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USA Ruled By Kings?

ttwtt78640

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Looking at the micro problem (to much bureaucratic power) instead of the macro problem (too much federal power) is the true constitutional crisis. Not one word in the US Constitution makes medical care insurance/funding or educational control/funding a federal government power.

What has happened is that anything deemed 'important' can easily and instantly become a (new?) federal power so long as the SCOTUS prevents anyone from taking it away. The powers to regulate commerce and to tax have become a blanket protection for basically anything congress desires to make into a federal matter (new power).
 

lwf

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Looking at the micro problem (to much bureaucratic power) instead of the macro problem (too much federal power) is the true constitutional crisis. Not one word in the US Constitution makes medical care insurance/funding or educational control/funding a federal government power.

What has happened is that anything deemed 'important' can easily and instantly become a (new?) federal power so long as the SCOTUS prevents anyone from taking it away. The powers to regulate commerce and to tax have become a blanket protection for basically anything congress desires to make into a federal matter (new power).

But if the people who run the government are elected, then isn't that increased power still concentrated in the voting public? No matter how powerful the government becomes, elections ensure that power remains in the hands of the voters. A government with too little power allows said power to become concentrated in the hands of groups who are not answerable to the voters. I tend to see the increased responsibility of the federal government over the lives of American citizens to be an acknowledgement of the power that we all possess and as an attempt to wield it fairly and justly, rather than to enrich a power-hungry minority.

Obviously, voters aren't perfect and can make bad decisions that adversely affect society. But the election process ensures that we can learn from those bad decisions and collectively repeal the bad laws and strengthen the good ones. This doesn't mean that we shouldn't make laws, it means that we should adjust them appropriately in the public interest. I think a system that prevents mistakes by disempowering the people to regulate each other is doomed to failure. A system that allows us to make terrible laws and then learn from and correct our mistakes is the best we can hope for.
 

ttwtt78640

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But if the people who run the government are elected, then isn't that increased power still concentrated in the voting public? No matter how powerful the government becomes, elections ensure that power remains in the hands of the voters. A government with too little power allows said power to become concentrated in the hands of groups who are not answerable to the voters. I tend to see the increased responsibility of the federal government over the lives of American citizens to be an acknowledgement of the power that we all possess and as an attempt to wield it fairly and justly, rather than to enrich a power-hungry minority.

Obviously, voters aren't perfect and can make bad decisions that adversely affect society. But the election process ensures that we can learn from those bad decisions and collectively repeal the bad laws and strengthen the good ones. This doesn't mean that we shouldn't make laws, it means that we should adjust them appropriately in the public interest. I think a system that prevents mistakes by disempowering the people to regulate each other is doomed to failure. A system that allows us to make terrible laws and then learn from and correct our mistakes is the best we can hope for.

How much power over a governing body of 535 law makers do you think being able to vote for (or against) at most 3 (and usually only one) of them in, any two year election cycle, gives you? Might the problem be in the hands of the 532 law makers over which you have absolutely no way of voting for (or against)?

I suggest that you read the Constitution - paying particular attention to the enumerated (listed) federal government powers and to the 10A. Where does providing (the general public) medical care insurance, retirement plans, housing assistance or education get mentioned?
 

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lwf

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How much power over a governing body of 535 law makers do you think being able to vote for (or against) at most 3 (and usually only one) of them in, any two year election cycle, gives you? Might the problem be in the hands of the 532 law makers over which you have absolutely no way of voting for (or against)?

I suggest that you read the Constitution - paying particular attention to the enumerated (listed) federal government powers and to the 10A. Where does providing (the general public) medical care insurance, retirement plans, housing assistance or education get mentioned?

Like most legal contracts, there is an elastic clause:

"To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."

Of course, this is the part that gets debated when new laws (amendments) are created that weren't conceived of when the Constitution was written. Obviously an elastic clause is a necessity. Without it, we would be stuck operating under an obsolete 230 year old legal document. Perhaps a new amendment is in order to allow the use of tax dollars to provide for medical care? Perhaps others too?

We can debate whether we the people should provide those things. I don't think we can debate whether we have the power to.
 

ttwtt78640

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Like most legal contracts, there is an elastic clause:

"To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."

Of course, this is the part that gets debated when new laws (amendments) are created that weren't conceived of when the Constitution was written. Obviously an elastic clause is a necessity. Without it, we would be stuck operating under an obsolete 230 year old legal document. Perhaps a new amendment is in order to allow the use of tax dollars to provide for medical care? Perhaps others too?

We can debate whether we the people should provide those things. I don't think we can debate whether we have the power to.

Using the 'logic' that the 16A (the power to tax income from all sources) means that congress has the authority to levy additional taxation because one has not purchased a specific good/service (in this case, a federally approved medical care insurance plan) is a stretch well beyond any reasonable interpretation of necessary and proper.

