Restoring the Tenth Amendment

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Shortly
after the American War for Independence, the independent sovereign
states decided to replace the Articles of Confederation with the
Constitution. Under the Constitution, the federal government was
much stronger than it was under the Articles of Confederation (ability
to tax, militia essentially under the control of Congress, regulating
trade, and a number of other powers). However, even though the federal
government assumed more powers under the Constitution, its powers
were still limited in scope and were listed within the document.
In Federalist 45 James Madison wrote that the powers delegated to
the federal government were, "few and defined." When the
Tenth Amendment was incorporated into the Constitution in 1791,
it would reiterate the fact that the federal government only has
the authority to assume the few powers delegated to it. The amendment
says, "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." Thomas Jefferson
would say, "The Tenth Amendment is the foundation of the Constitution."

Patrick Henry,
Thomas Jefferson, and many other political figures early in the
American Republic believed that the powers of government, especially
at the federal level, should be incredibly limited. This was because
they believed that the purpose of government was to protect the
life, liberty, and property of its citizens and nothing more. Compare
this philosophy to the political philosophies of almost all politicians
today and you have an incredible dichotomy. The current politician
believes that the role of government is to provide for your retirement,
healthcare, home loans, and a myriad of other things that are not
authorized by the Constitution. For quite some time there has been
only one politician in Washington who votes according to how Jefferson
and Madison intended the federal government to be. That politician
is Congressman Ron Paul. When Congressman Paul was asked in an interview
if he believed that the elastic clause gave the federal government
powers not enumerated in the Constitution, he responded by saying
that there is a way of granting the federal government powers that
it was not explicitly delegated, and that's by amending the Constitution.

Not since Republican
Congressman of Nebraska Howard Buffett, has a politician in Washington
adhered so strictly to the Tenth Amendment. Buffett voted to protect
liberty and laissez-faire capitalism, as well as advocating a noninterventionist
foreign policy. In a speech on the House floor during the 2nd
session of the 78th Congress he said, "Does anyone
here know of any more loose fiscal policy in a liberal government
than the United States is demonstrating to the world at the present
time? Can any Member here tell us how much money has been appropriated
during this session of Congress, how many hundreds of millions and
how many billions have been appropriated, and how many different
spending bills have been introduced and passed?" He goes on
to say, "How many warnings has this Congress had….the United
States is drifting toward financial disaster." Sadly, if Howard
Buffett, Thomas Jefferson, or James Madison were alive today the
mainstream media would probably label them eccentric, like how the
mainstream media often labels Ron Paul. If they were running for
President and were interviewed by the omniscient George Stephanopolous,
they would in all likelihood be told that they had no chance of
becoming President. George Stephanopolous may be right, but what
he seems to not understand is that the message of liberty and a
federal government of few and defined powers is a powerful message
and is resonating well with many. It may even be powerful enough
to get Ron Paul elected, and restore the Tenth Amendment.

July
12, 2007

Adam Robb
[send him mail] recently
graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in political
science.

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