Democracy’s Real Laboratories: States of the Union
Shades of 1861 and the bombardment of Fort Sumter, less than two weeks after President Obama won re-election by a slim 51% margin last November, petitions were filed on the White House website from all 50 States seeking secession from the federal Union.
Started by one petition to secede from Louisiana, within a week over 600,000 people had signed and hundreds of thousands more names from many states have been added since.
You may have thought that the issue of whether a state could secede from the Union had been decided at Appomattox Court House in April, 1865, with the end of the Civil War (or the War Between the States, or the War of Northern Aggression, as some still call that unpleasantness), but apparently not.
Of course, here at The Sovereign Society, we have suggested personal secession can be achieved by expatriation, which I have explained many times. But now that President Obama has begun his second term as a dedicated leftist, I expect to be required to explain expatriation much more and will be pleased to do so.
Earlier this week, I commented on the president’s pugnacious and less than unifying inaugural address. Several things impressed me about its content. He only mentioned once the U.S. Constitution, the very document to which he was there to swear his allegiance. And he never mentioned the States of the Union, except to ask God to bless the currently, far from United States – as indeed we all hope He does!
Instead, the president issued a long laundry list of what his “government” plans to do for the multitudes – but he did not specify the cost. While he made vague reference to our national past, he took for granted that his “government” could and would exercise unlimited powers to accomplish all this. No mention was made of the Constitution’s limits on the powers of the federal government or the reserved powers that belong to the States of the Union as stated in the Tenth Amendment of the Bill of Rights.
President Obama may have won re-election, but this politically shattered country is extremely divided. There are just as many opponents to his presidency as supporters. He could have employed a skillful call for a renewed role for states’ rights as a truly unifying factor.
Walker Wins One
Example: Last week, a federal appeals court in Chicago upheld as constitutional Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s law limiting most public workers’ collective bargaining rights. That law caused violent protests outside the state’s Capitol and a recall election in June, in which Walker, a Republican, defeated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, his Democratic challenger.
The court upheld parts of the law requiring annual recertification votes and barring the voluntary deduction of dues. “Today’s court ruling is a victory for Wisconsin taxpayers,” Walker said, and it was “[…]vital in balancing Wisconsin’s $3.6 billion budget deficit without increasing taxes, without massive employee layoffs, and without cuts to programs like Medicaid.”
Walker is a good example of a courageous state executive acting to curb union pension excesses and to balance budgets. At the same time, the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate has not even adopted a federal budget in four years, while President Obama has rung up four years of trillion- dollar deficits. Other Republican governors in Kansas, Indiana, Ohio and elsewhere have brought about union reforms and cuts in spending, policies President Obama never mentions.
America now has 30 Republican governors, and 25 of those have state legislatures controlled by Republicans. These conservative state leaders are bringing about real tax reforms with financial and political consequences. They are proposing to abolish income taxes, business taxes and other anti-job taxes, offsetting those cuts by boosting sales taxes.
Free Market Growth
In states as diverse as Louisiana, Florida, Virginia, New Mexico, Idaho and Ohio, Republican governors share a basic free market philosophy that holds that economic growth is directly encouraged by pro-growth tax policies.
That means no high personal income tax rates and no high uncompetitive corporate income taxes. Companies, small-business owners and entrepreneurs will invest and create jobs in states where their earnings are not taxed away; where they can be reinvested into the business to increase wages and expand employment opportunities. It’s just that simple. When taxes are seen as punishment for success, people are less likely to do business in a state.
In contrast, most Democratic governors have raised taxes in recent years during the economic downturn when revenues fell.
Brandeis Said It
In a 1932, the late, great U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Louis Brandeis, coined the phrase “laboratories of democracy” to describe how a “state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.”
These days, that could describe the state-federal contrast: conservative, realistic state governors and legislators facing the huge problem of decades of government excessive spending and deficits – and the parliamentary constipation and inertia of entrenched Washington politicians clinging to power at the peoples’ expense. Indeed, balancing budgets has become a novelty!
Adopted in 1791 with the rest of the Bill of Rights, the Tenth Amendment says, in only 28 words written by James Madison: “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.”
The national government has failed. It is about time Washington let the States lead the way.
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Other Posts from the Author
- Power to Tax = Power to Destroy - May 15th, 2013
- We’re Watching this Offshore Tax Haven - May 2nd, 2013
- How Obama's Budget Will Steal Your Retirement - April 24th, 2013
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