Why Government Should Have To Follow 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 your questions from constitutional principles! Tune in today as we answer your most pressing questions!

Air Date: 10/10/2019

Guest: Bob McEwen

On-air Personalities: 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. Transcription will be released shortly. 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 or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

President Thomas Jefferson said, “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves. And, if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”

Faith and the Culture

RICK:

Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! where we talk about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture. And, when I say “hottest topics,” what do I mean by that? I’ve been saying that at the beginning of our program for years now.

I mean, what’s the “hot” topic? What are what are people talking about in the news or around the water fountain at work, at the dinner table, and at home? What’s on the minds of Americans, the issues that are at the forefront?

Then, how do you address that issue? You address it from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective. And, that’s certainly what we do here at WallBuilders Live!

We do that with David Barden because he’s America’s premier historian, has a great historical perspective on what the constitutional perspective is, and is brilliant at a biblical analysis and knowing how to apply the Bible to today’s issues and circumstances.

Then, of course, that constitutional and historical perspective based on his readings of the largest private collection of Founding Fathers’ documents there in the Barton library at WallBuilders. It is absolutely incredible, the wealth of wisdom that is there. And, of course, we get that both from David Barton and Tim Barton.

Tim’s national speaker, pastor, and our president here at WallBuilders. And, my name is Rick Green; I’m a former Texas legislator. The three of us love bringing these programs to you.

Join In!

We get some great interviews and folks we get to talk to about those hot topics of the day. All of it made possible by our listeners that support the program. We hope you’re one of those.

And, if not but you’d like to be, then go to WallBuildersLive.com, click on that “donate” button and become one of our supporters. You can do that with a one-time donation or a monthly donation. We greatly appreciate your support.

Let’s dive into that biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective. All right, fellows, we’ve got a little bit of a different twist on our Foundations of Freedom Thursday this week. Instead of getting to as many questions as we can, I think we have one question that is going to take up most of our program.

We’ve even got a special guest coming on a little later to help us answer it. Are you guys ready for me to read the question?

TIM:

You bet. Let’s do it.

Part of the Sausage Factory

RICK:

I think it might take up most of our segment here. It’s a long question, but is really good. So, this from one of our listeners.

They said, “So, I have been an employee of the sausage factory,” meaning government, for those that don’t know that analogy. It’s like watching sausage being made: it’s messy, and—anyway, “for almost 30 years. And, if anything, I am fully convinced that solving problem by government is the most inefficient way to do anything.

“Of course, on the other side, there are some things that the government needs to do. This time of year is always a frustration for me, as it’s the end of the fiscal year, and I have to spend what remains of my budget. The system is set up in such a way that I have to hit zero dollars left in my pot of money.”

DAVID:

And, by the way, he’s talking about his governmental budget, not about his personal budget. So, we’re talking the fiscal end of the governmental year. And, if he does not spend everything that he has, he will be penalized next year and will get less.

So, instead of rewarding frugalness, they reward extravagance. But, that’s what he’s talking about.

RICK:

Yes, the more they spend as a bureaucrat, the more their upper-level folks like them. Okay.

Government Facilitates Waste

So, he says, “If I overspend, people yell at me. If I underspend, people yell at me and, worse, reduce my budget next year. There’s no incentive for being frugal with federal dollars.

‘In fact, it’s just the opposite. My pot of money is extremely small, and I try and spend it on stuff that is relevant and potentially useful to my function. But, this budgetary paradigm leads to lots of wasted federal dollars throughout the whole of government.

“{If only there was a way to} save the access and use it when really necessary. I realize that this all goes back to maintaining congressional control, the power of the purse. Is there any innovative and constitutionally-sound solution you can think of to fix the federal budgetary paradigm and make government more responsible with their money? Thanks.”

Okay, guys; sorry. It’s a long question, but I think that setup is important for our conversation today. And, I appreciate this listener laying it out and giving us that perspective, because we’re usually looking from the outside.

