by Gary Wood, Utah Tenth Amendment Center
H.R. 1586: Education Jobs and Medicade Assistance Act was signed into law on August 10th. Many in Utah arecheering as Gov. Herbert and many state legislators are planning to accept the â€˜grantâ€™ money and strings attached to the bill. Most are not aware of the path this bill took from the House of Representatives through the Senate and finally to Pres. Obama for signature. Hereâ€™s a brief look at the titles and official statements, most recent at the top, provided by OpenCongress.org:
All Bill Titles
- Popular: Education jobs and Medicaid funding bill.
- Popular: Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act as introduced.
- Short: Federal Aviation Research and Development Reauthorization Act of 2010 as passed house.
- Short: Airport and Airway Trust Fund Financing Act of 2010 as passed house.
- Short: Aviation Safety and Investment Act of 2010 as passed house.
- Short: FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act as passed house.
- Short: FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act as passed senate.
- Official: An act to modernize the air traffic control system, improve the safety, reliability, and availability of transportation by air in the United States, provide for modernization of the air traffic control system, reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration, and for other purposes. as amended by senate.
- Official: To impose an additional tax on bonuses received from certain TARP recipients. as introduced.
In typical spaghetti bowl approach the national government has found a way to tie three seemingly different areas into a single bill easily marketed as a way to help teachers and children across the country. Who would not want to help teachers and children? Especially since the money is granted from the national government and the states need this help (most states anyway as there are some states fully funding their education needs).
Yet, where is the $10 billion coming from? We have to go through the bill to find â€œTitle 1, Subtitle A, Section 101, (d) Rescission of Unobligated Balances- Of the amounts authorized under obligated for necessary expenses for an Education Jobs Fund, $10,000,000,000: Provided, That the amount under this heading shall be administered under the terms and conditions of sections 48103 and 48112 of title 49, United States Code, for fiscal year 2009, $305,500,000 are hereby rescinded.â€ Clear? If not you can read further clarifications under SEC. 116. IMPACTS ON AIRPORTS OF ACCOMMODATING CONNECTING PASSENGERS. The heart of the details are actually further down under Subsection C, Section121 that covers â€œUPDATE ON OVERFLIGHTS.â€ Good luck!
Where is the money coming from? According to The Washington Post article, â€œ[t]he bill includes nearly $10 billion in new taxes on U.S. multinational corporations that do business abroad, and it rescinds after 2014 an increase in food stamp payments enacted in last year’s $862 billion stimulus package.â€ Yes, the additional money for temporary relief for education will eventually come, partially, by reducing food stamp payments, but thatâ€™s not until 2014 and states get the money for education today.
“It would be foolish for the State of Utah not to accept this funding, which will directly benefit Utah’s schoolchildrenâ€¦I am committed to fiscal responsibility, and will continue to demand it here in Utah,” Herbert said. “But I will not put ideology before Utah’s schoolchildren.”
It was further pointed out the money was reallocated from other areas so it is not new money. The Utah House Speaker, Rep. David Clark, told a GOP Caucus meeting there are holes in the budget this money can be used to fill. The marketing efforts of the national government are quite successful in stopping ideology in its track. Donâ€™t be foolish, take the money or it will be forced upon you anyway.
Ideology is defined many ways, especially political ideology. Mirriam-Websterâ€™s Online Dictionary offers the following;
1: visionary theorizing
2 a: a systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture b: a manner or the content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group, or culture c: the integrated assertions, theories and aims that constitute a sociopolitical program
This is a word that came into use after our Framers and Founders provided the unique principles of federalism. The assertions, theories, and aims of federalism created a firestorm of debate around the globe. Prior to 1789 no society had been designed with the ideological focus of self-governing by the people with life, liberty, and property being governed at the lowest level possible with states being the top level. The visionary aspects can be found in the six goals of the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Federalism in Utah has been a real talking point over the past couple of years. Many feel this principle is fundamentally required for our Constitution and our federalist republic to survive. Move from this principle and we move from a system of governing that secures the blessing of liberty to one that promotes centralized planning and a more tyrannical approach required under any centralized model of governing. It is this principle, federalism, which is put at risk once again by our national governmentâ€™s insistence that states take the money provided under H.R. 1586. But according to state school superintendent Larry Shumway the principle simply has no hold in this discussion.
