Del Tackett

by Del Tackett


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Taming the Federal Beast

Baseball is a game of rules. But it is also a game of balance. If the pitching mound were 20 feet from the plate and the bases were 150 feet apart, the offense would never score. Keeping the proper “balance” between the power of the offense and defense in any major sport is critical. If one side gets too powerful, the rules must be changed to get it back in balance.

This is exactly the kind of problem we now face in our nation. And it is a serious one. The balance of power, necessary for a healthy republic, has become dangerously lop-sided and it is imperative that we act immediately to correct it.

The Founders were quite sensitive to this “balance” of power and how necessary it was for the Republic's success. Most people naturally think of the balance of power between the Legislative, Executive and the Judicial branches. But, if you read the arguments of that day, especially those between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists, you will find at least two other balances of power they deemed critical for a healthy republic:

  • One was the balance of power between the Federal Government and the Constitution. This balance required that the three branches continue to abide by the limited power granted to them in the Constitution. The Constitution, on the other side of the scale, was “amendable” by the States so that the “rules” could be changed if the balance of power needed adjusting.
  • The other was the balance of power between the Federal Government and the States or the People. The States had formed the Federal Government under the Constitution and the Federal Government was therefore operating at the bequest of the States. That is why the States could amend the Constitution or, if they wanted, toss it. The People were vested with the power to elect those who held Federal authority. The great argument levied by the Federalists against the charge that the Federal Government would get out of control, was that it would be impossible, because the People would, so to speak, “throw the bums out” if they began to move beyond their contracted limits or toward tyranny.

These were the “balances” that the Founders perceived would keep the Federal Government in check. It was the single fear they all had. And, they believed they had put in place enough balances to prevent that from happening. But, even though I am constantly amazed by their wisdom, they had no way of thinking that it would ever get this out of kilter.

And out of kilter it is.

I had originally done an assessment of these “balances”, listing specific breeches within each, but it got to be so heavy and never-ending, it soon became overwhelming and depressing. So, instead, because you should have no problem thinking of a multitude of these breeches, let’s just sit back and summarize what has happened to these balances:

  1. The internal balance of powers is close to being a joke. Though the Constitution confines the making of law to the Legislative branch, the President issues more orders than Congress and the mass of federal agencies issue tons of regulations that carry the weight of law. The Judicial branch isn’t far behind. Congress is becoming increasingly irrelevant in the Federal bureaucracy, overshadowed by an immense and powerful Executive.
  2. There is an increasing defiance of the Constitution, its limits and rules. One wonders why it is even referenced anymore. Yesterday, the President thumbed his nose at the Constitution yet again, taking the Iran Treaty to the U.N. without Congressional approval. This is appalling. The Founders would have taken up arms at such blatant usurpation of power. Instead, we take up ear buds and Congress and the Constitution fade further away.
  3. There is virtually no balance at all between the States and the Federal Government. The States are losing every battle, from abortion issues to marriage issues to border issues; from education to health care to business; from land use to gun rights to privacy. The Constitution guarantees that each State is a Republic: each has a governor, a legislature, a capitol, a supreme court. But increasingly, the States are becoming irrelevant in a nation that is looking more and more like The Federation of North America than the United States.

Additionally, we are under an unimaginable debt of $127 trillion dollars in unfunded obligations. All of the wealth of all of the wealthy, if confiscated, wouldn’t even put a dent in that amount. It is unconscionable, yet the Federal Government continues to pile up more and more debt, with no regards to Constitutional bounds or budgetary laws. We are a Greece, waiting for one catastrophic event to topple it all.

And, the evidence is mounting that we are facing the very real possibility that the Federal Government will, with its unbridled power, soon severely curtail religious freedom in the wake of the recent Supreme Court ruling. Other freedoms have already dimmed and more are looking tenuous. 

We have before us an ominous Federal Beast that must be reigned in.

How do we do that?

(Continued tomorrow…)

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