George Bush has formally presented an expansion of NAFTA to Peru. And, under FastTrack “rules,”Congress cannot amend the legislation.

What does this mean? Well, it’s quite simple. Under Fast Track, the president has the authority to ignore the will of Congress in negotiating new trade agreements.

We must remember that the US Constitution was written under the principle of “positive grant.” This means that the Federal Government is authorized to exercise only those powers that are specifically given to it by the Constitution. Nothing more and nothing less.

This was so important to the founders that they codified it in law as the 10th Amendment:

“The 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.”

There’s nothing, whatsoever, in the Constitution, which authorizes the president to create, conduct and/or conclude trade deals in this manner. This authority resides with Congress. Period.

Do I trust Congress to do a good job managing trade? Absolutely not. But, the potential for the abuse of power rises in proportion to how few the number of people have that power.

NAFTA is not free trade. It’s never been free trade, and this new push by G.W. isn’t free trade either.

Likewise, it’s not Constitutional. It never has been. And this exercise of raw power by an individual – like Bush is doing and Congress has allowed – has nothing to do with the system of government that was created by the founding fathers.