Judge Andrew Napolitano

When the federal government was created, those who risked their lives and their fortunes and their scared honors to secede from England were animated by recent events. The government did not come into existence in a vacuum. Rather, those who led the Revolutionary War joined those who fought and financed it to create a central government that would be constitutionally incapable of doing to Americans what King George III and Parliament did to the colonists.

The king abridged many personal freedoms, but among them, religion and the right to keep income were at the top of the list, along with the freedom of speech and the right to be left alone. The reason that religious rights and property rights so animated the Founders is simple: They had been aggressively assaulted by the British government, and most of it had to do with money.

The king and Parliament imposed a tax on the colonists to support the king's church in England. And the king and Parliament imposed an obligation on the colonists to purchase the king's stamps and to affix them to all papers in their possession in America. The Stamp Act led to the invasion of the colonists' homes by British soldiers without warrants, ostensibly looking for the stamps. Both of these taxes led to the Revolution, and the bitter aftertaste they left behind, in turn, led to a firm determination on the part of those who wrote the Constitution to craft a document that would assure that the new government would be constitutionally incapable of similar behavior.

How well have the Framers' hopes and plans and constitutional craftsmanship worked out? Not very well. I have written six books about the violations of the Constitution that the government has gotten away with. The feds take your taxes and give it to folks who will vote for them. They even fine churches that fail to violate their core teachings on contraception. These are not light or fleeting issues.

Today, Americans who rely on government entitlements receive an average of $32,700 worth of benefits every year. The average American's annual income after taxes -- Americans who work, not those who receive benefits -- is $32,400. This is the first time in history that we have seen this inversion. I realize that this is just an average, but the numbers show, by a tiny amount, that the average recipient of entitlements has more disposable wealth than the average wage earner.


Judge Andrew Napolitano

Judge Andrew P. Napolitano is the youngest life-tenured Superior Court judge in the history of the State of New Jersey. He sat on the bench from 1987 to 1995, during which time he presided over 150 jury trials and thousands of motions, sentencings and hearings. He taught constitutional law at Seton Hall Law School for 11 years, and he returned to private practice in 1995. Judge Napolitano began television work in the same year.