Government: Where are the Limits?

Our founding fathers had a very specific view of government when they created this country.  They were well educated and knew history very well.  They understood that government was the problem, not the solution but that some rules needed to be established for a society to function.  This lead them to craft our Constitution which was meant to be the guidelines for the federal government.  They drafted it in such a way to allow individual states to create their own rules and forms of government they wished while limiting the power of the federal government to a list of bare minimum powers listed in Article I.

Now over time our country has grown and our leaders have allowed the federal government to step into areas not originally allotted for in the Constitution.

For instance in 1867 the Department of Education was created and according to the original intent was "to collect information on schools and teaching that would help the States establish effective school systems."  Over time that role has increased.

If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare... they may appoint teachers in every state... The powers of Congress would subvert the very foundation, the very nature of the limited government established by the people of America.
- James Madison

In 1913 the Federal Reserve was created as a group of outside banks to control out countries monitary system.  The Federal Reserve act flew right in the face of the Constitution as it states:

Article 1 Section 8: To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;

We took that power and gave it away to an outside group of banks.  What would the founding fathers have to say about that?

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a monied aristocracy that has set the government at defiance. The issuing power (of money) should be taken away from the banks and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs."
- Thomas Jefferson

"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."   Thomas Jefferson

"The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace and conspire against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, and more selfish than bureaucracy. It denounces as public enemies, all who question its methods or throw light upon its crimes. I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me and the Bankers in the rear. Of the two, the one at my rear is my greatest foe.. corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money powers of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of a few, and the Republic is destroyed.   Abraham Lincoln

We've allowed the federal government to grow far more then ever envisioned or desired by our founding fathers.

I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers to be feared. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. If we run into such debts, we must be taxed in our meat and drink, in our necessities and in our comforts, in our labor and in our amusements. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labor of the people, under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.
- Thomas Jefferson

"It would be thought a hard government that should tax its people one tenth part." - Benjamin Franklin

Now we seek to expand the government even further then originally desired to cover our health care, granted we've already opened that pandora's box with Medicaid and Medicare.  We forced companies to work with HMOs through the HMO act of 1973, this is the same thing we today view as a problem yet we fail to see that government created the problem in the first place.  And the solution to the problem the government created?  More government.

Now what would the founders say about government run health care?

If the people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny. - Thomas Jefferson

The care of every man's soul belongs to himself. But what if he neglect the care of it? Well what if he neglect the care of his health or his estate, which would more nearly relate to the state. Will the magistrate make a law that he not be poor or sick? Laws provide against injury from others; but not from ourselves. God himself will not save men against their wills. – Thomas Jefferson

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them. – Thomas Jefferson

At what point is it too much intrusion?  At what point do we say the government has grown too much or over stepped what the founding fathers envisioned?  Since we've already ignored their intentions thus far, when do we stop?  And since we've gone past following the Constitution and instead view it as a living document that we must reinterpret as times change, at what point do we finally toss it out and do away with the false claim that it matters in how our government runs itself today?

Have you ever noticed how statists are constantly "reforming" their own handiwork? Education reform. Health-care reform. Welfare reform. Tax reform. The very fact that they're always busy "reforming" is an implicit admission that they didn't get it right the first 50 times. – Lawrence W. Reed, economist, in The Freeman

One question I leave you all with, even if you agree with what the government has done so far, once we've hit the point where you feel as I do that the government has gone too far what then can be done to stop it? 

Have we passed the point of no return?  Are we so far gone that there is no way to return to what our founders have envisioned beyond a revolution?  I hope not.