In the United States we have a federal system of government in which the governing responsibilities are divided between the Federal Government and state governments. Article 1 of our constitution creates the legislative branch of our Federal Government, describes how Congress should be created, describes the kinds of laws that Congress is prohibited from enacting, and explains the type of laws congress can enact. The types of laws Congress can enact are specified by what is normally called enumerated powers. Additionally, Congress can also make laws because of implied powers assumed by the “necessary and proper” clause of Article 1, section 8 of the Constitution.
Prohibited laws include keeping anyone imprisoned without being charged with a crime and the ability to punish someone for an action committed before a law against it was enacted. There are others.
Congress can levy taxes, borrow money, pay government debt, establish tariffs on imports and exports, create an army and navy, regulate commerce between nations and states and establish rules for naturalization.
Well, well, well. So, what happened? How did we get the Federal Government into our bathrooms?
When U.S Senators were appointed by state legislatures the states had more influence of laws passed in Washington, D.C. Members in the House of Representatives were given two year terms so that citizens they represented could change them, if they stopped fulfilling the wishes of the people. Today, every member in Congress has two jobs and only two jobs. Raising enough money to be re-elected and not letting anything change in Washington that could keep them from being re-elected.
What we have in fifty states is an opportunity to try laws, some with unwanted consequences. The rest of the states can take notice and not make the same mistakes. That is an efficient, smart system that allows minor changes without affecting the entire population of the country.
With the mass media we have and the advertising abilities of radio and television, the candidate with the most money, more often than not, wins the election. This means wealthy donors and corporations with deep pockets have tremendously more power than all the individual citizens combined. That means we have a government pleasing corporations and wealthy donors at the expense of the citizens. We are being left behind and no one in Washington cares.
A congressman from New York City can influence laws based on his big city experience that is detrimental to citizens in small cities around the country. The minimum wage is a good example. The cost of living is tremendously higher in Hollywood and New York City than it is in Deer Park, TX or Livingston, MT. States need to make laws that affect their state, cities need to make laws that affect their cities. Local governments need to make laws that affect their people. Local school districts need to make rules for their schools.
Housing and Urban Development and Washington lawyers are making housing decisions for every neighborhood in the country. Is this stupid or what?
We need a concerted effort to ease the Federal Government out of our lives. More to come.