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02.01.2009 0

Editorial: Circumventing States’ Rights

  • On: 02/02/2009 11:22:31
  • In: Federalism
  • Perhaps one of the most straightforward ways to inflate the size and authority of the federal government is to diminish that of the states—the 10th Amendment notwithstanding.

    As the $819 billion (Government) “stimulus” package marinates in Congress, a side campaign has been launched against the very states’ rights that were intended to keep an aggressive Federal Government at bay—and keep the Republic afloat. Now one particular individual is bearing the brunt of that assault.

    Ever since the madness geared up last fall, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (R) has maintained a stalwart, no-nonsense opposition to the culture of bailouts and “stimulus” packages—particularly federal bailouts for states, especially the Governor’s own South Carolina. As he wrote in a Wall Street Journal piece last November:

    “I find myself in a lonely position. While many states and local governments are lining up for a bailout from Congress, I went to Washington recently to oppose such bailouts. I may be the only governor to do so.”

    This hostility towards state bailouts is starting to infuriate certain members of Congress—particularly those who see Big Government and inebriated federal money dispersal as the end all and be all to every societal woe imaginable. For many of them, states’ rights—such as Governor Sanford’s right to reject a state bailout—are mere nuisance.

    One congressman is dealing with this nuisance by throwing down the Big Government gauntlet of One-Party authoritarian bullying.

    Trampling on the bedrock principle of constitutional federalism, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) is using the powers of the Federal Government in Washington to circumvent Mr. Sanford’s authority as Governor—all in an effort to force federal stimulus funds on South Carolina. According to South Carolina’s “The State” newspaper:

    “Just before the House passed President Obama’s $819 billion economic-stimulus bill Wednesday evening, Clyburn inserted an amendment empowering state legislative leaders to accept the special federal aid if the governor fails to act within 45 days of the measure’s enactment…

    “Clyburn made it clear his provision was aimed squarely at Sanford.”

    Mr. Clyburn’s actions constitute the proverbial “double-whammy”: Not only is one Representative—out of 435, of course—using the powers of Congress to revoke a state’s right to be fiscally accountable, but he is also exploiting those same powers to carry out a personal vendetta against an obvious political rival.

    Opening the door to let the federal government step into any state and start dictating policies is a dangerous precedent. Unfortunately, a lot of dangerous precedents have been set in recent weeks.

    The degree to which the current Democrat-controlled government in Washington has gone to further their Big Government agenda is appalling at best and unconstitutional at worst. Going far beyond the “enumerated powers” granted by Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, the politicians in the capitol have begun to drift into the dark and desolate waters of Big Government authoritarianism.

    Hopefully Governor Sanford and others of his ilk can anchor the nation in the unshakeable rock of constitutional limited government. But right now, the Ship of State is foundering badly, with many a loose cannon on a badly rolling deck.

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