Following the rules.
We’re all asked (well…told, actually) that we need to do this each and every day.
The federal government tells us what to do more often that we even pay attention to.Â We’re told that we need to give them money, we need to submit to patdowns at airports, we need to allow them to read our emails, and on and on and on.
Remember, we’re not asked.Â We’re not asked if we want them to do these things and we’re not asked to comply.Â We’re told.Â And if we don’t comply, they’ll start pulling out the guns pretty quickly.
But doesn’t this make us second-class citizens?
It sure does, because there’s an entire class of citizens – a few hundred people out there – that claim the right of kings.Â What’s that?Â Well, they don’t have to obey the rules.Â How’s that for living in a land of “equal justice?”
Just in case you haven’t guessed who these nefarious characters are yet – it’s our own elected “officials.”
The Constitution is the set of rules that they ignore – with complete impunity.Â We have to remember that the Constitution doesn’t apply to you, it doesn’t apply to me, it doesn’t apply to Americans, or foreigners, or anyone at all.Â The Constitution applies to the government.Â It’s a set of rules…rules which the politicians are supposed to follow.
The Constitution was written under whatâ€™s called â€œpositive grant.â€ What this means is quite simple. The federal government is authorized to exercise only those powers which are positively granted to it by the Constitution. If a power is specifically listed in the Constitution, the federal government can do it. And, vice versa.
This principle was so important to the founding fathers that they codified it in law as the 10th Amendment:
â€œThe powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.â€
Simple, right? Well, youâ€™d think so, but itâ€™s in the nature of government – and politicians – to ignore any rules that limit their power. And thatâ€™s why we see both the 10th Amendment, and the entire Constitution, becoming more and more irrelevant in political discussions in Washington D.C.
In short, the 10th Amendment specifically limits the federal government to just those powers and functions named in the Constitution. And the 9th Amendment makes it clear that the people also have many other rights the government must respect, extending far beyond those actually named in the Bill of Rights:
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
A quick glance at most federal legislation would make virtually any honest person see that almost everything the federal government does is in direct violation of the Constitution.
If Congress would actually stick to the 10th Amendment and only exercise those enumerated powers, the federal government would be vastly smaller, and far more decentralized.
And you’d be more prosperous and free.
That’s why we strongly support new legislation to get the politicians back to the principles of the 10th Amendment.Â From DownsizeDC.org:
Representative John Shadegg (R-AZ) has a plan to change all this. He has introduced â€œThe Enumerated Powers Actâ€ (EPA) – HR 1359 [You can read the entire bill on our Background page]. EPA would require every law passed by Congress to reference the specific clause(s) of the U.S. Constitution that grant the authority for that law.
What difference will it make if we require them to â€œcite chapter and verseâ€ from the Constitution to show where it gives them the authority to pass a law, create or maintain a program, or lay a tax?
* Well, it might slow them down.
* It might mean that they reconsider a proposal instead of introducing it.
And that’s a pretty good start.
If you think Congress should have to quote â€œchapter and verseâ€ from the Constitution before it creates a new law or program, please ask Congress to pass the â€œEnumerated Powers Act.â€