ABC 4 reporter Don Hudson interviewed Shumway and as part of the interview he stated, “There is a provision that requires the secretary to allocate the money. And if one state doesn’t take it – he has to give the money to somebody. So, if we said, as a state, we are going to stand on principle and we wonâ€™t take the money – the money is going to be spent somewhere. That’s in the law.” The law trumps principle, federalism loses. The pesky thing about principles is if we rationalize around them often enough they become meaningless. Federalism is quickly becoming meaningless and as it dies so dies our form of society which brought us the liberty we use to hold dear.
In Felix Morleyâ€™s Freedom and Federalism he writes;
I further came to realize that the outstanding virtue of federalism, which is the distinctly American contribution to political art, is its facility in combing these antagonistic conditions (order and freedom). Since the reconciliation of freedom and order is anything but easy a federal system requires both complicated governmental machinery and a high degree of interest and understanding among its citizens. These factors make federalism a distinctly experimental system, especially vulnerable in periods of upheaval. (pg. xxiv)
Herbert, Davis and others do not mind supporting resolutions or legislation emphasizing federalism when it is easy but when it gets tough, teachers and children after all will â€˜loseâ€™ and the dollars will be spent anyway, it takes a back seat. This is a period of upheaval after all. Upheaval is today a constant in our governing world. As for this latest bribe toward centralization it does not matter the funds are temporary. When they run out where will the state get the money moving forward? Perhaps next time it will come from new money or another round of redistributed money from the FAA. Maybe we will need another form of emergency spending of dollars our childrenâ€™s children will have to pay. Further reductions from Peter so that Paul may benefit while ideology gets moved from the back seat to the garage, tucked away in a box we will not open again.
The cycle will continue as the national grip over states becomes so strong there will be no stopping it, ideology be damned. Federalism is not a part-time approach to freedom. Our choice is not about taking money for schools today but stopping the cycle of nationalized education and centralized planning. The marketers sell us a different product but this â€˜as seen on TVâ€™ product does not work, we must stop buying it at some point or give in to the fact we donâ€™t have the â€œhigh degree of interest and understandingâ€ Morley reminds us is necessary.
How could we possibly uphold federalism and still support our teachers and children? Under federalism Utah can access the resources locked away by national government intrusion. You can learn about this by reviewing the H.B. 143: Eminent Domain Authority. State resources far exceeding the national governmentâ€™s dollars are available but we donâ€™t demand them as loudly as we demand our politicians take the money from the EduBills Act today.
It is not easy to understanding, simply look at the structure of the legislation to discover our political parties donâ€™t want it to be. Track the logic of funding education needs by a bill summarized as â€œ[a]n act to modernize the air traffic control system, improve the safety, reliability, and availability of transportation by air in the United States, provide for modernization of the air traffic control system, reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration, and for other purposes.â€
What can we do? First and foremost study our heritage and decide if you want federalism to be the ideology thatguides our posterity or not. If you donâ€™t then it does not matter if elected officials only support it part of the time, it will die soon enough. If you support the ideology that should guide our posterity you will need to be involved with a high degree of interest and understanding. Involved in this issue means you will want to sign the petition â€œUtahnâ€™s Against Fiscal Meltdownâ€ (check back for active link coming soon) and explain to your representatives we must uphold the principle of federalism ALL the time; when it is easy and when it is difficult, even as difficult as the EduJobs Bill makes it.
Gary Wood is the Educational Advisor for the Utah Tenth Amendment Center. Co-founder of the Heritage Training Center, focused on helping end constitutional illiteracy. With 35 years of devoted study of our Constitution his desire is to help others rediscover the inspiring heritage of the United States. Radio show host, training officer, lifetime member of the VFW and most importantly Grandpa.