The county platform states that “We applaud Republican efforts to return authority from the Federal
government to the citizens and to our local governments.” I was listening to Rob Bishop speak today at USU and he stated that he wanted to lose power by returning power back to the states. I must say that I completely agree.
To properly understand federalism we must go back to when the Constitution was written. There was a central government set up but it was very weak under the Articles of Confederation. The government didn’t have power to do anything and it showed. Something had to be done to keep the momentum gained from the Revolution to unite the states to a common government.
Due to a miracle the Constitution was formed. It was a union of the states in which the states still held most of the power. The federal government was created to do a limited number of things that the states could not do individually. To ensure that the federal government did not absorb to much power very specific roles were given to it and soon after the 10th amendment made sure that it kept to those roles. It states that ‘”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.”
Unfortunately the lines have become blurred and rationalizations were used to create massive federal programs. For example, the federal interstate program was created to help move troops. It has now turned into a massive program by which the federal government controls the states. Do what we want or you won’t get your road money.
So many of these programs have been created that many people look to the federal government instead of their local or state government or even themselves to solve current problems.
Many feel that the “General welfare” clause gives the federal government unlimited power to do whatever they want. It states -
“The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;”
Unfortunately the meaning of the word welfare has changed. According to the American Heritage Dictionary the word means
welfare n. 1. health, happiness, or prosperity; well-being. [<ME wel faren, to fare well]
If it is the case that the founders meant this clause to allow for unlimited federal government what is the purpose of the 10th Amendment?