Government Watch / Politics

Restoring Liberty To The States

american-flag-constitutionFrom – hoover.org – By Allan H. Meltzer.

Our Constitution is explicit about who makes laws. Article 1 says: “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress.” One might think that the clause could not be misinterpreted or ignored, but it has been. An overwhelming number of federal laws are now made by administrative agencies under the executive branch. Our Constitution provides a government of checks and balances to protect citizens against tyranny, but these agencies are not subject to those checks and balances and they run roughshod over our liberty.

They pass their own rules and enforce the rules they make. In the event of challenge, they adjudicate the matter and issue judgments. Complaints can be heard in the regular court system, but that is a slow process. An outrageous example was a decision that closed a major accounting firm—Arthur Andersen—in 2003. By the time, the courts decided that the administrative decision was wrong, the Arthur Andersen personnel had scattered and the offices had closed. That is one well-known example but there are many others.

Congress has considered legislation to restore Congressional control of the legislative process several times. Such changes to strengthen Congressional influence never pass. As many as three of the nine Supreme Court justices have recognized that administrative agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Labor Relations Board, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and others violate checks and balances. Nothing changes.

Most law is what the regulating agencies say it is, and they have much to say. They make more rules than Congress. This weakens the rule of law. Although lawyers have not agreed on a short statement of the rule of law, all agree that laws should apply to all relevant parties without exception. “Equal justice under the law” is engraved on the front of the Supreme Court building in Washington. Notwithstanding, administrative officials grant privileges to special interest groups often at the request of individual members of Congress.. With each passing year, we become less a government of principles and more a government of men and women. That is contrary to the rule of law

The regulatory system does not work well. The long waiting lines at some Veteran Administration facilities are well known. Similar problems affect patients in other parts of the federally administered health system. Regulation and paperwork divert doctors from patient care. Reform is overdue.

Massive increases in regulation of business create uncertainty. One result is that companies cannot anticipate the future, so firms have not invested in new equipment. And without new investment, productivity growth is slow, and middle class incomes stagnate.

Then, we have the many poverty programs spending billions of dollars annually without much if any reduction in the poverty rate. President Clinton lowered the number of people living in poverty by requiring that recipients work, but the Obama administration has let young workers drop out of the labor force, live on social benefits, and occasionally work in the underground economy. Since these workers do not go to school and do not get skills training, they never get the job training that increases skills and earnings. As a result, they are likely to remain in poverty all their lives.

To improve the outcomes and reduce widespread dissatisfaction, I propose that many Federal programs be returned to the states and the public. The Tenth amendment says that all powers not explicitly granted to the federal government “are reserved to the states and the people.” Instead of uniform federal programs that restrict choices to those made in Washington, citizens of each state could select many of the rules under which they choose to live. If California and New York voters prefer big government, they can choose to pay for it without imposing their preferences on everyone else.

Some recent studies have shown that government approval of hundreds of hospital mergers raised consumer costs. Where a market has four hospitals instead of one, costs are 15 percent lower. Where two hospitals compete, costs are lower also. Yet regulators permitted hundreds of mergers that eliminated competition. And permitting airlines to merge created monopolies in many cities. The result: poorer service, more crowded space, and higher prices.

With increased federalism, state programs would diverge from the federal requirements. Over time, voters would learn how well or poorly different programs work and how efficient or costly they are. Some states would compete by finding ways to reduce costs while improving service. Competition lowers prices and improves products and services in the private sector. It would do the same in the public sector given the opportunity because many federal programs are wasteful.

The United States has the world’s most heterogeneous population. People have come here from every part of the earth. They grew up in many different cultures, and they teach some of their beliefs to their children and grandchildren. Unlike the more homogeneous populations of European countries like France or Norway, people in America hold many different beliefs. Taking advantage of the Constitutional clause that favors greater freedom, I favor letting voters choose the details of programs at the state level in a way that permits voters to differ about means and ends. One size does not fit all.

What is true of economic regulations is even truer of many social policies. Attitudes and beliefs about specific programs vary widely. Some people favor social regulations while others despise them. Abortion, gay rights, drug use, and tobacco regulation are some examples.

The law now requires any business that services weddings to service gay marriages. This strikes me as a denial of personal liberty. Shouldn’t people have a right to their prejudices? Some polities would choose to enforce that law. Others would not. Federalism offers us a way to reduce social conflict.

It would not be perfect, of course. Some who approve of a law would be annoyed that not everyone is subject to it. And some who oppose the law would be offended also. One of the perennial mistakes in public policymaking is to claim that the same rule must apply to everyone. We are humans with different beliefs, cultures, and desires.