So, here’s somebody from the inside of the belly the beast. A federal bureaucrat, if you will, has his own department and kind-of budget there that they are dealing with. But, they’re saying, “Man, there’s got to be a better way than this inefficient way that government runs.”

DAVID:

Wait a minute. Are you sure it’s a “they?” I thought it was just one person asking the question.

RICK:

I know I kind of stepped into it there, didn’t I? I don’t even know –

TIM:

“This listener’s question.” So, my first thought seems a little under, probably, the answer that is needed. But, how do we change this?

Unelected Bureaucrats

Well, my first thought is elections. But, the problem is that we’re now not talking about just having different leaders, we’re talking about a an agency, a bureaucracy, that even elections wouldn’t totally solve this problem, because we can elect congressmen, senators and the president. Some places you can elect judges.

But, when it comes to agencies, where a lot of this is mandated and dictated, the place many of these policies come down, this isn’t Congress writing these policies. And so, even though tongue-in-cheek, I think Well, it’s elect different people. That’s the easy solution.

But, in this situation, it’s not the easy solution. And, ultimately we do need to replace people that are in those agencies with more competent people who, hopefully, have some business experience and acumen; who understand the way that you make or save money; and who understand that you reward the productive or even the frugal, the people who aren’t wastefully spending. Yet, until the American people get fed up and want something different, I don’t see any pressure that any change is going to happen, much less that, even if we wanted change to happen, we’re not going to have people in place to make the changes happen.

One of the great things about President Trump, is he’s at least put some pressure on some of these agencies to do some things different. So, having good leaders that are elected, can make a difference.

But, Dad, to me it seems like even if you had really good elected leaders, it’s not going to solve all of these problems.

DAVID:

Even if we elected good officials, if we do not understand as a people, as voters, what government is supposed to do, then you can elect people who have a wrong understanding who will go on to implement that. Or, they’re the attempted solutions that they might offer would even be worse than where it is now.

So, to understand how this is supposed to work, you need to know: number one, the sphere of government; and, number two, the scope of government. By “sphere,” I mean, there are four different types of governments.

The Spheres of Government

You have individual government, family government, church government, civil government.

TIM:

And, those governments are things we see outlined from the Bible, from Scripture, because we talked about forms. I mean, we could include communism and socialism; but, those are different thoughts, right?

RICK:

So, you have political and economic structures of government. But, if you back up—especially, for us, we always want to look from a biblical perspective from the Bible—we see that God created individuals, then from those He made family. So, you have a family, or I guess ultimately, you start with individual responsibility.

But then, out of individuals, were created families. So then, you have a family structure and there were things that families were supposed to do. And, out of families, actually there came governments.

After governments, God did establish even things for the Church. So, these are what we’re talking about, some of those different spheres: the individual, the family, the government, and the church.

Now again, we talk about “governments.” You could argue there are more types of government than those four. But, we’re talking about the four that God created, His design, and God’s jurisdiction for those four.

DAVID:

And so, that’s what we call “spheres of government.” Those are the four spheres of government; although, there are different forms. And so, civil government is not supposed to be doing what every individual is supposed to be doing or what every family, church, or anything else is supposed to be doing.

Enumerated Powers

So, the first thing you have to understand is, government is not supposed to do everything. It’s only limited to certain areas. Then, that’s where scope comes in.

Now, what areas is it limited to? And, that’s where the Constitution said, “Well, if you’re the federal government, here are 17 things you can do and nothing else,” called them “enumerated powers.” So, here’s all you can do; and, anything else can be done by state governments, local government, or by church governments, self-government, family government, whatever.

So, if we do not have citizens who understand that the federal government is not the—if I can use this word with a small “g”—it is not god that supplies all of our needs according to its riches and its glory.

TIM:

Which they took from us, by the way.

DAVID:

Thank you very much.

RICK:

That’s right.

