For about 20 years, Ray Keating wrote a weekly column - a short time with the New York City Tribune, more than 11 years with Newsday, another seven years with Long Island Business News, plus another year-and-a-half with As an economist, Keating also pens an assortment of analyses each week. With the Keating Files, he decided to expand his efforts with regular commentary touching on a broad range of issues, written by himself and an assortment of talented contributors and columnists. So, here goes...

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Thankful for James Madison on His Birthday

 by Ray Keating

The Keating Files – March 16, 2022


Today, March 16, marks the birthday of James Madison, often called the Father of the Constitution. 

Madison was big on separation of powers, and checks and balances. And thank God he was. What the Founders created in the Constitution was truly exceptional (to be completed by Lincoln and the Civil War).


And looking at our current and previous two presidents, and far, far too many members of the current Congress, my appreciation for what Madison and the Founders achieved in terms of checks and balances, and separation of powers, has been multiplied many times over.


Perhaps Madison’s key point on these matters was the following:


“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty is this: You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.” 


Madison very much understood the need for checks and balances in government in order to protect liberty and limit the governmental abuse of power, no matter the source of such abuse. He understood the potential for abuse from those in government, as well as from the majority in a pure democracy. Hence, the Constitution is an exquisitely balanced document meant to protect natural rights, for example, as laid out in the Declaration of Independence.


As for government and policy today, we need to re-establish or regain what has been lost in terms of those checks and balances, and separation of powers. For example, Congress has been far too willing to hand over legislative powers to the president. Hence, we get Presidents Trump and Biden unilaterally imposing tariffs, while the power to tax is one of those separated powers allocated to Congress by the Constitution. And we see the Supreme Court grabbing the power to legislate from Congress because … well … too many justices simply want to go far beyond interpreting and applying what’s actually written in the Constitution. Judicial activism means the judiciary expands its power.


I think it’s safe to say that Madison would be appalled by all of this, and more.


Do we need another James Madison? No. We just need people in public life who have a Madisonian appreciation and understanding of the Constitution, government and human nature.




Ray Keating is a columnist, novelist, economist, podcaster and entrepreneur. The views expressed here are his own – after all, no one else should be held responsible for this stuff, right?


Keating writes the Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries. Vatican Shadows: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel is the 13th book in the series, followed by Past Lives: A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story and What’s Lost? A Pastor Stephen Grant Short StorySigned books are available at


Some of Keating’s best columns and essays are available in Behind Enemy Lines: Conservative Communiques from Left-Wing New YorkAnd his other recent nonfiction book is Free Trade Rocks! 10 Points on International Trade Everyone Should Know. Again, signed books at


In addition, get organized in 2022 with either of Ray Keating’s TO DO List Solution Planners – The Lutheran Planner 2022 or The Disney Planner 2022.


Also, check out Ray’s podcasts – the Daily Dose of DisneyFree Enterprise in Three Minutes, and the PRESS CLUB C Podcast.


Check out Ray Keating’s Disney news and entertainment site at

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