Consider the following scenario:
Let us say that I am an employer and you are a potential employee. I offer you a job with a generous salary and good benefits. The work I'm asking you to do is not terribly hard, but there are a few responsibilities that you will be expected to perform.
We agree that you will be hired. I offer you a contract. You read through it carefully, asking a question or two about a few details. After that, you sign your name to the contract and start working for my firm.
For a while, both you and I are quite happy with the contract you've signed. Naturally, it's not all smooth sailing--patches of financial instability, some serious growing pains as the company expanded, even an inter cubicle turf war at one point--but for the most part the unpleasantness is kept to a minimum.
As time goes on an interesting thing starts to happen in our employer/employee relationship vis-a-vis the original contract. Almost from the beginning, I do things that fall outside of the letter and spirit of the accord. I'd neglect to replenish the office supplies closet every so often or ask you to work through lunch for a few days. As the weeks and months pass, I take more liberties with the terms of our agreement. Not enough to make you quit, but enough for you to take notice and be annoyed by them.
What I'm doing isn't really malicious. We both look at it as part of doing business. The contract had some wiggle room here and there. Certainly, looking back from the present day it seems like some of the contract's language is pretty ambiguous. At least, that's what we both say to justify my...extracurricular...activities. By and large, my little contractual breaches are not so deleterious that they threaten to shatter our agreement. You think back to the days when you worked for another employer and see that for the most part, you're in pretty good shape. I still pay you a substantial sum, you still perform your duties and we keep moving forward.
The years roll by. After a time, we reach a particularly nasty patch. The company has to fight off stiff competition from some cutthroat outside firms. At the same time, economic instability within the business is threatening to bankrupt the enterprise. It's touch and go for quite a while.
Now, there are several courses of action I could take, but what I decide to do is cut your salary and benefits while asking you to do much more work for me. Of course, these are blatant violations of the terms enumerated in the original contract. I justify this by arguing that, after all this time, the contract's language is so outmoded to today's incredibly difficult business environment that it would be absurd to hold to every jot and tittle of the agreement we made.
Instead of being bound up with the arcane wording of the contract, I assert that the accord is a living breathing document. Modern times dictate that we can use a less stringent, more liberal interpretation of the contract to better deal with the desperate circumstances the company faces. I also tell you that this new look at the agreement will not only save the firm, it will also create new benefits and payment packages that will make the old compensation pale in comparison. I submit that this cutting edge reading of our contract will make you a happier, healthier and more creative worker while allowing you to work less and have more free time in the process. We just have to get through this really awful time and then you'll see how the longer hours and less salary will all pay off.
The scenario is over.
Consider: If your boss really acted the way the employer in the scenario did, you'd probably quit right on the spot. Certainly you'd at least consider hiring a labor attorney or calling a union representative to deal with this matter. In any case, your time working for that company would very likely come to an end in short order.
Why? Because the nature of your relationship with the employer was based around the original terms of the contract. When the boss decided to unilaterally cut your compensation and increasing your work hours without amending the agreement, he severed a promise he made to you, thus destroying the relationship you once had with the company. Regardless, you wouldn't stand it if the firm you worked for broke your contract in such an egregious manner. You'd probably laugh in your boss' face if he played the 'living breathing document' line of nonsense.
Now, if you wouldn't stand for it if your employer did this to you, why do you stand for it when our government does the same thing? Think about it: The Constitution is in many ways a contract that the American people signed with our government. Far from just being a mere "charter of negative liberties" as described by the hapless intellectual midget Barack Obama, the Constitution creates the various branches of government and delegates large but divided authorities to each. It also defines the roles that state governments play in a federal framework. On top of that, it enumerates what the government cannot do to individual citizens.
It's easy to see that the Constitution doesn't 'pay' us in the same way that an employer does. The US Government doesn't just hand us money (except when it does, but that's a different tale for a different time). However, the contract the Founders granted to us compensates us in a far more enduring manner. The Constitution pays the citizen by creating the conditions for individual achievement and personal freedom within a framework based around the rule of law, property rights and a divided federated government. All the Framers' Constitution asks of us in return is loyalty to those principles so that it can be upheld for future Americans.
Looking at the current government in that light, is it not obvious just how much our leaders--those entrusted with preserving and protecting the Constitution--have broken the contract our ancestors made with us?