TIM:

The only riches they have are what they took from me and you. So, let’s not pretend like they’re rich. We used to be rich, and they took it from us.

DAVID:

So, unless citizens understand that, they’re not going to put people in office who will fundamentally shift the balance of power and shift what’s going on. Therefore, it really does go back to a problem we’ve got with civics education. But, there are people who have explained this very, very well.

Former Congressman Bob McEwen

And, Congressman Bob and former Congressman Bob McEwen of Ohio is one of those guys. He really does, as well as anyone we’ve ever been around, take complicated questions and reduce them to a simplicity that makes a lot of sense. So, we thought, All right, let’s throw this question to Congressman McEwen and see what he says is an answer on how to make government more efficient.

RICK:

Former Congressman Bob McEwen is our special guest today on Foundations of Freedom Thursday. Stay with us. We’ll be right back on WallBuilders Live!

Abraham Lincoln said, “We 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.”

Moment From American History

This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. Many today assert that religion is something private, that has no place in the public square, and that it is incompatible with government.

The Founding Fathers believed exactly the opposite. They held that religion was absolutely necessary in order to maintain our free system of government. For example, John Adams declared, “We have no government armed with power, capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.”

And, signer of the declaration, Benjamin Rush, similarly affirmed, “Without religion there can be no virtue and without virtue there can be no liberty and liberty is the object and life of all Republican governments.” The Founding Fathers understood that limited government required public morality from the people. And, that public morality was produced by the Christian religion. For more information about the Founding Fathers views on religion in public life go to WallBuilders.com.

Be At All Times Armed

Thomas Jefferson said, “The constitutions of most of our states, and of the United States, assert 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.”

RICK:

Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live! Our good friend, former Congressman Bob McEwan, is back with us.

It is always good to have you, brother. Thanks for your time today.

Bob McEwen:

Rick, the honor is mine. As you know, I’m glad to be with you. Thank you.

RICK:

Every time we get a question on how to make government more efficient or why capitalism and free enterprise is better than socialism, the first person comes to mind, Bob McEwen. So, we appreciate you coming on and helping us get educated, and also to answer this question from our listener. We read it in the previous segment.

Common Sense

We get this a lot from people that work in government: What is the answer for how to make government more efficient? Or, can it even be done?

Bob McEwen:

Well, common sense is what usually works. And, in government oftentimes, it is {distorted} by experts that tell you that common sense doesn’t apply here. However, common sense always applies.

For example, if you’re going to buy something for yourself, you care about two things: the price and the value. And, you make that decision better than anybody can. You might pay four dollars for a cup of coffee at 7:00 in the morning that you wouldn’t pay 35 cents for at 2:30 in the afternoon.

When you’re buying something for yourself, you care about the price and the quality. Now, that’s called a first-party purchase. A second-party purchase is when one of those two things, such as quality or price, is not controlled by you. For example, if someone is comes along and says, “Would you like to have some orange juice with your breakfast this morning?”

And, you say, “Well, how much is it? And, they say, “It’s four dollars and fifty cents.” You’ll say, “No, I really don’t need it.”

Now, what happens is, you care about the quality of the orange juice; but, the price is such that you don’t want to pay that price. Now, suppose they come along and say, “Well, it comes with the pancakes.”

So, you’re not going to pay for it; therefore, you say, “Well, I’ll take three glasses,” at that point, because here, you wouldn’t drink it if it weren’t good; so, you care about the quality. But, since you’re not paying for it, you don’t care about the price.

Now, let’s go on to a third-party purchase. A third-party purchases is when it’s not your money; so, you don’t care how much it cost. Plus, you’re not going to use it; therefore, you don’t care about the quality.

Government Spending = Third-Party Purchasing

So, a person says, “Here’s three hundred dollars; we’re going to buy some trinkets to pass out at the party tonight. Go over to the Dollar Store and spend your three hundred dollars.”

