Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Oppose federal taxation and funding for local governments

"I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground that 'all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people.' To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, not longer susceptible of any definition." -- Thomas Jefferson, 1791.

Clearly, Thomas Jefferson supported the 10th-Amendment concept of a strictly limited federal government with most governmental powers retained by the States and the people.

The Constitution gives the central government no authority or responsibility in the areas of education, most police functions, recreation, health care, and many other activities now affected by the arrogant central planners in Congress and the Whitehouse. This is interesting because the nation's founders valued all these issues highly -- perhaps more than we do today. The fact that they chose to keep these issues out of the reach of the central government should speak volumes to all who consider these subjects.

Local and state governments, including school boards, city councils, and county commissions are in deep financial crisis. Why? Because they've grown accustomed to boundless "free" federal money with only a "few" strings attached. Consequently, local and State governments have grown to a size that is unsustainable and have taken on projects that they cannot afford to maintain. These unsustainable projects include "alternative" energy projects, local parks and aquatics centers that would nearly make Disney envious, military armored vehicles for local police forces, and public buildings designed not for utility, but for commemorating government largess and to accommodate runaway government bloat.

I was outraged to learn yesterday that Congress passed, and the president signed an "emergency" $26 billion jobs bill that claims to protect 300,000 teachers, police and others from election-year layoffs -- union jobs -- at a cost of nearly $87,000 per job while the rest of us are struggling to pay our own bills and taxes. By doing so, Congress and the President overruled the elected officials closest to, and most accountable to, the people -- our local school boards, city councils, and county commissions. And, Congress and the President did this with absolutely no Constitutional power whatsoever!

All this bill really does is continue to buy the union vote at taxpayer expense. For example, one estimate is that the NEA (National Education Association) and AFT (American Federation of Teachers) have at least $24 million in dues at stake -- $24 million in union dues revenue. This bailout bill is not about our children's education -- it is about keeping money flowing into the union! The same applies to the other unionized government jobs this bill "saves." (BTW, I am an active union member myself.)

I suppose that the minority of congressmen who voted against this bill feel they are blameless since they voted "no." However, because most did not fight this bill with all the political capital they could muster, I hold them just as culpable as those who voted for it. You see, every congressman has a sworn duty to " and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same...." Once again, virtually every congressman failed to live up to his oath of office!

This unconstitutional federal interference with, and usurpation of, local government authority and responsibility is inexcusable and must stop!

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