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Question for Americans (Kebir Blue)

Simcountry: Simcountry Bulletin Board  Question for Americans (Kebir Blue)

Archangel1 (Golden Rainbow)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008 - 02:32 pm Click here to edit this post
No Angus, that is exactly the opposite of what the Founding Fathers wanted. It is almost universally thought that if the Founding Fathers could be consulted about the government today they would be completely appalled at the size, scope, and control over local affairs given the Federal government.

I can point out so much anecdotal evidence where Federal laws, regulations, etc do not make sense and indeed are harmful it is scary. However, I do not like to use anecdotal evidence, its is not reliable. Instead I will point out that the States in the US are very different from the states, provinces, territories, etc. in most other countries. In most other countries, those entities are and were primarily intended to be administrative sub blocks of the country's national governing body. In the US they were intended to be, and in many ways still are, separate sovereign entities. The only powers that a normally sovereign government would have that States do not are explicitely stated in the Constitution. This was both by design of the framers and by desire of the States. After the Civil War, the errosion of that sovereignity and accrual of power to the Federal level really, and unfortunately, sped up. And it continues to this day.

In some cases, this makes sense and at least some of those cases are those explicitely mentioned in the Constitution. But at what point does it not make sense? There are two main reasons for having States. The first is that diversity and competition are good things. This is not a new concept. The framers knew it and we have had to learn it over and over again. And second, in general, local people know best thier problems, wants, needs, desires, etc and would be best able to handle thier own affairs. The framers also knew this and thus tried to keep as much authority as possible with the States, and pretty explicitly too. When the Constitution states that all powers not enumerated as belonging to the Federal government belong to the States or the people, that pretty much indicates a huge prefence for State control and a desire to limit Federal powers. The intent of the framers to keep States fairly independent of Federal control and to retain vast power is very clear and has been eroded gradually ever since.

One great example of this we deal with every day in the workplace. OSHA is one of the least publicized and yet most powerful Federal agencies. They regulate, at a Federal level, pretty much anything and everything in the workplace. And all this power came from what was a very simple case. Basically, some fancy lawyer talk convinced a past Supreme Court to strech the Commerce Clause and things have never been the same since. The Commerce Clause is a clause in the Constitution that grants the Federal government the power to regulate interstate commerce. That makes sense and is a right and proper power for a national level governing body to hold. The problem came with the fancy lawyering. Basically, the Supreme Court held in a case that the Commerce Clause allowed the Federal government to regulate what happened in a local restaurant. Remember, this was a long time ago and the restaurant either grew its own or baught local supplies. It did not ship anything out. At no point did anything the restaurant use or produce cross any state lines. However, the Federal government wanted to tax that restaurant. The Supreme Court basically ruled the restaurant COULD ship goods across state lines and COULD purchase goods that were shipped across state lines and also because people traveling from other states COULD eat at the restaurant, well, then Federal law, specifically a tax, could be applied using the Commerce Clause. From that one ruling you can trace the growth of Federal control over local authority and the growth into OSHA and all the other Federal level oversight entities.

It just doesn't make sense. We have an 8 hour work day mandated by Federal law. Why? In Alaska does it make sense? Or Florida? Why can't most workers have a choice like teachers? In some states, teachers recieve a salary year round, even in summer. In others, teachers are only paid 9 months out of the year. I mention Florida and Alaska because of their extreme differences based on location. Why shouldn't a work day at the height of summer in Alaska not be 14 hours but only a few hours in the depth of winter? Why shouldn't Florida have a year round 8 hour work day? They sort of can do that, but it all has to have the tacit approval of the Federal government.

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