Well, you go in there and just pull things off the shelf, throwing them in the basket. Then, you go along up to the counter and he says, “Well, that’s only one hundred eighty five.” “Oh, okay.” Well, you go back and get another hundred dollars worth.

“That’s two eighty five.”

Now, at that point, you don’t care about the quality because you’re not going to consume it. And, you don’t care about the price because you’re not paying for it. That’s called a third-party purchase.

So, now that we understand that principle, what I’m saying is not Democrat, Republican, conservative, liberal, Christian, laborer, communist, or socialist. This is just the facts. The way the government works, is it takes money that’s not theirs to purchase things that they will not personally consume. Therefore, there will always be waste in government.

Now, we want principled people to hold it to a minimum. But, the way that it functions, all third-party purchases operate that way. That’s why Abraham Lincoln said, “We want the government to do only those things which an individual cannot do better for himself.”

RICK:

So, every government transaction fits that third-party definition.

Bob McEwen

Exactly. That’s why we hold it down. That’s why, you’re paying for the doctor, you’re going to be concerned about what kind of services you get. If somebody else is getting the bill, you’re not so concerned.

The Greater the Government, the Greater the Poverty

So, that’s why conservatives want most things decided by the individual, the taxpayer, who is paying for it. And, they want as little government as possible. [inaudible]

If you take the percentage of the GDP, the Gross Domestic Product, the goods and services they’re done by any city, state, or nation; and you show me what percentage of those decisions in the marketplace are made by government, how much are third-party purchases; and, here’s the principle: The greater the government, the greater the poverty. That’s because individuals aren’t buying things for themselves.

The greater the freedom of the individuals, the greater the wealth. And so, you just show me a country. And, if you lay or put all of the Latin American countries in a row, you can see that the poorer they are, the more government they have.

The more government they have in Baltimore, the poorer the city becomes. The greater the freedom that takes place in South Carolina, the greater the prosperity in South Carolina.

That’s what government is about. And so, when this poor fellow says, “I’m a compassionate, caring, patriotic American who is frustrated at how the people don’t care about the money, but just want me to empty the till when it is the end of the year.” That’s the way government works.

And, conservatives say, “Make that till as small as possible. Do only those things which we cannot do for ourselves.” We cannot defend our country ourselves or build overpasses ourselves.

But, there are things we can decide: what kind of toilet paper to use, what kind of light bulbs, what kind of straws to use. We can decide those things for ourselves; therefore, government should stay out of those things because government creates poverty.

RICK:

So, every time we take something that was being done in the private marketplace, in the more efficient model, and move it into government, really everybody loses. I mean, it’s gonna hurt the whole nation as a result of that.

What Socialism Is All About

Bob McEwen:

That’s what socialism is all about: government control of the tools of production. The government decides the size of your toilet bowl. And, that’s what socialism is.

You don’t make those decisions for yourselves. But, some elitist in some far-off government capital makes those decisions instead of you. You’ve lost your freedom. You’ve lost your choice; and, there is tremendous, tremendous waste.

RICK:

Of course, an easy one to look at right now is health care. The more of that we’ve moved into the government sphere, the more expensive it’s gotten, and the more difficult it’s been for us as consumers to get what we want or are looking for in that care.

Bob McEwen:

We have someone else, second-party purchases. In the 1940s, we gave the right of employers to purchase health care on our behalf; so, we’re not concerned about the price nearly as much.

If you had 300 million people going out tomorrow morning, and everybody in America buying their health care for themselves and making sure they got their money’s worth, I tell you that little gecko on television would be selling you a little more coverage for a little less cost. Everybody be trying, asking this hospital, “Could you deliver more?”

And, how do we know that? Look at LASIK that used to be five thousand dollars an eye. But now, it’s down to less than one hundred dollars an eye.

