On the Bookshelf: Wildwood author warns of U.S. Constitution’s disintegration
By: Carol Enright
Wildwood resident Louis Srote is quick to tell you that he is not the typical author of a book about the U.S. Constitution.
“I am not a history professor. I’m not a Harvard law professor. I’m not a history teacher, even, or a lawyer or a constitutional expert. Like most Americans, I believe that success is earned – as long as you’re willing to work hard and persevere through the tough times,” Srote said. “I also believe that once you achieve success, you shouldn’t be penalized by way of higher taxes. Like many Americans, I have a no-excuses attitude. I believe in self-reliance, limited government and economic freedom. In other words, I believe strongly in the ideals on which this country was founded.”
Srote, 40, whose day job is in information technology, said those values, along with a growing dissatisfaction with the direction of the country, motivated him to write “The Disintegration of the Constitution” (Tate Publishing, 2012).
“I don’t like the government-run state that is evolving before our eyes. I believe in true capitalism, not the crony capitalism that exists right now…,” he said. “You’ve got government picking winners and losers by giving multibillion-dollar loans to specific green companies or other companies as an initiative to try to get that technology off the ground when, if given the chance, the private sector usually does that much, much better – not usually, it always does it much better.”
Srote’s 248-page book begins with a brief history of the Constitution. Then, he takes the reader through what he sees as the contributing factors, this century and last, that have led to the growth of big government. He touches on media bias, Second Amendment rights, health care, taxes and government waste, citing recent examples of government bailouts and stimulus efforts.
But Srote’s book is more than a political manifesto. In the last chapter, he presents his solution to what he views as a government that is out of control: a new constitutional amendment.
“It’s basically one amendment designed to control government,” Srote said.
But Srote’s one amendment would restrict government in several very specific ways. It would prohibit the president from going to war without congressional approval, unless the nation is directly attacked. It would prohibit deficit spending unless approved by two-thirds of the Congress for emergency purposes only.
It would limit the size of government to 10 percent of the economy and government spending to 10 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, except in times of war. It would prohibit government from using tax dollars to bail out businesses or stimulate the economy. It would make collusion between the government and any business illegal and prohibit the government from funding, or providing subsidies or tax breaks to, any business.
“Government, taxpayer dollars – our money – is not to be used to help the private sector,” Srote said.
Srote’s amendment would strengthen Americans’ right to bear arms “without restriction.” And, in a direct attack on the Affordable Care Act, Srote’s amendment states that government cannot mandate that Americans purchase any goods or services.
Arguably, Srote’s most radical proposition is replacing the current income tax system with a flat 10-percent tax, with the ultimate goal of eliminating all income tax. Srote said taxing people’s income is “in direct opposition to what the Founding Fathers believed.”
This gets to the heart of Srote’s amendment, which would, in the author’s opinion, restore the Constitution to the original intent of the Founding Fathers.
“Anything not listed (in the Constitution) directly defers to the people, to the states,” he said.