Friday, October 14, 2011

This is a republic - right?

Thank goodness we do not have a democracy which is akin to mob rule. Rather the founding fathers decided upon a republic where the power is vested in the states with the power of the federal government limited. Section 8 of the Constitution enumerates the powers of the congress. These are:
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, dock-Yards, 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.

The interpretation of the exercise (or abuse) of these powers has been one of the main tasks of the Supreme Court. However, one thing is clear. The states should be the laboratory where social policy is conducted and not at the Federal level. Therefore, I have no problem with Mitt Romney signing Romney care in Massachusetts, Romney defends his actions saying that any veto of the bill would have been overridden by the legislature. So he attempted to craft a less onerous bill. I have no problem with Rick Perry and the waiver of out of state tuition for illegals in Texas. As Perry points out, in state tuition is not waived. Since Texas is a no income tax state and is sales tax driven, illegals are paying for government just like legal residents through consumption. For me, the argument is that we are a republic and the states are free to craft policies and programs that may work for them. If they don't work then they can be re-crafted or repealed. Regardless, these are state specific. Therefore, I would expect Romney to say that Romney care is Massachusetts specific and no plan should be imposed on other states without their endorsement. The same is true with tuition waiver or with state immigration laws for that matter. If Arizona, Alabama and Georgia want to right state specific laws, then let them if they are constitutional. The same is true for health care and tuition waivers. Condemning Rick Perry on tuition or Mitt Romney on healthcare makes no sense unless they favor implementing those policies nationwide. Then condemn away!

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