Commentary: States regain sovereignty with new legislation

Spinnaker

The U.S. Senate and Congress recently passed some of the largest spending bills in history – the latest being the Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009, which passed Feb. 13.

Former President George Bush authored the initial bailout of the banking system under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. President Barack Obama has signaled his intention to double down on the TARP spending while infusing more than a trillion dollars into local pork projects and selected tax cuts.

These federal government interventions into local, state and private corporations have cost taxpayers more than $3.5 trillion.

But does the federal government have a right to exert this amount of influence over these sectors of the economy?

According to eight state legislatures, the answer is a resounding no.

These state legislatures are making the case that the federal government’s recent legislation is in direct violation of the Ninth and 10th Amendments, which provide citizens and states legal grounds for recourse when the federal government oversteps its rights.

These legislatures aren’t the only ones considering this type of sovereignty bill, as 20 more states are considering similar legislation, including Colorado, California, Maine, Nevada and Pennsylvania.

“Congress is completely out of line spending trillions of dollars over the last 10 years putting the nation into a debt crisis like we’ve never seen before,” said Randy Brogdon, a Republican state senator, who stated to the World Daily News the Obama stimulus plan was the last straw.

The state legislatures debating the sovereignty bills correctly identify a need to roll back federal authority to those specifically enumerated in the Constitution.

The most disturbing abuse by the federal government is the use of “unfunded mandates” that have infiltrated and multiplied among all areas under current federal jurisdiction. These bills provide regulations and guidelines – usually with a hefty price tag – that local residents have little to no say about, while having to pay all costs associated with the new policy.

The federal government has treated the 10th Amendment as a mere formality for quite some time. If Congress were to take the amendment seriously, it would have to repeal nearly three-fourths of all laws on the federal books.

But Congress and the Senate usually find “legal ground” for legislation based on the vague and open wording of the phrase “to promote the general welfare.”

If the federal government was to have unlimited authority to legislate everything from cradle to grave, why did the Founding Fathers painstakingly identify only a select list of items they could control?

E-mail James Cannon II at [email protected]