Many if not most of the programs and agencies of the federal government are not authorized by the U.S. Constitution, as originally understood by the founders. All branches of government, especially the U.S. Supreme Court, have redefined or changed the meaning or the role of the federal government (see Wipedia Commerce Clause – 2/12/16; and Lee, Mike, Our Lost Constitution, Sentinel – 2015). Therefore, I believe most of the functions of the federal government should be returned to the states or to the People.
What Does a Constitutionally Led Federal Government Look Like?
A government which abides by the founder’s intent is smaller and less intrusive to our daily lives. For example, I can see the federal budget somewhere between five and 10 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – currently taxes take up 26.9 percent of GDP (2015) ; and since the states would have larger rolls, which would likely increase their tax burden to take over the functions the federal government used to have. In many instances, the states would tax about 10 percent (more or less) of its GDP.
If the state governments would take on a much larger role in our lives, how is that any different than today?
Buy restructuring our federal system to its original intent, you’d see a striking difference. Government which is closest to the people would be more responsive and agile than today’s enormous federal government. The states and counties are more able to see trends or problems and respond to them more quickly. Moreover, if there were any problems, their effect will be on a smaller scale – and the rest of the country will not be directly affected.
At the beginning, each state would decide which policies or departments it would like to retain. Some would keep less and some would retain all or add more functions to their role – something California readly does today. This would encourage experimentation and competition among the states. So, if Idaho became too restrictive and some of its residents didn’t like the laws Idaho passed, they could move to a state where their principles were more in line with their own. Today, we have no choice but to tolerate laws from Washington DC. We cannot “vote with our feet,” which is a defining quality of free markets – where customers vote by changing from one product or service to another.
An Example: Universal Health Care
If two states wanted to legislate universal health care, each could fashion it according to their, constitution, philosophy, and values – one state may want a public system and another may want a private system. If one scheme was better then the other, one or many states may follow the example of the most effective and efficient health care system and implement one of their own.
Lets take this same example and apply it to the national level. Lets say a certain model of universal health care was very popular and congress decided to submit a constitutional amendment to the states. Alternately, the states could hold a convention of states if Congress did not take up the amendment. If two-thirds of the states ratified the amendment, it would be the law of the land.
A new program would have gone through experimentation at the state level. Then, when it became popular, the People would ask their representatives to authorize it through the amendment process.
Contrast that with Obama Care, which was rammed through Congress by the Democrats under a “parliamentary trick,” with no Republican support. The majority of the people did not support it; and the state legislatures or Governors had no say, yet they’re required to fund and implement it.
Note: I presented this concept to show you how something outside the scope of the constitution was to be installed. I don’t believe health care is a right and this would essentially make it a Federal right. I believe is is more appropriately implemented by the individual states.
How Would a Constitutional Government Be Implemented?
If the People elect constitutionally-committed U.S. Representatives and Senators it would happen in the natural course of legislation. It would happen quicker if we elected a President who was committed to the constitution, as well.
By legislation, the departments and programs would be canceled and the states would consider picking up those responsibilities. In fact, I think a majority of the programs are already at the state level, so the states would simply decide if they wanted to expand their current programs.
A constitutional amendment may have to be put in place to ensure federal overreach did not slowly creep back in.
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