Friday, April 02, 2010

The Simplest Guide to what the US Government can do that You will Ever Find

More Americans are aware of the huge problems facing are republic than at any time in recent decades. Our unemployment is approaching Great Depression levels, our deficits are growing annually at a rate similar to what our entire national debt was just a few decades ago, and the government is pumping dollars into our money supply in the trillions of dollars, putting us on pace for hyperinflation. Everyone seems to be aware of what is wrong, but are unaware as to why and, more importantly, how to fix it. That is why I developed this simple guide.

There is nothing original in this article. In fact, that is what makes it unique. It goes back to the original source, which is the US Constitution, to guide us back to where we belong. There is an old saying, "if you lose something, go back to the place where you last remembered having it." We have lost our liberty and the place we can find it is in the US Constitution. Every member of Congress swears to defend the US Constitution and to fulfill the powers listed in it. What are those powers? How many are there? The answer to those questions will surprise most Americans today.

Seventeen powers. That is all. None of them are particularly sexy and combined would cost a fraction of what we pay today. If they only did these functions, taxes (which obstruct job creation) would be much lower, the dollar would be much stronger (since we would not need "funny money" to fund excess government), and we would simply be more free. Here are those simple items:

"The Congress shall have power To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;"

"To borrow money on the credit of the United States;"

"To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;"

"To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;"

"To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;"

"To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;"

"To establish post offices and post roads;"

"To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;"

"To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;"

"To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;"

"To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;"

"To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;"

"To provide and maintain a navy;"

"To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;"

"To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;"

"To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;"

"To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles "square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;-And"

"To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof."

Over the years that last clause ("necessary and proper") has become a license to do virtually everything. This is wrong, because the clause makes it clear that it applies only to the "foregoing powers" (the seventeen items listed above. Some of the Founding Fathers feared that this could lead to an abuse of power, which led to the first ten amendments being added to guarantee our rights, including the 10th Amendment, which states "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."

Stop arguing with friends, family, loved ones, neighbors, and even idiots. Tell them their elected officials are breaking the law and have them read this simple document which will give them the tools they need to determine whether or not a policy is proper and whether or not their member of Congress should change careers.

Kevin Price is a syndicated columnist whose articles frequently appear at ChicagoSunTimes.com, Reuters.com, USAToday.com, and other national media. Kevin Price is also host of the Price of Business (M-F at 11 AM on CNN radio). Hear the show live and online at PriceofBusiness.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.

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