Federal vs. The People

Today, being a U.S. legislator is not as easy as it once was.  Today, we have lobbyists who campaign for their issues and interests, just as our legislators campaign for election.  Today, there are PACs, Political Action Committees, who can  not only campaign for their issues and interests, they can donate massive amounts of funds, called soft money contributions, for specific causes that are not tied to specific candidates.  Voters cannot donate as much cold hard cash as they want, but the PACs are allowed to.  The last I read, there are over 4,600 business, labor and special-interest PACs.  I can’t find one but I wonder if the state of Texas has a PAC?  San Diego has a PAC.  Does Texas have one?  If a single city has the need for a PAC, does a single state have a need for one, especially since senators are no longer appointed by the state governors?

Just how are the two sides of Congress different in the power they wield?  They share many powers because they looked at issues differently in the beginning.  The House members wanted to make sure they were re-elected by the people.  The Senate members wanted to make sure they were re-appointed by their respective states.  But there are some differences and in most cases, they must work together.

The House is the only side that can initiate revenue bills.  It takes both sides to pass the same bill to send it to the President but only the House can actually create a new revenue bill.  The House is the only body that can impeach a President, but the Senate is the body that actually tries a President for impeachment.  So, the people’s representatives can decide to impeach a sitting President but the state’s representatives decide whether to convict or not, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court runs the impeachment trial.  At least that was what the founding fathers intended.  Checks and balances; no longer available in this instance.

So what can the states do that Congress can’t?  Basically, the states have the authority to do anything that the federal government is not specifically charged with doing and anything that the states are not prohibited of doing.  In other words, anything that’s not specifically given to the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches of government and is not specifically prohibited to the states in the Constitution is up to the states and the people.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?  However, section 8, clause 18, of Article One of the Constitution, called the Necessary and Proper Clause, is commonly used to give Congress expanded powers by both the Congress and the Supreme Court. 

The Congress shall have Power – To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Ooookayyyyy.  So what does that mean for the states?  Have the Congress and the Supreme Court totally usurped our state’s rights?  To a great extent, I think they have because legislation at the federal level now seems to have become more about the power the federal government wields rather than the rights of the people.  Are there abuses nowadays?  Sure.  Were there abuses before the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913?  Definitely.  There will always be abuses if the people allow it.  Are there checks and balances today between the federal government and our state governments?  Not really.   For example:

  • The states regulate intrastate commerce and the federal government regulates interstate and international commerce; e.g. the feds can regulate what comes into the country but the states regulate where it goes once it is here.  Come on, once an item has been imported to a state, do you honestly believe that the people can’t get it, no matter where it is in the state?   That just feeds a black market for that item.
  • The federal government can print money, both bills and coins, and the state cannot; a national currency that is used all across the U.S.  That’s good.  Yet if more money is created, the states are definitely impacted and they don’t seem to have a say as to whether or when that money is created. 
  • The states provide for public health and safety, yet the federal government now has a federal health bill.  I can’t find anywhere that the U.S. Government has the authority to provide for my health. 

Ahhh, that good ol’ Necessary and Proper Clause strikes again!  Or maybe it’s the Commerce Clause?  Who knows but it’s in there somewhere.

Alright, you are probably thinking that I’m a Tea Party Member.  You are wrong.  I am not.  I am just a citizen who is pissed off that the feds are taking more and more of the power and leaving us, the people, with less and less.  And that’s what all of this seems to be about … power.  Power corrupts.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely.  I do NOT want to see the federal government have absolute power over the states, the districts, and the cities of this nation.  I do NOT want to see the federal government have absolute power over me. 

Back off, bub!


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