Number one, we cannot be happy without being free. Number two, we cannot be free without being secure in our property. And number three, we cannot be secure in our property if without our consent others can take it away.”€

See, this is part of the problem, with even property taxes, you may own a piece of property that is a hundred thousand dollars, but if you don’t pay $100 taxes on it the government will take it away from you. What then was it ever really your property if it can be taken away from you for a hundred dollars when it is valued at a hundred thousand?

That’s the difficulty with property taxes is that the government is saying, “€œIt’s really our land. We’re just kind of letting you lease it every year and you pay these taxes every year and we’ll let you stay on that land.”€ See, that’s a difficulty with government not protecting property. So that”€™s protecting property.

The other part of that fifth component of Jefferson was to protect the earnings of citizens. He was very straightforward on this. Listen to what Thomas Jefferson said, “€œTo take from one because it’s thought that its own productivity has acquired too much, in order to give it to others who have not exercised equal industry and skill is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association which is the guarantee to everyone of a free exercise of a hard work and the profits acquired by it.”€

In other words, he says that if someone works really really hard and through his own productivity creates wealth and creates prosperity then to take that away and give it to others who did not use the equal diligence, and equal skill, and equal hard, that violates the first principle of association. Which is that if you work hard you get to enjoy the profits of your hard work.

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

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 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.

Small Government Principles For Taxation


This is part of the problem with the capital gains tax. If you go back and look in the Bible at Passages like Luke 19 and in Matthew 25, you”€™ll recall that the Jesus called all the servants together in that parable the master gets the servants. He gives them all a mina, in Luke 19 a mina is translated as a specific amount of money. He says, “€œInvest this until I come back.”€ So he comes back and says, “€œIt’s reckoning time.”€

One guy took his mina and turned it into five, one guy took his and turned it into 10. One guy took his mina, that economic amount, he didn’t do anything with it, he still had it.

And he says, “€œHere’s what you gave me.”€ And the master said, “€œWait a minute. Why didn’t you at least make some profit by just taking the interest on it? Why couldn’t you at least make the interest on it?: And the guy said, “€œLook I didn’t want to do this. I didn’t want to work hard. You’re not a fair guy anyway, and I just didn’t want to be part of this.”€

And the master at that point said, “€œTake the one mina from the one and give it to the guy who had ten.”€ And the other said, “€œWait a minute, that’s not fair. He’s already got 10.”€ Listen to Jesus’s response, “€œTo him that has will more be given. To him, that has not will be taken away even that which he has.”€

Now, what he says is, if you’re unproductive that’s not the ones you reward. The ones that are productive, those are the ones you reward, the ones and by their hard work and by their investment, and by other things, if they’ve made profit, those are the ones you want to reward. Because the more profit they make, the more prosperity they create, the better government you have, and the less need there is to tax. We understood that.

But now we’ve really taken it and said, “€œNo, if you haven’t worked hard and made something, or you you”€™ve just had bad luck, we’re going to reward you. But those that have really done something good, now, we’re going to have to take more from you to take care of those who didn’t do very good work. And by the way, if you handled your real estate right and didn’t need a bailout we’re going to have to tax you for those who didn’t handle real estate right and they do need a bailout. We’re going to reward them.”€ So everything is backward.

That’s what Jefferson says is exactly wrong. That’s not what government is to do. Ben Franklin echoed the same thing. Ben Franklin said, “€œThere cannot be a stronger natural right than that of man’s making the best profit he can.”€

The Five Principles For Small Government

So, those were the five simple elements that make good government. One is you start with acknowledging and adoring God. From there you understand that you’ve got rights to protect, that government exists to protect those rights, that it’s limited in its scope. Two is that government is to exercise frugality. Number one over power, and number two over spending, and number three over growth.

But that’s a second component. So acknowledged and adore God is one, two is exercise frugality. The third is restrain the infliction of injury. Pass laws to regulate the bad, not the good guys. The purpose of law is not to regulate the good, it”€™s to regulate the bad.

The fourth is to encourage entrepreneurship and free enterprise. And the fifth is protect the property and the earnings of citizens.

Those are the five things that make us a happy and prosperous nation. Those are the core principles of good government, which are the core principles of limited government.

So as we look for leaders to choose from all levels as the Scripture says in Exodus 18: 21, choose leaders of tens, fifties, hundreds, and thousands. We chose our local, county, state, and federal officials.

These are the components. This is the philosophy of government we want to see in them. We want them to understand these five components. And if we”€™ll elect these type of leaders to office at every level then we will be a happy and prosperous people able to exercise freely the rights that God has given us and we will remain the nation that was known as that of an exceptional nation.

If we want to preserve American exceptionalism, if we want to preserve the prosperity and the blessing that we’ve had, we have to understand these five basic God-given principles that create good or that create limited government. God bless.


Well, that’s the conclusion of David Barton on the Principles of Limited Government. If you happen to tune in today halfway through, or maybe you heard all of today but missed yesterday, and the day before, be sure to go to our website and you can listen to the first two parts in this three-part series by David.

Or you can get the CD at our website, also by the same title, “€œThe Principles of Limited Government.”€

Now, let’s all go out there and do our part to maintain those principles, to uphold those principles, frankly, to return those principles to so many areas of our government. I’m Rick Green, I appreciate you joining us today on WallBuilders Live with David Barton and Rick Green.