Our founding fathers recognized that the different states would make different policy choices. The conflict over slavery made that clear. But in Federalist 10, James Madison recognized that some programs must be enforced at the federal level. He had in mind a common currency and common defense—and, with the passage of time, we have added anti-discrimination laws, telecommunications, and much else to that list. My proposal is to return many issues to the states while recognizing that some programs must be federal.

It will not be easy, but it is not hopeless. Government has started to move some programs to the states. The states regulate alcohol, tobacco, and now cannabis. Medicaid that provides health care to the indigent is administered by states. Congress recently reversed President George H. W. Bush’s federalizing of education. Program responsibility is reverting to the states.

Medicare and other health care programs would be a great next step. The programs are inefficient and face startling future costs as the population ages. Congress has not developed a humane plan that reduces costs. Competition between states would help.

Above all, my desire is to restore lost liberties and prevent further loss. Liberty and the rule of law helped to make us a great nation. We can become greater still, if we maintain our competitive market economy and strengthen the rule of law by reducing administrative power.

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Alex Scott Grunberg
5 years ago

Hello,

I am a volunteer with conventionofstates.com a subsidiary of citizens for self governance. We are a grassroots operation involved in the education and organization of citizens throughout the united states, at all levels of government. We believe it is time to try amending the constitution at a state convention, and we intend to do so by informing the public.

Learn more at conventionofstates.com; sign the petition and volunteer. We will contact you with more information on how you can get involved in local politics; become a district captain, and begin hosting local meetings in your area. We believe that the power in this country ought to be in the hands of the people, not the legislators. In other words; our representatives and senators ought to do what we tell them to.

In an amended constitution legislators may receive shorter terms; so they may be more focused on serving the interests of the people.

In an amended constitution judges may receive shorter terms; so they may be more focused on serving the interests of the people.

More elections could ensure that the voters have their voices heard, and their interests met.

Furthermore, amending the constitution to include legislation that will require the federal government to balance a budget; to ensure government programs continue to be funded for future generations.

There are some great scholarly minds behind these statements; read more at conventionofstates.com

This country is out of the money, and the people are ready to do something about it; because, 20 trillion dollars of real debt coupled with 100 trillion in unfunded liabilities is turning the land of the free into the land of the financially oppressed.

Our government is often attacked for its actions. By it’s own people and by other countries. Sometimes for a lack of action. Sometimes for doing too much. Unfortunately, when the funds disappear so does the help.

What ever happened to the invisible hand, and regular economic tributaries that made real sustainable growth in capitalistic society possible? My experience has been that the people in this country are interested in getting their paychecks and spending them. They are looking for handouts, but I am wondering if developing a real micro-economic policy over the long term is something that individuals will ever interest themselves with. There is a movement in this country that is burning a hole in our pockets, politically. There are criminals, in the digital age, whom have learned to steal from the taxpayers in this country. There is little accountability from politicians or the american people. Those criminals rely on the rhetoric where they seek government monies; and, by reception of those monies through the political process, are then perceived as heroes in their own walks of life for taking these progressive measures. I am suggesting a lack of transparency is a major offender in american politics.

I volunteer with convention of states project, because I want americans everywhere to take an advantage with their digital selves, to advance their own agendas. COSP is a grassroots movement; only a non-partisan movement can carry on a conversation long enough to push pen to paper, thus opening the doors of communication between citizens and their government officials.

A grassroots movement; figuratively, is a plan to water the grass until the roots are quite deep. This metaphor is best explained by the examples of both water and grass: we are the seeds of the movement, and everyday when the sun shines, we either wither or we prosper and grow. Whether we prosper or grow is solely dependent upon whether or not there is rain. Ask any greenkeeper at a golf course; the secret to healthy grass is to water deeply, and the deeper you water, the deeper that the grassroots grow. Figuratively, the water of our grassroots movement relies upon the conversations. We are the people of this more perfect union, and to expect the establishment of justice, provide for the common defense, and ensure domestic tranquility; we must all take actions politically in favor of our own agendas. For with plenty of water the grassroots my prosper, and in a way that could not happen generations ago, we communicate with ferocious speed and accuracy.

The connectedness of the american people today, is forever changing how the capitalist society ought to function. Without the assistance from firms, which have power on par with the government’s, there is little hope to sustainably navigate the economic tributaries of world affairs.

So I beckon of anyone and everyone whom may read these words. Contact me, and start a conversation. I am well educated, but furthermore I love this country and the principles on which it was founded. I know we can get through this economic mess; and, I may even know how, but I need your help.

Brent
5 years ago

An Article V convention of states is not a silver bullet but it is our best hope to restore federalism, fiscal sanity and Constitutional fidelity.

