“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” (Federalist No. 45)
Whether it be the instigation of the Federal bank, or the proposition of Obama Care, the federal government has had a prevalent hand in the lives of the states. With powers that were once limited to a mere 17; these powers have now expanded to “printing money, creating programs, enacting bills procured by the president…”(TheOhioHouseofRepresentatives) and much more. Not only does this signify that the federal government is willing to forgo the outline of both the Constitution as well as the bill of rights – but it also leaves one to wonder whether or not our individual rights are safe either.
The Founding Fathers had established this country with a firm desire to flee the tyrannical forces of Great Britain. Giving up “their lives, fortunes, and…sacred honor”, these individuals achieved freedom, and set up a republic that they hoped would never have to worry about the usurpation of rights. They recognized that the only way to achieve that was by leaving the power to the states. James Madison once stated that, “The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.” It was also James Madison that recommended a Bill of Rights. In it, the tenth amendment states that, “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 to the people.” Was the instigation of a minimum wage ever mentioned in the Constitution? Was the New Deal, Social Security, or food stamps ever sanctioned within the realms of our Constitution?
Not only does the overstepping of Federal bounds threaten our liberty, but our monetary structure as well. When the founding Fathers had rebelled against Great Britain, the tax level was 1-2% and only for a few select products. In a study on federal taxes in 2014, the tax paid to the federal government alone – not including state taxes – by the average American is about 25 – 34% (alibertarianfuture.com). In comparison to the lives we live under the Federal Government today – at least in financial terms – a tyranny under King George III looks to be a paradise.
The purpose of State Government is, as WhiteHouse.gov points out, to provide the citizens with more contact and interaction with their government officials; and thus, more power. “Each state has its own written Constitution, and these documents are often far more elaborate than their federal counterpart.” By allowing the individuals on a more local level decide their policies based on the situation of their state is necessary. By allowing the individual more of a voice in what is and isn’t passed in their local towns would be following the wishes of our predecessors, who gave everything to ensure that we, the people had a voice. In contrast, how could a Government on a national level – who doesn’t know the policies of each and every state, who only views the citizens as nothing more than a conglomeration of names without faces – provide policies that will allow our state to continue to thrive and prosper?
Of course, it’s not that the Founding Fathers didn’t support a Federal Government; the Virginia Resolution is a phenomenal example of that fact. Clearly displaying their delight to be a part of the United States, they expressed every desire to defend it. It was only when the Federal government was acting against the checks and balances set, that the Virginians felt that, “it is their duty to watch over and oppose every infraction of those principles which constitute the only basis of that Union, because a faithful observance of them, can alone secure its existence and the public happiness.” For them, it wasn’t an argument of whether or not they would fight against a corrupt government; and it shouldn’t be a question now.
The point isn’t to get rid of our Federal Government; it is still a necessary part of this country. James Madison himself professed that, “Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses.” However, the problem arises when the Federal government oversteps the bounds of its authority, begins to infringe on the rights of the states, and thus, begins to encroach on our own rights as well. The Constitution forgotten, the 10th amendment bypassed, policies are being passed more and more frequently, while our liberties continually diminish. The question is, how long are we willing to idly sit by?