Sunday, May 08, 2011

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify!

The federal government can relieve much of its burden by ceding much of its unconstitutional powers to the states. Simply because an issue concerns us all does not cause it to fall under federal jurisdiction. This is a union of states--states created the union by ratifying the constitution--and the states can be left to themselves to deal with important issues. Consider only a few examples.

Murder, rape, and assault are heinous crimes that should be punished in all states. This doesn't mean that the federal government should have jurisdiction over them, and it doesn't The states themselves enact laws against such crimes and enforce them. Since states differ from each other, they may approach and punish these crimes differently--per the will of their people. For instance, there is no death penalty in Michigan, but in other states--think Texas--murder is often punished by a death sentence. This does not mean that Michigan is softer on murder than is Texas. It simply means that Michiganders do not see capital punishment as the best way to deal with convicted murderers.

The Constitution's tenth amendment states clearly that powers not specifically delegated to the federal government belong to the states. Therefore, the feds do not prosecute murderers for murder, rapists for rape, or assailants for assault. Nevertheless, over time the federal government has assumed powers that are not constitutional, and they have done so on the grounds that the issues are vital to all Americans. As Ted Logan would say, this argument is bogus. Murder, rape, and assault are issues vital to all Americans.

Consider a few issues considered so important that the constitution must be violated, and think how states themselves could easily (and most likely less expensively and more efficiently--since states differ from each other).

1.) Education. Making sure that our youngest generation is literate and capable of being productive members of society is important. Nevertheless, a quick reading of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution informs us that Congress lacks any power over the subject. According to the 10th Amendment, that means that states or individuals themselves should be responsible for education. The federal government spends billions on education, but it educates no one. All education is done on the state or private level. The Department of Education should be abolished, and the people of the states should be able to determine for themselves what their children need. This would save the federal government billions every year, which translates into trillions over time.

2.) The Environment. It is important that people do not so ruin the environment that it becomes inhospitable to human life. I don't know anyone who would argue against that. Nevertheless, it is not a job for the federal government. Rules regarding drilling for oil in Alaska should not involve votes from Illinois. Regulations intended to preserve the spotted owl in Washington State should not involve Floridians. California leads the way with reckless environmental policies. Let them test for themselves what happens when property rights are thrown asunder. Let the rest of us develop our own policies that suit our own needs and do not render us victims of other people's ideas. The Environmental Protection Agency should be abolished.

3.) The Department of Agriculture. Agriculture is necessary for life. Without access to good food, we're in trouble. Nevertheless, this does not mean that the federal government needs to regulate who and how our foods are produced, distributed, and consumed. States in which agriculture is important know what they need to produce quality crops and meats. Federal regulators assume that Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 gives them the right to "regulate" agricultural commerce because it often crosses state lines. This is a loose construction that ignores the reason for the so-called "Commerce Clause." The Constitution's framers created AI.S8.C3 in order to prevent states from trade-wars via tariffs. That's it. Every federal power over business that has been justified by the commerce clause--except for those that prevented states from limiting trade between each other--is unconstitutional. Let consumers and the states decide who makes their food, who sells it, and what's worth buying. Abolish the Department of Agriculture.

4.) The Food and Drug Administration. See comments above. Abolish the FDA.

Of course, the bulk of federal spending is on social security, medicare, and the military-industrial complex. The first two are clearly unconstitutional and should be abolished. Let states and families take care of their elderly. Federal spending on the military is, technically, constitutional, but that's not the issue here. If we did nothing more than reduce the federal government's regulatory powers (and thus its spending habits), we wouldn't be looking at either the fiscal or monetary mess that we presently are facing.

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