And anyone that thinks this convention will “open up” our Constitution to anyone with a red sharpie, should ask themselves, if that were the case, why is anyone voting against it?

Hmmmm

M Sellers
5 years ago

Almost every major problem facing our country can be traced back to the unconstitutional overreach of the federal government. The Convention of States is the only solution big enough for the problems in our country. We must use Article V of the US Constitution to bring the power back to the people through the states.

Judy Ruzicka
5 years ago

We are so far “off base” I’m not sure we can get the score back. I hope this election will once again unify the United States of America and it seems like the government has forgotten “united we stand, divided we fall” I for one am really tired and discouraged of it all. This new “bathroom directive” is just a disaster waiting to happen. Why aren’t our representatives stopping this travesty of a president. So he vetoes, we have the people to over ride. Now criminals are being given more rights than law abiding citizens, immigrants more than our veterans and on and on and we are quickly losing our right to free speech. I hope we can regain our country and our rights before all is lost.

katherine appello
5 years ago

The best way to restore is through an Article V Convention.

Paul Adcock
5 years ago

I agree. We do need to rein in the federal government. It passes all sorts of business-crippling regulations from federal bureaucracies. The founders never intended for a federal government this big. We need to rein it in via Article V.

MCM
5 years ago

My favorite communist Nikita Khrushchev once said, “we will bury you.” He later said he was not making a threat, that the USSR would not invade the United States, but that the United States would destroy itself from within. He was right. Unfortunately for the USSR, while he was pointing one finger at us, three fingers were pointing back at him and his motherland. History is becoming clear. An abyss always awaits at the end of socialism and statism. Anyone want to move to Venezuela, Honduras, Greece or Russia? Also, China and many of the other socialistic European countries are nearing collapse.

So why do I say Nikita was right about the United States? I am presenting the following facts about our country for your consideration:

1) $19 trillion spending deficit.
2) $200 trillion unfunded liabilities.
3) 1.6 million pages of laws, regulations, unfunded mandates and executive orders during the George W. Bush and Obama administrations.
4) Continuous undeclared wars since 2001.
5) 3,000 page Constitution as interpreted by SCOTUS versus the 7 thousand word People’s Constitution and amendments.
6) 59 million slaughtered unborn babies because 5 elderly men on SCOTUS interpreted the Constitution to include a fictitious right to privacy.
7) Women and girls are now weary of pedophiles, perverts and rapists in public restrooms because of judicial activism.
8) There will be worse tyranny to come if the Federal Government is allowed to continue to ignore the People’s Constitution and continues on the path to full socialism and statism.

Yes, it is far past time that “we the people” enforce Constitutional Amendments IX and X and take back the power that our outlaw, runaway federal government has usurped.

Some people believe the GOP will save the country. I did once when Goldwater ran for president in 1964, and I remained optimistic throughout much of the Reagan administration. Not so much since, and definitely not now after Cruz lost the presidential nomination. Out of the 125 Republican primary candidates for President in my lifetime, only 9 have been what I would call conservative. Those 9 are as follows: Cruz, Gingrich, Santorum, Keyes, Forbes, Reagan, Ashbrook, Goldwater and Taft. Also in my lifetime, there have been 12 Republican presidential candidates and, as you can see from the above list, only 2 were conservative – Reagan and Goldwater. Finally, only 1 out of 5 Republican presidents was conservative – Reagen. The batting average for all three categories is about 150. Not so good if you want to play in the major leagues. I would say Congress is even worse, and SCOTUS is batting a dismal 50.

Fortunately, our founding fathers foresaw this predicament and gifted us with the solution called Convention of States. Convention of States is a convention called by the state legislatures for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution. The legislatures are given the power to do so under Article V of the Constitution.

Convention of States Action, a project of Citizens for Self-Governance, is active in all 50 states, helping to insure that an Article V Convention of States will become a reality in the near future. To learn more about our project visit our website at:

http://www.cosaction.com/?recruiter_id=1501881

Please consider signing our online petition and signing up to be a volunteer. Help us use our Constitution to preserve our Constitution, and preserve our liberties. We owe it to our children and grandchildren.

