Huzzah for the Constitution!
Mrs. Powel asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”
With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
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The Republican Wave
The unmistakable message sent by American voters on November 4, 2014, was a stop-and-reverse-the-damage mandate for Republicans to get busy with an anti-big-government agenda. In short, it is a mandate for Constitutional government.
Disestablishing Big-Government Apparatuses and Policies
It is time to go about the business of returning power to the states that, rightfully, the states should be exercising. For example, the Congress should rid the federal government of most bureaucracies, in order to let the states enforce the laws which occasioned their establishment. Departments we could better do without include: the Department of Education; the Department of Energy; the Environmental Protection Agency; the Department of Agriculture; the Department of Commerce; the Department of Labor; the Department of Housing and Urban Development; the Department of Transportation; and the Department of Health and Human Services. These departments and agencies have only served to strengthen the hand of the executive with regard to bossing around the sovereign states. Before all of this bureaucracy existed, the Congress would pass laws, and the states would enforce them without an expansive—and expensive—bureaucracy to micromanage their efforts.
When George Washington first took office, he hired the first presidential cabinet, and it was made up of only four persons: Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson; Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton; Secretary of War Henry Knox; and Attorney General Edmund Randolph. The veterans probably deserve a voice in governmental decision-making, but I would actually have no objection to the elimination of the Department of Veterans Affairs and having its role subsumed by the Department of Defense. Nor would I object to getting rid of the Department of Homeland Security; perhaps the Director of National Security could be retained, but in the role of coordinating the information-sharing and co-operation of all the intelligence-gathering apparatuses already in existence.
Advantages to a Smaller, More Focused Executive
The advantages to the American people of having a smaller, more focused executive branch would be that more quality time could be spent by the president on big matters of national importance. The president could pay closer attention to foreign affairs and diplomatic crises. He could devote more time to leading the American people on issues that are national in scope and shepherding national legislation through the House and Senate.
It should not be the president’s role to change laws made by the people by ordering administrative rules to be written that will have the effect of law. For example, President Obama failed to get a cap-and-trade measure passed during his first two years in office, even though he had a Democrat super-majority. The American people did not want this economy-crushing legislation to be passed. So Obama decided, as a result, to have the Department of Energy write new rules that fit the parameters of the legislation he wanted. And voilà! He has cap-and-trade anyway. Without the Department of Energy, Obama could still have written an executive order—as un-Constitutional as that might be—to establish cap-and-trade, but without a bureaucratic arm, it would be difficult to enforce it. The people should not have to fear that unwanted laws will still be enforced, even if the people voted them down. And states should be able to decide how laws are carried out within their own precincts.
If the American people are going to entitle citizens to such things as national healthcare, social security, and unemployment insurance, free-market forces should be used to make the programs of highest quality and lowest cost to the taxpayers.
For example, money vouchers should be given to all Americans using national healthcare plans. And they should be allowed to shop across state lines for their health insurance, which is illegal now. The competitive environment would mean that insurance prices would be under downward pressure and quality would go up.
Social security tax money should not go into the general fund, but should actually be put into that lockbox that has hitherto never actually existed. Citizens wishing to place their money into independent retirement accounts should be allowed to do so, as long as they sign off on their decision and take responsibility for it.
Unemployment insurance should be funded through private insurance companies, and each American worker should be allowed either to let the government choose the company or to choose one for him- or herself. The government could guarantee a minimum level of benefit from the government-monitored companies, or workers could realize a potentially better benefit from companies they have chosen and have invested in wisely, perhaps having freely chosen to pay a higher amount into the policy each month.
Welfare programs should be administered exclusively within the domains of the sovereign states. There should not exist any national welfare law. The current law should be changed to allow the states to administer their own programs but not mandating that they do so. States should be able to decide on their own whether welfare should be funded publicly or privately within their boundaries. Many surprising solutions might develop that would actually help more people for less money, and involving locals more directly in the process of monitoring who gets helped and how.
Less Corruption, More Freedom
Paring down the size of the state will mean fewer hands coming in contact with taxpayer money. The smaller size will mean fewer mandates from on high, giving state and municipal authorities a freer hand to respond to problems closer to their origins. Solutions will have more freedom and fewer rules factored into them.
A House Divided Against Itself Might Stand after All
The Founders knew that laws made at the national level will always be more popular in some states than others. And in yet others, the same laws might even be greatly unpopular. Their solution to this dilemma was federalism.
In today’s America, for example, the entire issue of gay marriage is incredibly divisive. But Ted Cruz has proposed a compromise that solves the problem: a Constitutional Amendment that takes the federal government out of the equation altogether, making state decisions on the matter immune to intervention from federal courts.
Why not allow states to actually make their own decisions with regard to all matters that are not given to the Congress in the list of enumerated powers, as if the ninth and tenth amendments to the Constitution actually meant something? National elections would become focused on issues of national importance, allowing the daily issues of everyday life to be solved closer to home. The states could be divided on many things, and it would not matter as much. In fact, the things that ended up working well in some states might become, eventually, universally adopted by the others, while the bad ideas on display could be universally avoided. The country would learn much more by having 50 freedom laboratories trying out different things.
A Constitutional Congress
No matter what Constitutional theory the new Congress chooses to adopt—one of strict construction or loose construction—having a Constitutional Congress will be a much better alternative to the one Americans have been suffering under for the last six years of the Obama-Reid Axis of Evil. Huzzah for the Constitution!
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com