My column for the West Bend Daily News is online. Here you go:
One of the more positive consequences of the presidential election of 2016 may be that we finally stop the flow of power to Washington and push it back toward the states and the people. There is cause for some optimism in that regard.
The last eight years have seen a massive consolidation of power into the executive branch of the federal government. President Barack Obama has usurped power from Congress, the states, the people and anyone else when it suited his purposes to advance his leftist ideology.
Obama unilaterally changed Obamacare several times by delaying the implentation dates and spending tax dollars for subsidies that were not authorized. He illegally made “recess” appointments to the National Labor Relations Board and other posts when the Senate was not actually in recess. Obama dictated to states what their schools’ bathroom policies should be. He essentially implemented the DREAM Act by executive fiat despite the fact that Congress has declined to pass that law.
The list of executive abuses by Obama is long and we will be trying to repair the damage for years. But while liberals cheered Obama’s abuses because they believe that the ends justified the means, their cheers are turning to shrieks as they are coming to the realization that President Donald Trump will soon wield the power that Obama consolidated into the Oval Office.
Perhaps the election of Trump on the heels of Obama’s presidency offers the opportunity to unite fearful liberals with constructionist conservatives to wrest power from the federal government and return it to the states and the people where it belongs. That was, after all, the intend of the Founders when they ratified the 10th Amendment, which states, “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 the people.”
Several of our founders opposed the 10th Amendment, and the Bill of Rights as a whole. They did so not because they disagreed with them, but because they thought they were unnecessary. As written, the Constitution rightly based all power in the people and then granted specific powers to the federal government to exercise on the people’s behalf. Since all powers not specifically delegated to the government in the Constitution were assumed to remain with the people, there was no need to reiterate that fact with superfluous amendments.
Unfortunately, the passage of time, indifference by the American people and the thirst for power of unscrupulous politicians has severely eroded the clear construction of the Constitution and the 10th Amendment has been largely ignored. Some folks are beginning to pay attention to the division of powers between our various levels of government and the people. One of the people seizing the vanguard is Wisconsin’s Gov. Scott Walker.
In a timely letter to presidentelect Trump, Gov. Walker asks for Trump to review all federal programs and mandates with an eye to restoring rights and responsibilities to the states and the people. Walker specifically highlights several areas in which the federal government is impeding Wisconsin’s ability to manage our affairs in the areas of welfare reform, dairy policy, air pollution, management of gray wolves, refugee resettlement and others. Walker’s letter is clear, however, that the items listed are not an inclusive list.
Walker forcefully lays claim to the rights of states to manage their affairs except for the few items delegated to the federal government in the Constitution. He writes, “too often states have become mere administrative provinces of an allpowerful federal government in Washington, which restrains growth and prosperity by forcing states to accept policies and priorities that do not meet the needs of taxpayers, and do not reflect the local needs, conditions, or values.”
Walker is right and everyone who is justifiably concerned about the amount of power that Washington has over our lives would be well served to follow his lead.