Bill McDowell
5 years ago

Our federal government has overstepped its authority. The overreach by both the executive branch and the legislative branch has been supported by decisions made by the courts. Convention Of States has an article V application that will allow delegates to propose amendments to rein in all three branches of the federal government.
To sign the petition, volunteer, or just to get more information visit http://www.conventionofstates.com

Rick Bulow
5 years ago

A Convention for the purpose of proposing amendments is EXACTLY what this country needs. Those who say we need to follow the Constitution do not understand that implementing said convention is how to follow the constitution. It is called Article V

If you want to help save and restore this great republic, go to http://www.conventionofstates.com

Bill
5 years ago

I totally agree with this article
The founders
It was the founders who created the structure of our government based on the belief that our rights came from our creator and are not bestowed on us by a ruling elite They structured it in a way that power would be split between the federal branches and the states so that ipower would be kept in check and the people be self governed. The constitution is the document that we are to be governed by. We need to restore the original intent of the constitution as it has been amended by the unaccountable Supreme Court The convention of states project is the best way to do this. Join us conventionofstates.com

David
5 years ago
Reply to  Bill

The original intent of the Constitution is right there in black and white. READ IT!!!
Opening our most sacred document up to an Article V Con-Con is a VERY dangerous prospect, as there is no such thing as a LIMITED Con-Con. EVERY PHRASE in the Constitution would be open to alteration or elimination.
There’s nothing wrong with the Constitution as written. We need a government that will FOLLOW IT TO THE LETTER. Unfortunately, it may take a very bloody revolution for that to happen.

Bill
5 years ago
Reply to  David

David
Why do you say this. I don’t understand what is the information that makes you think how the amendments proposed would be dangerous.
We do have a government that follows the constitution but it’s the constitution that includes the changes made by the Supreme Court

David
5 years ago
Reply to  Bill

It’s not the amendments currently proposed per se, it’s the fact that the ENTIRE Constitution would be open to amendment. There is NO WAY within the scope of Article V to limit the items that could be amended.
Don’t think for one second that the liberals wouldn’t use this opportunity to attack the Second Amendment, as well as numerous other rights that stand in the way of their agenda to gain more control over the citizenry!
Just look up the list of people who support an Article V Con-Con and it’s obvious what would happen.

Bill
5 years ago
Reply to  David

David
What amendments are you referring to as currently proposed?
Any proposed amendments would have to come out of the convention and be germane to the subject that was in the application of the 34 states to congress.
Please explain what the facts are that make you think the entire constitution would be open to amendment.
And what exactly do you mean by the scaristic term con con?

Brent
5 years ago
Reply to  David

“EVERY PHRASE in the Constitution would be open to alteration or elimination”

That’s actually not true. And you don’t have to be an attorney to know that. All you have to do is look at all the various Article V groups out there and ask why there’s more than one. Or why has Congress never called a convention given that it has received literally hundreds of Article V applications over the course of our nation’s history?

The answer is obvious: Because a convention not only *can* be limited, it *must* be limited.

And here’s another question to ponder: If a convention was not required to limit its scope, but rather be allowed to do all this rewriting you talk about, then why is anyone voting against these resolutions?

They’re voting against because they know this convention would report out amendments that could be the death of their big govt agenda.

And when people sow seeds of fear that we shouldn’t call a convention, they are (unknowingly?) helping the big govt/far left.

David
5 years ago
Reply to  Bill

Something is wrong with the commenting system, I attempted to vote DOWN this comment, but it instead scored it as an upvote.

Robyn Campbell
5 years ago

A Convention of Staes is the only way to fix our country. And make no mistake about it, our country is headed for doom with the regulations, the debt, the congress and the president stealing the states powers. PLEASE sign the petition. http://www.conventionofstates.com/

v martin
5 years ago

Power definitely needs to be restored to the states instead of being usurped by the federal government. They are all drunk on power and will not reign themselves in because it is not in their best interest. We need a convention of states.

GaryRTN
5 years ago

In a letter to Edward Everett in 1830, James Madison provided further guidance on this point
by describing the Article V Convention of States to propose amendments as “the final resort
within the purview of the Constitution” for correcting usurpation’s and abuses of power by
the federal government. In their wisdom, the drafters of the Constitution provided us with a
remedy for abuses of federal power that are left unchecked by the federal judiciary. It is time
for us to apply that remedy by invoking Article V’s procedure to call for a Convention of the
States to propose amendments that will restore the original meaning of the Constitution.

Learn more, watch video’s and volunteer for this historic grassroots movement here:

GaryRTN
5 years ago

In a letter to Edward Everett in 1830, James Madison provided further guidance on this point
by describing the Article V Convention of States to propose amendments as “the final resort
within the purview of the Constitution” for correcting usurpation’s and abuses of power by
the federal government. In their wisdom, the drafters of the Constitution provided us with a
remedy for abuses of federal power that are left unchecked by the federal judiciary. It is time
for us to apply that remedy by invoking Article V’s procedure to call for a Convention of the
States to propose amendments that will restore the original meaning of the Constitution.