Under free enterprise, you always get improved quality and decreased cost, when you have competition. When you don’t have free-enterprise competition but socialism, you have increased costs and deteriorating productivity or quality. And so, what why do we have—

When was the last time you heard anybody complain about the price of their home insurance? Why? Because nobody else purchased their home insurance for them, and they compete. If we had that in health insurance, it would solve this thing overnight.

Look at LASIK

RICK:

And, to take it back to the description that you gave at the beginning of our time together, let’s put health care into that. That first-party would be: you’re going to get that LASIK surgery and are paying for yourself, picking which doctor you’re gonna use, or any other health provider or service.

Second-party is what you just described, where the employer or someone else is paying for it for you. So, you don’t care about the costs anymore, but you still get to pick who you’re going to go use.

And then, third-party is the government model. You’re not paying for it, and you’re not picking the provider, but somebody else is. And therefore, you get a higher-priced product of less quality.

Bob McEwen:

And, you just sit in line and they’ll take care of you when—or, you could do as in Great Britain. They decide how much money they’re going to pay for dialysis. Then they calculate how many people need it.

And, they say, “All right, this year everybody over 57 is going to consume too much. So therefore, if you’re over 57, you don’t get dialysis.” Then, the next year it goes to 55, and anybody over 55 doesn’t get dialysis.

And, then the propagandists and the socialists come back and get on the TV shows and say, “In Britain, you don’t have to pay; you get free health care.” Well, in America we give health care to everybody right up until the moment that they die. We don’t decide, “At 55 you’re too close to the grave; you’re not going to get dialysis.”

That’s what happens when you can’t purchase it for yourself. That’s what happens when you lose control of private enterprise, and you have socialism. In America, we like to have that competition and would like to have it more so in health care.

Part of the reason I use LASIK is insurance doesn’t pay for LASIK. It has to be done individually. And, as a result, you have to increase quality and the lower the cost.

It’s is the same way with plastic surgery and those kinds of things. When government’s involved, that stops the competition.

Education is Essential; Do Your Part

RICK:

If Bob McEwan was teaching every economics and political class in the country, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are. Bob, what a blessing. Thank you for that description and explanation.

Let’s keep teaching these things. Folks need to share today’s program because people need to understand this difference. It’s so important.

Congressman we sure appreciate you, brother. Keep up the great work out there.

Bob McEwen:

You’re doing a great service for our country, Rick. God bless.

RICK:

Stay with us, folks. We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.

Greatest Political Privilege

President Calvin Coolidge said, “The 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.”

America’s Hidden History

DAVID:

Hi, this is David Barton.

TIM:

And, this is Tim Barton, and we want to let you know about a series that’s happening right now on TBN on Thursday night. TBN is the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Every Thursday night, there’s a series that we’ve filmed called America’s Hidden History.

And, this season is called “America’s Hidden Heroes.” The reason is, we highlight heroes from American history. For years we’ve been focusing on the forgotten history and heros of the nation.

And now, we have a TV show just highlighting some of those heroes.

DAVID:

These are inspiring stories about some of the greatest people maybe you’ve never heard about. We go on location to the sites and show you where the events happened. It’s the stories of folks like Bronco Charlie, Stagecoach Mary, Jedediah Smith, Robert Smalls, and so many inspiring folks.

TIM:

Now, this happens every Thursday night, and the time is gonna be different based on where you live. Either way, we think this is something that will so encourage and inspire you in learning some of these great stories for America’s Hidden History.

Questions of Power

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

RICK:

Welcome back to WallBuilders Live! It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday today. And, our topic has been really around the role of government. The question was about how to make government more efficient.

But, guys, it’s kind of morphed into What’s the actual role of government supposed to be? because it’s always going to be inefficient.

DAVID:

Well, and as Bob points out, government will never be fully efficient because it’s always third party. It is always going to be third party. And, as he pointed out, there will be waste in the Defense Department, the highway contractor, and everything else.

But, as he said, “Common sense is the best.” And, I had not thought of this but also love when he said, “Experts try to distort common sense;” that was a good statement.

