Hillsdale College: Constitution 101, The Theory of The Declaration and Constitution

The Theory of the Declaration and the Constitution
Thomas G. West

The principles of the Declaration of Independence constitute the soul of the American Founding and form the moral basis of government in the United States. The Declaration is a clear and concise statement of the principles that drove the American Revolution, and served as the basis for the Americans’ appeal from British rights or law to the natural law.

The first principle of the Declaration is equality, which means no one is by nature the ruler of another. Equality gives rise to natural rights, which are inherent and inalienable, and include life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, property, and religion. To secure these rights, human beings consent to leave the state of nature and form a government, which protects our rights through such means as national defense, criminal laws, civil laws, and minimal support for the poor.

The right to consent requires the unanimous agreement of the individuals forming the government to give up some natural liberty in return for the security of rights, which is the government‘s sole purpose. The majority rules in everyday politics, and consent is maintained through elections. Should a government become unjust, violating rather than protecting rights, the people may exercise their right to revolution.

A government founded on the basis of these principles secures and fosters a republican way of life that brings about peace, justice, safety, and happiness.

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America’s Ambitionless Generation?

By  on February 18, 2014

In colonial times, men and women were equal when it came to work. Both had chores and responsibilities from dawn to dusk. Women not only did housework, they milked cows, fed the pigs and chickens and helped tend the crops.

Life was hard in colonial times. It made little difference whether the family lived in a small town or in a farmhouse miles from the nearest neighbor. There was no such thing as women’s work when it came to basic survival needs. Everyone shared the load. Families couldn’t afford slackers on a hand to mouth existence.




Commentary: State tax code is inhospitable to business

Commentary: State tax code is inhospitable to business

February 04, 2014|By Keith Curry | The Daily Pilot

I had three separate experiences recently that reinforced just how bad things are for business owners in California.

A letter to one of my previous campaign supporters came back, and when I followed up with email, I learned that this pizza restaurant owner had moved the business to Texas. The California tax and regulatory burden had simply become more than this person was willing to handle.

This person had been a leader in the community, organizing girls lacrosse leagues and youth sports programs throughout the city. I sadly learned that other old friends had moved to Nevada and Arizona for the same reason: high California taxes.

At the same time, I received through my old business email address an invitation from the Northeast Texas Economic Alliance, soliciting my relocation to Texas and offering to detail all of the tax advantages of Texas versus California.

During the recent Irvine Chamber of Commerce Business Outlook Forum, Forbes magazine Publisher Richard Karlgaard made the startling prediction that California-based Chevron Corp., Northern California’s largest employer, would relocate to Texas in the next five years because of the California tax structure.

Can you blame them? California sales and income taxes are among the highest in the nation. The top 1% of California earners pay 41% of total personal income taxes but earn only 21% of the income.

The Proposition 30 income tax increases will take more than $5.6 billion annually from California’s most productive job creators. CEO Magazine again ranks California as the “worst state for business,” a title we have held for eight years in a row.

Because California treats capital gains as ordinary income, our tax system is volatile and disadvantageous to investment. It is a sad commentary indeed to say that the federal tax system, flawed as it is, actually does a better job of promoting investment and job creation.

Recent proposals to raise property taxes on commercial property through the so called “split-roll” would sock California business property owners with a $6 billion bill to be passed on to tenants and shoppers. Pepperdine University estimates that this would also cost hundreds of thousands of jobs.

California cannot grow unless we can create jobs in the private sector, and we cannot grow jobs unless we cut taxes and become competitive with states that are welcoming our job creators with open arms and low taxes.

KEITH CURRY is a Newport Beach councilman and candidate for the 74th Assembly district.

We Need to Protect Proposition 13

We Need To Protect Proposition 13


For more than 35 years, Proposition 13 has protected California homeowners and taxpayers.  While our sales and income taxes have risen to be the highest in the nation, property taxes remain constrained and more importantly, predicable to each property owner.


Residents can anticipate their base property taxes will be 1% of their assessed valuation and will rise at no more than 2% per year.  Prior to Proposition 13 the average tax rate was 2.67%.  In addition, homes were revalued frequently and it was not uncommon during times of rapid property inflation to see property taxes nearly double due to reassessment.  This was particularly devastating to seniors and those on fixed income.  Tens of thousands of residents in our coastal communities are “house rich-cash poor” and risked being literally taxed out of their homes.


Recently, local elected officials were solicited by a San Francisco-based organization called “Evolve,” drumming up support for an effort to change Proposition 13 by reducing or eliminating its protections for commercial properties.  This would represent a $6 billion tax increase with money going to local governments throughout the state. Already, more than 20 local governments and school districts have answered this siren song to raise taxes.  The proponents make it enticing by telling homeowners that they will not pay, but when we raise taxes on commercial properties, we all pay.  This $6 billion tax increase will show itself in higher rents as building owners recoup the taxes from their tenants.  It will result in higher prices as shop and business owners get hit with higher occupancy costs and it will further exacerbate the disadvantages of brick and mortar stores that compete with internet retailers resulting in more store vacancies on the main streets of our state.


Perhaps the biggest impact will be in increased unemployment.  Pepperdine University estimates that the so-called “split roll” will result in a loss of 390,000 California jobs initially and the continued loss of 100,000 jobs each year thereafter.  Make no mistake, if the high tax lobby can split homeowners and commercial property owners now, they will be back soon to raise taxes on residential properties in the future.


Since the passage of Proposition 13, local governments have survived and thrived.  The State is prohibited from taking local revenues, so there is no need for a $6 billion tax increase to fund more government.  We should all respond with a resounding NO to this San Francisco-based tax grab.

Keith Curry is a council member and former mayor of Newport Beach.  He is a candidate for the 74th Assembly District.

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