Learn more, watch video’s and volunteer for this historic grassroots movement here:
http://www.cosaction.com/?recr

Fredrick Yerrick
5 years ago

In 2007, Dan Weber had the courage to Stand up, Show up, and Speak up for Americans and he started AMAC. In 2009, Congressman Darrell Issa held a local townhall meeting in Vista, CA and over 3000 of us, “We the People” attended. We were told that the Affordable Care Act was coming. I joined AMAC immediately as Dan Weber presented my values and gave me a voice to Stand up, Show up, and Speak up. I became an AMAC Delegate in 2012 and began meeting with my Congressman Scott Peters. We have had townhall meetings and our members, Stand up, Show up, and Speak up. I joined Convention of States in 2014 as they presented my values and give me hope and grass roots actions to maintain the Freedoms I fought for defending our Country. My Constitutional Oath will be fulfilled as long as I live. Our Convention of States supporters meet reguarly with our California Assemblyman Brian Maienschein and we present our concerns for the future of the Republic. Please consider joining the Convention of States Project at conventionofstates.com and cosaction.com. We thank you and God Bless America!

Gettinrite
5 years ago

Folks, we all know that this nation is in trouble. The prospects for the future is troubling, for this generation and for generations to come. We have an unacceptable federal debt, there is serious power grabs in the federal courts, and we have escalating power of an irresponsible centralized government which is threatening the financial ruin of generations of Americans. This situation is precisely what the Founding Fathers feared, so they themselves gave us a solution in Article V of the U.S. Constitution. Under Article V, The Convention of States, which can only be convened after 34 States pass successful applications, would be limited to imposing fiscal restraints on the federal government, limiting the power of the federal government, and mandating term limits. And any proposed amendments only become part of the Constitution after they are ratified by 38 States, rendering the Runaway Convention very unrealistic. When 38 States agree on something, it’s not a runaway, it is a mandate. So please don’t just dismiss this idea because of what you hear or you think you know, Get Informed.. Please join us at conventionofstates.com and cosaction.com and get involved.

Ralph
5 years ago
Reply to  Gettinrite

Gettinrite, I would seriously like to know if you are a repub or dumacrat? Just curious. Not slamming your comment or you.

Mike Codding
5 years ago
Reply to  Gettinrite

Yes, exactly what is needed! Specific limits and controls can be discussed at the convention, great idea.

c ragan
5 years ago

Anne,

The movement says,
My way! Accept it! There is no other way, but my way, until no more. And I would say Sodom and Gomorrah, until no more.

diane holzapfel
5 years ago
Reply to  c ragan

no it is a Constitutional RIGHT for the States to be able to Amend

Russ Mohr
5 years ago

Our forefathers did not create a universal country run by a federal government but a republic of states unifed only for border protection, common currancy and global trade. The states voted independantly for there delegates to send to Washington to represent them, individual states determined what they would pay their own representatives and how they would vote in Congess. The power was controled by the staes not the federal government. Incidentaly only the states had the power to tax not the federal government, there was no IRS.

Doug
5 years ago

A great topic for discussion. We the People no longer has representation by the governing entity that is currently running this country. Bought and paid for politicians, are not representatives. King Barack says he knows what Americans want, and proceeds to tell us what that is. I have never once been asked for my opinion of anything concerning America, or its government. I get to pay taxes, and vote. If the Constitution, and the Rule of Law, can be shifted like sand, we can all pee in the same bathroom now. Yippie. We pretend to be so smart, but act so stupid. With all our technology, and forms of communication, why can we not establish a national clearing house of adult, common sense ideas, and have some legitimate input about what is going on. We the People should be able to represent itself online. If America wants to get it together, It should demand of these people we elect, some leadership. As Picard would say they could “make it so”. If we had referendums to vote on, we might be able to live with some of the changes. Or we can continue to watch TV, suck up media propaganda, and be easily lead like blind mice. There, I feel better now. Just saying. God bless America.

WBC
5 years ago

Excellent article Mr. Meltzer. We have become an oligarchy rather than a free republic. Sadly, Congress abdicated their power and responsibility over to bureaucrats many years ago. I remember back during the Supreme Court hearings for Clarence Thomas, Dopey Joe was a senator at the time. He was questioning Clarence Thomas. He said, and I paraphrase, You understand, don’t you, Mr. Thomas that Congress writes laws that create agencies and then lets those agencies write their own regulations. Then he went on to question Mr. Thomas about how he would rule on such regulations. So therein lies our problem today. As you stated in this article, Congress willingly created the oligarchy we live under today. It’s gone on so long now, I’m doubtful if we can go back without another revolution.

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