As usual, this election season, the Presidential candidates are telling us how they’ll make life better for you.  They’ll improve the economy, help your investments, protect you from harm, help you get a raise, ensure that you’ll keep your home, and much, much more.

The problem, of course, is that most of what these candidates talk about doing is simply not authorized by the Constitution.

LaVarr Webb at the Deseret News makes the case that because of this, no matter who is elected, they’re doomed to failure:

Whoever wins, the next president is doomed to fail in many ways. The reason is that the job description for president has become impossible. Any president is set up for failure because the expectations of the job are so enormous as to be unattainable.

There’s no doubt about it.  When presidents make promises far beyond the scope of their constitutional authority, it should be quite clear that they’re only trying to win a popularity contest, and just cannot succeed at all (or even just a little) of what they promise.

LaVarr goes on to explain further:

Under the system of balanced federalism created by the founders, the job of president was doable. The role of the federal government was supreme but limited to specific duties delegated to it by the Constitution. A president could successfully fulfill the responsibilities of his office.

The states were protected from a potentially ambitious and overbearing federal government by the 10th Amendment, reserving any power not specifically delegated to the national government to the states and the people. It is part of the Bill of Rights, designed to defend the basic rights of the people. States refused to ratify the Constitution until that amendment was in place.

The Constitution was written under what’s called “positive grant.” 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:

“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.”

Simple, right? Well, you’d think so, but it’s in the nature of government – and politicians – to ignore any rules that limit their power. And that’s why we see both the 10th Amendment, and the entire Constitution, becoming more and more irrelevant in political discussions in Washington D.C.

Anyone paying even the least amount of attention to federal government can see that these principles are, as Webb puts it, “dead and gone.”

What’s the solution? Webb hits the nail on the head:

The nation’s complete capitulation in allowing and expecting the federal government to solve every problem facing society is a disaster. The solution to many of the toughest problems is the opposite of more federal intervention.

The solution is to get the gridlocked, ultra-partisan Congress and the incredibly expensive and massive federal bureaucracy out of the way and allow states and local government to keep their money at home and tackle the problems according to local circumstances.

Pretty simple.  If only the federal politicians weren’t so interested in expanding their own power at the expense of your liberty.

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.”



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The 10th Amendment

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10th Amendment



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