by Brinn Clayton

I propose the United States of America change its name to the Federalized States of America, or better yet the Coerced States of America. We should either make this change or return to a literal reading of the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

The Tenth Amendment reads, “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.”

In other words the federal government, which is what the states created with the Constitution, has only the authority to govern in the areas directly stated in the Constitution. All other areas of government fall to the state governments or to the people of those states.

In the last 100 to 150 years the federal government has grown like a rabbit warren in springtime. In this growth it has expanded its control into areas that were meant by our Founding Fathers to be governed by the states. The biggest intrusion into the states’ responsibilities has been in the area of education, but it is by no means the only area.

In the early days of government-sponsored-education each state developed its Board of Education with State resources. This is the most efficient method of managing government education. Who knows better how to educate its citizens, the people of the state or the distant federal government? The answer is a no-brainer.

This intrusion is not confined to one party or the other. Under the Republican President George W. Bush, federal control of public education hit an all time high with the “No Child Left Behind” programs. Now under the Democrat President Barak Obama, federal mandates to the states have been further dominated through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The federal government passes laws regarding things like education, health care, social services and highways, all of which are powers not delegated in the Constitution and thus are reserved for the states. The federal government does not carry out these laws, but mandates or coerces the states into administering them.

These laws often are accompanied by funds but usually not enough funds to fully accomplish the requirements of the laws. In some cases no funds are attached to the laws, as when the Congress passed a national speed limit of 55 miles per hour. States were compelled to adopt this speed limit or they would lose federal highway money needed to maintain the federally mandated Interstate Highway System.

Federal encroachment does not stop at the state government. It extends to our city and county governments in the areas of our local board of education and department of social services. How a group of politicians in Washington can think they can decide what is best for the people of Roxboro and Person County is beyond reason. They pass one-size fits all laws that end up not fitting anyone. I just hope they don’t start passing laws governing underwear.

It is unconstitutional for the federal government to pass laws governing education, health care, social services, and anything else not enumerated in the Constitution. But they aren’t the only perpetrators here.

The state governments and the people have allowed and in some cases even welcomed this federal invasion into states rights. The path of least resistance is not always the best path to take.

There is a growing bipartisan movement to reverse the infringement by the federal government on state and local governments. States such as Texas and Oklahoma have begun to pass state laws and resolutions calling the federal government to task.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry addressed the unconstitutional expansion of the federal government and the violation of the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution when he said,

“I believe that our federal government has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state.That is why I am here today to express my unwavering support for efforts all across our country to reaffirm the states’ rights affirmed by the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I believe that returning to the letter and spirit of the U.S. Constitution and its essential 10th Amendment will free our state from undue regulations, and ultimately strengthen our Union.”

On March 26, 2009, 31 district House representatives filed Resolution 849 in the North Carolina House. Section one of the resolution reads, “the North Carolina House of Representatives supports the state’s right to claim sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government or reserved to the people by the Constitution of the United States.”

Section two reads, “the North Carolina House of Representatives urges the federal government, as the agent of the State, to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of any constitutionally delegated powers.”

I hope you will give our North Carolina House representative, Winkie Wilkins, a call or e-mail letting him know you support this measure.

If the states and the people take back these areas of responsibilities, we will have less expensive and more effective education and social programs, our federal taxes will be cut, and citizens will have a more effective voice in the governing of our nation.

Brinn Clayton [send him email] is Publisher of the Roxboro Courier-Times

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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