What separates our Republic and all Republic’s that have come before it is this very singularly important distinction. Enumerated Powers
Here is an excellent interpretation by Kevin Price from his article titled: “What are "enumerated powers" and why do they matter?”
"Enumerated powers" have an academic sound to them. It sounds like something you would read about in a history book. Simply put, enumerated powers are those powers specifically delegated to the Congress by the US Constitution. By the way, they are still there.
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution lists the seventeen powers specifically enumerated to the Constitution. All of these things are important and the government's function in these areas was supposed to be strong, in order to protect the liberties of every American. Some of the things delegated to Congress include standard weights and measures, coining money, post offices and post roads, the protection of intellectual property, and a national defense. Beyond these and a few other very specific items, there was not much for which the federal government was responsible.
So how did new medicines get regulated? How would certain industries be licensed? What about the many other things done today by the federal government, who would do them? Those powers not enumerated to Congress were left to others, as seen in the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution: "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." That word, reserved, speaks of exclusivity. This was not a preferential view of public policy ("it would be better if the states and people took care of these things"), but a mandate (if it is not listed in the US Constitution, it is for the states and the people). The vast majority of regulations that exist in states came into place from states watching the works of one another. With the many states, our country had a vibrant laboratory with new ideas being brought to the surface and each state emulated those laws that worked best.
The ideas behind this system are both simple and profound. The state governments had virtually unlimited powers, but limited amounts of money. It could not "print money" to fund its programs, because only the federal government had the power to do such. On the other hand, the federal government only had 17 enumerated powers and it had no reason to use inflation as a vehicle to fund its programs. This contributed to the value of the US dollar remaining steady from the era of the founding until the early part of the 20th century (during the New Deal we began to devalue our currency to pay for "extra Constitutional" or unconstitutional government programs).
The Founders of this republic believed in the dispersion of power. They did such in order to maximize individual freedom and to protect the power of the states. This unique system helped to limit the amount of money taxpayers spent on programs they disagreed with because on the federal level, all the enumerated powers were beneficial to all. Meanwhile, people had the power and freedom to move from state to state in order to find a government that best suited their needs. That power to "vote with their feet" kept most state government very small.”
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution is widely cited as being an exhaustive list of Congressional power. But, in reality, there are a total of thirty (up to 35, depending on how they’re counted) Congressional powers that are listed throughout the document. Find them here:
There is a difference of opinion in the political arena on whether current interpretation of enumerated powers as exercised by Congress is constitutionally sound.
"This government is acknowledged by all, to be one of enumerated powers. The principle, that it can exercise only the powers granted to it, would seem too apparent, to have required to be enforced by all those arguments, which its enlightened friends, while it was depending before the people, found it necessary to urge; that principle is now universally admitted.
Another school of thought is referred to as loose construction. They often reference additional comments by Justice Marshall from the same case:
"We admit, as all must admit, that the powers of the Government are limited, and that its limits are not to be transcended. But we think the sound construction of the Constitution must allow to the national legislature that discretion with respect to the means by which the powers it confers are to be carried into execution which will enable that body to perform the high duties assigned to it in the manner most beneficial to the people. Let the end be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the Constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited, but consistent with the letter and spirit of the Constitution, are constitutional," wrote Marshall.
Why is a more strict adherence to the intent and measure of Enumerated Powers as defined by the “Federalist Papers” so important? It is what the Greek and Roman Republics did not have to protect them from the tyranny that befell both their Republican forms of government and ended them. Without “Defined Limits” to control one branch of government such as the “Executive” branch, they were destroyed by appointed “Caesar's” that succumbed to the axiom “Absolute power corrupts: absolutely”. They are now just pages in history books.
Our current Executive branch of government unfortunately now defines the above axiom. If left unabated and continuing on its current trajectory we will no longer exist as founded before the end of this decade and if you think that that time frame is impossible to achieve here is a 20th. Century reminder of man’s folly believing that Govt. has all the answers:
The Weimar Republic (German: Weimarer Republik [ˈvaɪmaʁɐ ʁepuˈbliːk] ( listen)) is the name given by historians to the federal republic and parliamentary representative democracy established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government. It was named after Weimar, the city where the constitutional assembly took place.
Following World War I, the republic emerged from the German Revolution in November 1918. In 1919, a national assembly was convened in Weimar, where a new constitution for the German Reich was written, then adopted on 11 August of that same year. The ensuing period of liberal democracy lapsed by 1930, when Hindenburg assumed dictatorial emergency powers, leading to the ascent of the nascent Nazi Party and Adolf Hitler in 1933. The legal measures taken by the new Nazi government in February and March 1933, commonly known as the machtergreifung (seizure of power) meant that the government could legislate contrary to the constitution. The republic nominally continued to exist until 1945, as the constitution was never formally repealed, but the measures taken by the Nazis in the early part of their rule rendered the constitution irrelevant. Thus, 1933 is usually seen as the end of the Weimar Republic and the beginning of Hitler's Third Reich.
In its fourteen years, the Weimar Republic faced numerous problems, including hyperinflation, political extremists (with paramilitaries – both left and right wing), and continuing contentious relationships with the victors of World War I.
Regular readers know that I reference this period in history often because it is historically significant that all of the monetary policies as well as the govt. regulatory climate then is identical to now. “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”
There is legislation in the House of Representative's that could slow and stop the current momentum of Un-Constitutional legislation if we can elect Citizen Statesman and not the “Political Ruling Class” that now occupies the District of Corruption.
From Downsize DC:
Representative John Shadegg (R-AZ) has re-introduced The Enumerated Powers Act (EPA) - HR 450. (You can read the entire bill on our Background Page.) EPA would require Congress to reference the specific clause(s) of the U.S. Constitution that grant them the power to enact laws and take other congressional actions.
"The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation and foreign commerce." —James Madison, Federalist No. 45
So what difference will it make if we require them to cite "chapter and verse" the section of the Constitution that gives them authority to pass a law, create or maintain a program, or impose a tax?
But we freely admit, this new law won't stop them.
We believe the real power of this requirement is that it would, over time, build the evidence necessary to make some real reforms. After all, how many different, un-constitutional actions per day can they blame on the Commerce Clause before a judge rules or a reforming group stands up and says, "This is a hole large enough to drive a fleet of trucks through; let's tighten it up!"
EPA might even, eventually, embarrass Congress. As Walter Williams has pointed out, "Congressmen, openly refusing to live up to their oath of office, exhibit their deep contempt for our Constitution." EPA would expose these politicians because their actions would speak louder than their phony rhetoric.
There's an old Texas legend that says, a young politician by the name of Lyndon Johnson (yes, that Lyndon Johnson), was looking for an edge in his campaign. Johnson suggested to his campaign manager that they start a rumor that his opponent enjoyed sexual congress with pigs.
His campaign manager reacted in shock: "Lyndon you know that's not true."
"Sure," Lyndon is alleged to have replied, "I just want to watch him deny it."
Well, Congress does lots of unconstitutional things. And that's no rumor. Walter Williams is almost certainly right; most members of Congress seem to have "deep contempt for our Constitution."
Now, we just want to see them compelled to deny that charge.
Contact your representative and demand they sign on and support passing this legislation and if they don’t then you know who the traitor’s are.
Dr. Keith C. Westbrook
Pres. Conservative Party-Florida