Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Sovereignty of the State

Most of us who took civics class understand that the governments power to make laws regarding banks and, well, anything that has to do with commerce in general from jobs to regulations to bailouts falls under the Federal Governments power from the Commerce Clause (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3) in the Constitution. It gives the government power "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;"

Since the time of John Marshall, the Supreme Court has continually backed the power of the Federal Government to do such activities that are being done today.

This site lists and links to some land mark cases which back up that claim.

Pretty much anything that has to do with commerce is and has been the domain of the Federal Government. The Supreme Court has upheld more and more power under this clause for many years. It is constitutional.

yet, many states including Texas and Oklahoma want to declare themselves Sovereign over the Federal Government. This is not new, its happened before, you remember the Civil War right? But the fact is that time and time again the states "right" to remain sovereign and separate from the federal government has been struck down. Jefferson was a grand states rights advocate, but he was continually dogged in the supreme court over this issue. Continually the largely Federalist Supreme Court held the power of the Federal Government over the states in matters of commerce. Such things like descrimination of pay based on race and sex were also deemed states rights until they got to the Supreme Court.

But I have an idea. Instead of arguing with some of these ridiculously far right states who are basically throwing a hissy fit because their party is not in power now, we should give them what they want. Let the Federal Government say "you are right, you are sovereign, now chose if you want federal money or not, yes or no". And make it a whole deal package. Either you want our help or you don't.

That would include but is not limited too:

Assistance for unemployment insurance
Assistance for medicare and medicaid
Disaster relief funding
Road and Bridge construction money
Federal IRS buildings including employees and city taxes paid
Education assistance for schools
Pell Grants and Student Loans for state colleges
Federal dollars for the national guard controlled by the states
Federal money for prisons and prison rehabilitation
Federal loans for small business's
Federal grants to cities for important projects
Federal grants to states for projects

These are just a few areas in which, according to the definitions and reasons given by republicans in these "sovereign" states, that they would no longer get funding for. After all, funding for disaster clean up isn't in the constitution according to them either. Texas and Louisiana are particularly big recipients of disaster money. Oklahoma as well during tornado season.

But, if they don't want federal money, then don't give them any. And on a side note, lets not include their unemployment rates in with the federal ones either, after all, if they get no federal money due to their own choice, then its their problem, not the feds.

What they are doing now is nothing more than posturing and hypocrisy at its worst. If they really cared about federal spending, most states could stop all federal dollars coming to their state in all the above areas. Sure, it would put people out of work, but hey, at least they would have no government "interference". They could just do it all on their own without government help at all. Manage and pay for their entire medicaid and medicare programs and unemployment insurance programs instead of taking anything to help make sure people are covered. They could have no part of the "federal governments" welfare program or SS programs, put those people out of work, and watch poverty soar and the elderly get kicked to the street. Unless they want to pay for it themselves. But that would require big tax increases, which is also bad.

The option is clear, so stop dicking around Texas and Oklahoma. Either put your money where your mouth is and reject all Federal money of any kind, or shut up and stop posturing and using PEOPLE as a shill to run for reelection. These are peoples lives we are talking about. Either put up or shut up, but stop trying to hold it over the President head.

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