What's next - an additional tax penalty for not owning a vehicle that gets over 20 mpg or not having solar panels on your roof?
 

lwf

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Using the 'logic' that the 16A (the power to tax income from all sources) means that congress has the authority to levy additional taxation because one has not purchased a specific good/service (in this case, a federally approved medical care insurance plan) is a stretch well beyond any reasonable interpretation of necessary and proper.

What's next - an additional tax penalty for not owning a vehicle that gets over 20 mpg or not having solar panels on your roof?

Congress does have the power to enact all of this. Citizens have the power to legally challenge it. The Supreme Court has the power to rule on it based on precedent. If we the people decide that it is a good idea, we can elect politicians who bring a bill before the legislature that will override any already established precedent.

Again, the power to do these things exists. The wisdom of doing these things is debatable. We the people decide which laws are wise and which are unwise. That's democracy.
 

ttwtt78640

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Congress does have the power to enact all of this. Citizens have the power to legally challenge it. The Supreme Court has the power to rule on it based on precedent. If we the people decide that it is a good idea, we can elect politicians who bring a bill before the legislature that will override any already established precedent.

Again, the power to do these things exists. The wisdom of doing these things is debatable. We the people decide which laws are wise and which are unwise. That's democracy.

Do you feel that there are no limits on federal government power other than the desire of elected representatives to take it?
 

Bullseye

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Looking at the micro problem (to much bureaucratic power) instead of the macro problem (too much federal power) is the true constitutional crisis. Not one word in the US Constitution makes medical care insurance/funding or educational control/funding a federal government power.

What has happened is that anything deemed 'important' can easily and instantly become a (new?) federal power so long as the SCOTUS prevents anyone from taking it away. The powers to regulate commerce and to tax have become a blanket protection for basically anything congress desires to make into a federal matter (new power).
But aren't "bureaucratic power" and "federal power" two sides of the same coin?
 

Bullseye

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But if the people who run the government are elected, then isn't that increased power still concentrated in the voting public? No matter how powerful the government becomes, elections ensure that power remains in the hands of the voters. A government with too little power allows said power to become concentrated in the hands of groups who are not answerable to the voters. I tend to see the increased responsibility of the federal government over the lives of American citizens to be an acknowledgement of the power that we all possess and as an attempt to wield it fairly and justly, rather than to enrich a power-hungry minority.

Obviously, voters aren't perfect and can make bad decisions that adversely affect society. But the election process ensures that we can learn from those bad decisions and collectively repeal the bad laws and strengthen the good ones. This doesn't mean that we shouldn't make laws, it means that we should adjust them appropriately in the public interest. I think a system that prevents mistakes by disempowering the people to regulate each other is doomed to failure. A system that allows us to make terrible laws and then learn from and correct our mistakes is the best we can hope for.
IF the elected people listened and responded to the needs of the voters you'd have a point. But they rarely do. What we've become is a "authoritarian democracy", e.g. we elect the candidates and THEY enact what THEY think we should want or need, or even just their own pet projects.
 

Bullseye

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Its more like the “landed gentry” who use their access to power and insider information to enrich themselves.
Not really. A landed gentry wouldn't set up a system that forces it to pay the lion's share of taxes, nor would they enacts hundreds of thousands of pages of regulations to restrict their actions and dealings.
 

ttwtt78640

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But aren't "bureaucratic power" and "federal power" two sides of the same coin?

Not to me, bureaucratic (unelected) power exists at nearly all levels of government.
 

lwf

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Do you feel that there are no limits on federal government power other than the desire of elected representatives to take it?

In the long run I believe there are, in fact, no limits on federal government power. The federal government can't seize my personal property tomorrow, but given enough time, motive, and resources, they could eventually legally seize my personal property without my permission.

I also believe there ought to be powers that the federal government should not assume. I don't believe the federal government ought to seize my personal property without my permission.

As long as we the people have the power to do anything, but require consensus, there are no kings.
 

lwf

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IF the elected people listened and responded to the needs of the voters you'd have a point. But they rarely do. What we've become is a "authoritarian democracy", e.g. we elect the candidates and THEY enact what THEY think we should want or need, or even just their own pet projects.

In that case, they wouldn't be reelected though, right? If an elected official ignored his or her constituents, wouldn't their political career effectively be over once their term is up?

It's not a fast system by any means, but it is self-correcting in the long term.
 

ttwtt78640

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In the long run I believe there are, in fact, no limits on federal government power. The federal government can't seize my personal property tomorrow, but given enough time, motive, and resources, they could eventually legally seize my personal property without my permission.

I also believe there ought to be powers that the federal government should not assume. I don't believe the federal government ought to seize my personal property without my permission.

As long as we the people have the power to do anything, but require consensus, there are no kings.

Really?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_forfeiture_in_the_United_States
 

Bullseye

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In that case, they wouldn't be reelected though, right? If an elected official ignored his or her constituents, wouldn't their political career effectively be over once their term is up?
No, not necessarily. He'll bring home a little bacon to keep the voters happy.
lwf said:
It's not a fast system by any means, but it is self-correcting in the long term.
Over the long term 90-95% of incumbents are reelected.
 
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