Barak Obama may be paying lip service to the will of the voters after the resounding vote of no confidence in the November elections. But his bureaucracy either isn’t listening or they just don’t care what the voters want.
Last November the voters in Utah, South Carolina, South Dakota and Arizona overwhelmingly approved amendments to their state constitutions that in effect guaranty workers the right to a secret ballot for union organizing elections. Arguably these measures were intended to nullify the proposed federal Card-Check law, deceptively named the Employee Free Choice Act which would remove that guaranty.
In no uncertain terms, voters told the Federal Government that they preferred to make their own decisions with respect to activity within their own states. These votes were not even close (sources SC, UT, SD, AZ):
South Carolina 86%
But democracy and federalism be damned, the National Labor Relations Board informed the states’ Attorneys General that they plan to sue the states to force them to submit to federal labor laws. General Counsel Lafe Solomon argues that the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause means that the federal labor law overrides state constitutions. The Supremacy Clause may mean that legitimate federal law overrides state law. However, that applies only to legitimate federal law.
The authority to interfere in business agreements among consenting adults is not found in the enumerated powers that the U.S Constitution designates as the only powers allowed the Federal Government. Proponents of broad federal regulation of business resort to tortured interpretations of the commerce and welfare clauses to justify the power of the Federal Government to do just about anything. Of course this is the opposite of the Federal System of limited central government on which the U.S. Constitution is based.
In this case the Federal Government rushes to grant special privileges to labor unions who have faithfully supported big government in return for these special privileges. I’m not against any group of workers’ right to organize. But granting them any special legal privileges empowers special interests at the expense of the regular people. It’s corruption pure and simple.
It’s these payoffs to special interests whether it’s the military-industrial complex, big-pharma, the trial lawyers, the teacher’s union, college students, toxic mortgage holders, and many others, that have brought the country near bankruptcy. The only way to stop it is to create meaningful competition among governments. That is, make it easier to change jurisdictions, including tax jurisdictions. It’s a lot easier to move to another town or another state than it is to move to another country.
I’m not suggesting that all the states are better than the Feds – some are much worse. But currently most of the power and tax revenues accrue to the centralized Federal Government. That defeats the free market competition among governments that the founding fathers intended as a protection of federalism. Rapacious governments at all levels look for ways to pay for their extravagant payoffs to special interests . Real competition among tax jurisdictions is the only way to keep in check the politicians and the special interests they serve. That means much less power and much lower taxes at the federal level. The states can then make taxing and spending decisions that are more in line with their voters’ preferences.
That would be a step in the right direction. It isn’t the ultimate goal. While the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects State sovereignty – morally sovereignty resides in the individual. Recognizing that a human being is not morally born the subject of any other human being or group is the first step in creating a society where every human being is free to fulfill his/her full potential free of force and coercion by self-serving special interests . Reducing the power of the Federal Government is just a first step toward improving the human condition. That means putting the Federal Government back into its constitutionally defined box. That’s what the nullification movement and the Tenth Amendment movement are about.
As the Federal Government continues to expand its control over every aspect of our lives and businesses challenges to federal regulation of health care, gun rights, drug laws and a dozen or so other topics have mounted.
The fundamental issue is whether the Federal Government and specifically the Supreme Court, is the only entity that can judge the constitutional legitimacy of Federal Law. The people who wrote the Constitution didn’t intend it that way (see my blog here).
The legal constitutional argument is one thing – the Federal Government should obey the law as defined by the Constitution. But how should the Federal Government react when the will of a few hundred corrupt politicians and bureaucrats in Washington D.C. – people who are dependent on union political contributions – run roughshod over the will of hundreds of thousands of voters. This is now more the norm than the exception. The Federal Government acted against the will of the voters on the bailouts, health care, the wars and REAL ID. Bills are almost never read by the legislators who force them on us and most of the rules we are told to live by are made by appointed bureaucrats with no constitutional authority at all. To add insult to injury the political class isn’t subject to its own laws, for example they have different health care, different retirement benefits, and special parking privileges.
We could wait until it’s too late. We could wait for a future in which many states and perhaps the Federal Government declare bankruptcy, the dollar and the economy go into freefall, only the political class can afford health care and we have new wars to take the public’s mind off the failure of government. That’s exactly the path the Federal Government has us on now.
The alternative, the more civilized path, is to respect the will of the people as expressed by their state and local political institutions and by the individuals themselves. Maybe that should be in the Constitution. Hey – guess what – it is!
BTW – Rick Montes of the Tenth Amendment Center will speak at the Manhattan Libertarian Party Monthly Meeting on March 14, 2010. More info here.