01.01.2009 0

California, There You Go

  • On: 01/28/2009 10:20:58
  • In: Federalism
  • The all-knowing politicians in Sacramento, CA, have decided that they should dictate their own onerous auto emission standards. President Barack Obama has ordered his Environmental Protection Agency underlings to let them do so. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) is adamantly opposed. And Mr. Boehner needs to reconsider his position.

    In the first place, the current restriction on states setting their own standards is a clear violation of the Enumerated Powers clause of the U.S. Constitution. According to the 10th Amendment, “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.”

    Nowhere in the Constitution does it delegate to Congress the authority to set emission standards. Hence, like it or not, California has the right to impose stricter controls.

    Mr. Boehner and his adherents argue that if California is allowed to set its own standards, automakers would be forced to build special cars for that state only (and any other state that follows California’s headstrong lead). And that brings up to the second reason Mr. Boehner should reconsider his position.

    In the news release announcing his opposition, Mr. Boehner states, “Millions of American jobs will be placed in further jeopardy if automakers are forced to spend billions to comply with potentially dozens of different emissions standards in dozens of different states.” While the Congressman’s compassion is doubtless well-intentioned, that’s a pretty big “if.”

    The fact is, automakers at home and abroad have another, very real alternative to spending billions of dollars following California’s emission control dictates: They can tell the politicians in California to take a hike. Literally. If California’s myopic politicos decide they are too pure of heart to drive the same cars good, decent Americans in the other 49 states are tooling around in, they can get out and walk. And leave the driving to us.

    Recently, ALG News featured an article on the remarkable out-migration California is enduring, as nearly 150,000 citizens left the Golden State last year alone. This, despite California’s beautiful beaches, bounteous mountains, abundant sunshine, and breathtaking climate. So, why are its people leaving? In a word: oppression. In three words: taxes, rules, and regulations. There is something in the heart that yearns to breathe free – even if the air is not always pristine.

    So, with all due respect, Mr. Boehner is wrong on this one. States rights trump auto sales. And perhaps allowing California’s Green-eyed politicians to take their oppressive instincts to their ruinous extreme is one sure way to eventually help put the good people of California back in the driver’s seat.


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