It's Not Yours To Give - Will our Congress take note?

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It's Not Yours To Give - Will our Congress take note?

Not Yours to Give

http://64.203.107.114/histdocs/crockett_not_yours_to_give.asp 

Col. Davy Crockett
1884

From The Life of Colonel David Crockett
Member of the U.S. Congress 1827-31 & 1832-35

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

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 its 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 to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a 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."

APPROPRIATE: To set apart for, or assign for a particular use, in exclusion of all other uses; as, a spot of ground is appropriated for a garden. [Webster?s 1828]

MONEY: 1) Coin; stamped metal; any piece of metal, usually gold, silver or copper, stamped by public authority, and used as the medium of commerce. 2) Bank notes or bills of credit issued by authority, and exchangeable for coin or redeemable, are also called money; as such notes in modern times represent coin, and are used as a substitute for it.If a man pays in hand for goods in bank notes which are current, he is said to pay in ready money. [Webster?s 1828]

CHARITY: Liberality to the poor, consisting in almsgiving or benefactions (Alms - Any thing given gratuitously to relive the poor, as money, food, or clothing, otherwise called charity), or gratuitous services to relieve them in distress. [Webster?s 1828]

"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."

AUTHORITY: Legal power or a right to command or act; as the authority of a prince over subjects, and of parents over children.? Power; rule; sway. [Webster?s 1828]

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.

 

Can anyone name one member of the House or Senate who has displayed this level of integrity, humility and true understanding of what is required of our elected representation?

The only one that comes to mind is Alan Grayson (D - FL), but I'm sure there are others lost in the maelstom of self-serving corruption and Constitutional ignorance that is our Washington DC.

Certainly our Congress has the authority to enact legislation to enable these bailouts and packages, but are they even constitutional?

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