And, that’s what’s happened in D.C., because common sense says, “Don’t spend more than you’ve got;” but, D.C. says, “If you don’t, then you don’t get rewarded.” So,
“We’re going to punish you if you don’t use common sense.”

And, it goes back to what Tim mentioned with elections. You’ve got to elect the right kind of people in there. But, right now, I don’t think citizens have a good scope of what government is supposed to do.

Parable of the Minas

TIM:

Well, guys, even in the midst of this, talking about electing people, one of the things that has always stood out to me from the Bible is in Luke 19. He talks about the Parable of the Minas, and there was a master who had these ten servants who came in. And each servant was given a mina; then, they were sent out.

Then, the first one comes back who had made ten; and hears, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” What’s so interesting, though, is what he says: “I will make you ruler over ten cities.”

And, the one who made the five is told {basically, “Good job faithful steward.} I will make you ruler over five cities.” Then the one who had the one but didn’t do anything with it, he rebukes him: “Cast him into outer darkness,” right?

It did not go well for that servant. But, the point is, the people who were the most successful in their private ventures, were then rewarded with public office: “I will make you rule over five cities, ruler over ten cities.”

And, even if we think about elections, this is one of the things that has been so interesting about the Donald Trump presidency. Guys, even though we disagree with him on moral issues and probably in several areas, when it comes to him ruling –

DAVID:

I don’t think we disagree with his public policy on moral issues.

TIM:

That’s where I was going. When it comes to him ruling, what he has done as a ruler has not been based on some of his previous moral failings, right? This is one of the hesitations we had when he was running for office.

We thought Oh my gosh; this guy’s moral background has not been great. And, obviously not that we didn’t want God to redeem, restore and—

We Weren’t Sure About Trump

DAVID:

We’ve got to state that there’s no indication of that while he’s been in the White House. There’s been no indication of private moral failings of any kind in the White House.

TIM:

Absolutely, but we weren’t sure what we were going to see.

DAVID:

That’s right.

TIM:

The hesitation was: We’re not sure this is a really good guy. However, he’s someone who has proven to be, at least from all outward appearances, a much more moral person than we had thought might be the situation. We certainly hoped for this outcome but didn’t think it was a reality; we hoped for it, though.

But, what’s been so different is he’s been someone outside of the normal political world, someone who’s been in the business world, made deals, and seen what it takes to get things done. And, I think one of the challenges so often when you look at elections, is we look for people who know how politics works, instead of people who know how reality works, how business works.

And, this is where Bob even pointed out that we need people with common sense. Where do you have people with common sense? People that have run businesses, been successful with families, worked on farms, and know how the real world works as opposed to how politics works.

So, part of how we solve political problems is to bring in non-political people who have common sense; and therefore, they’re able to apply wisdom and common sense to political problems. And, ultimately this what we’ve seen Donald Trump do and really solve a lot of problems.

Why Government Should Have To Follow The Constitution

RICK:

Well, folks, we are out of time for today’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday. There are many more questions that have been asked and answers given on Foundations of Freedom Thursday programs in the archive section of our website at WallBuildersLive.com. So, be sure to visit there if you’d like to dive a little further into those foundational principles.

If you’d like to send a question in, send it to [email protected] should appreciate you listening today. We encourage you, when you’re on the website there at WallBuildersLive.com, to consider making a donation.

You can do that by simply clicking on the “donate” button, make a one-time or monthly donation. It’s what makes the program possible; and, it makes it possible for you to be a part of the solution. How cool is that?

You can donate. It’s kind of part of the Founding Fathers’ philosophy: lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. That means we give of our life, our time. “Our fortunes” means we literally invest in freedom. And, “sacred honor” is the willingness to speak truth no matter the cost.

That’s certainly what we do here WallBuilders Live! And, we appreciate you being a part of it. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live!

Liberties and Freedom Are Worth Defending

Samuel Adams said, “The 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.