I, Shaun Kruger now declare myself a full fleged political heretic. Why am I a heretic? Because I believe we should be using the Constitution as it was designed.
How many issues could be resolved if the congress stayed within its bounds?
I will suggest a list of things that the congress did not have authority to setup or do. In question is not whether or not they are good things. In question is whether or not the congress had authority.
For each of these I ask you to find an entry in Article I Section 8 of the constitution that grants the authority to the congress to make such a law or create such a department.
1. Department of education
I consider legislation like No Child Left Behind to be a mistake. However, that is beside the point. Dealing with education was not mentioned in the powers of congress.
2. War in Iraq
I heard congressmen Ron Paul of Texas speak a few years ago. He put forward and amendment to the Iraq war funding bill. This amendment would have made the bill a formal declaration of war in addition to being a budget allocation. It was voted down. Only the congress has authority to declare war. As such the president is acting outside of the bounds of the constitution.
Note: I have heard the argument that voting for funding was an implicit declaration of war. This is a very dangerous line of thinking. It's one that allows the president to attack another nation without holding the congress accountable for declaring said war.
3. Social security
I talked to Pete Ashdown on Saturday. He stated his disagreement with many constitutionalists about social programs. Presently they are not constitutional. Quite simply, the congress was not given authority to appropriate money for social/welfare programs.
4. FCC, FAA, and other regulatory bodies.
While regulatory bodies to have a place in the operation of our nation at this time I still do not believe that the congress had authority to create them. If a regulation is to be enforced as if it were law then it has to be voted on by the congress and enforced by the executive. There is not authority given to delegate the legislative power of creating law, or the executive power of enforcing law in the Constitution. Lets take for an example the FAA. The Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR's) are a body of regulations that are not directly voted on by the congress. These regulations still have requirements and penalties just as real as any law voted into existence by the congress. This means we now have laws that are created by people we did not vote into office. This removes all accountability. Are regulators afraid of not having a job next election cycle if people didn't like the regulations they came up with?
Remember, the problem with these four programs and bodies is that there is not authority granted to the federal government to handle things the way they are being handled. In talking to Pete on Saturday he suggested that the constitution wasn't able to cover all cases so a liberal interpretation is needed.
Mr. Ashdown, you are wrong. The constitution is designed to be able to meet any of these needs. As proof I submit to you Article V.
All four of these things I have mentioned can be made constitutional simply by through the amendment process. Granted, that does involve admitting that the congress had been acting unconstitutionally previously by voting them into existence. It also means they will have some changes to make if amendments don't pass. The congress can't just continue letting programs exist once they have admitted they needed constitutional support.
Pete's example that he used to support a liberal reading of the constitution was the existence of the Air Force. It was not listed in the original constitution because manned flight was still over 100 years away. However, the Airforce can be organized under the Army, the Navy, or an amendment to add a clause to Article I Section 8 can be put forward thus allowing it to be its own branch of the military.
Yes, the writers of the constitution knew that things would change. They knew it wouldn't cover everything. That is why they made it amendable.
This being said. I hope all the good democrats and good replublicans I know can forgive me for not supporting their entire platforms. I love my country and see bad things happening to it. My one wish is that every person who waves the flag would also read the constitution. Many of us will be having parties tomorrow, but how many will think about the great minds that produced the constitution and the sacrifices made to really become independent of the British?