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Another assault on federalism

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Marion Edwyn Harrison, Esq.

Free Congress Foundation

The Founding Fathers, most of our ancestors and a large if unquantifiable chunk of contemporary informed Americans believed or believe in federalism as the optimum balance for the functioning of a free and ordered United States of America as distinguished from an overweening and ubiquitous federal government.

The noun federalism has varied definitions.

The simplest may be that the states of the Union have basic rights, including the right of individuality and of limited influence, much less dominance, by "Washington" - that is, by the federal government.

Amendment X to the Constitution ratified Dec. 15, 1791, states in full: "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."

Not the clearest statement of a dichotomy perhaps but sufficient for the reader to understand that if the Constitution does not confer directly, or at times somewhat impliedly, a function, power or right upon the federal government the feds don’t possess it.

The biggest enemy of federalism derives from the revenues of the federal income tax and the vast expenditures of money, including funny money (presently a national debt approaching $13 trillion), which Washington consumes, dispenses and dissipates.

A century or less ago who, except maybe some talented political prophet, would have envisioned a U.S. Department of Education, as though a federal bureaucracy, full of funds, were supposed to be usurping, guiding, dominating, traditionally state public (and, more and more, private) education.

Incursions upon, and usurpations of, traditional state and local functions are ubiquitous.

A new and rather different manifestation is emerging - abolition of the Electoral College.

One Jonathan Soros, of Soros Fund Management, is among the proponents.

The very name "Soros" tells one the cause is not conservative.

Numerous illusory arguments are propounded against the Constitutionally created Electoral College.

One such argument, perhaps superficially the most compelling, is that the two 2008 major parties’ candidates expended some 98 percent of their television costs and campaign events in 15 States.

Assuming, for the sake of argument, the figure is not far off, so what?

Skilled lawyers, salesmen and all other advocates devote their resources to those arguments and subjects which are the most likely to persuade and to the audiences which are most likely to be persuaded.

The new president received about 53 percent of the popular vote and about 68 percent of the electoral vote. Would the basic result be otherwise if every vote were counted in a nationwide tally? Of course not.

The entire federalist concept and system, deriving from the Constitution, is designed to further federalism - that is, a measure of individuality and self-government of each state.

This means competition between states, independence (except as to specifically enumerated subjects, such as national defense, foreign policy, to a point interstate commerce) and reasonably limited federal government interference and regulation.

The entire rationale of two U.S. Senators from each state, whether the smallest in population is 153 the largest or the largest 53 times the smallest, is to facilitate the values of federalism.

The National Popular Vote Compact and the Soroses of the movement surely seek a dilution of federalism and an increase in the power and regulatory control of the federal government.

Their advocacy of abolition of the Electoral College is a clever cover.

The cause may be gaining in the liberal states of Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland and New Jersey and possibly others.

One must never underestimate the ingenuity of those who promote liberal causes.

Marion Edwyn Harrison is president of, and counsel to, the Free Congress Foundation.


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