Fixing the Federal Mess Part 2 of 4: Eliminate or Devolve Unconstitutional Programs/Departments/Agencies
The mess in Washington has gone well beyond the point where simple solutions will stop the ship of state from sinking. Increasing taxes in an attempt to reduce deficits will further depress the already depressed economy and wouldn’t raise nearly enough revenue to balance the budget. This four-part series describes the problem, its causes, the solutions and ends with a summary.
In Part 1, Understanding the Mess and Why it Must be Fixed, the mess our federal government is in was described and its roots attributed to unconstitutional governance over much of the past century. In the second installment of this four-part series, an outline is presented of what must be done to get our federal government back in line with our Constitution.
The disease is severe and acute. Think of it as a severely abscessed tooth. It cannot be successfully attacked using oils and pain-killers. Such approaches are superficial and do not address the root cause of the problem. Taxing “the rich” is a fools approach, like taking a pill for an abscessed tooth. Further, (1) it would not generate sufficient revenue to balance even one year’s budget, and (2) it could well further depress our economy. It would be like eating a candy bar to treat our toothache in the belief it would make us feel good! As with an abscessed tooth, the only solution is to attack the problem at it’s root. The only serious attack of this problem involves restoring constitutional federal government. To do that requires an orderly phase-out all federal programs and agencies for which no clear constitutional authority exists for their existence. This can be accomplished over a few years in an orderly process of devolvement to the state governments and/or people, whichever is most appropriate.
Such extra-constitutional agencies as the Departments of Labor, Energy, Education, Housing & Urban Development, Health & Human Services must be shut down. Each of these is redundant to some degree with programs already existing in most states. Employees of such agencies can be offered to states where greater activity in their own departments is anticipated as a consequence of federal devolvement. Concurrently, all Federal labor, energy, education, housing, and health laws on the books should be repealed en masse. There is no need for such programs at the federal level, they are not authorized activities of the federal government, and we cannot afford them. It is really that simple.
All laws and regulations of these departments must be repealed en masse as having no constitutional authority for their existence. States are free to address such issues as guaranteed by the 10th Amendment to our federal Constitution.
Extra-constitutional agencies such as EPA, CPSC, and FEMA are already redundant to state agencies where proper jurisdiction over and authority to address such needs exists. These agencies must be disbanded without delay and all regulations under these agencies declared null and void for having no proper constitutional authority. Again, employees in federal agencies can be offered to states where increased activity is anticipated as a consequence of federal devolvement.
So-called “entitlement” programs (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid) are without constitutional authority and must be devolved in an orderly process to the states.
Medicare and Medicaid are already substantially managed at the state level and it would be a relatively easy transition for these programs. States would be free to modify such programs (e.g., adjust coverages and premiums, make them voluntary rather than mandatory, etc.).
Social Security would remain as it is for all those current recipients and those within three years of eligibility. All others would have their lifetime contributions of record returned to them in the form of credits to fund individual IRA or 401K plans. FICA contributions would cease immediately and existing recipients would be paid from general revenues. Over time, as no new recipients are entered into the system, the costs of grandfathered Social Security payments would dramatically drop until some point over the next forty years when there would be no recipients.
All federal welfare payments for housing, food, education, labor, and health programs would cease and be devolved to the states for their determination of whether to continue them or end them as redundant to the state’s own programs or simply not needed. All such programs, as the agencies that regulate and control them, are outside the scope of legitimate constitutional authority of our federal government.
All federal programs with ongoing recipients (such as federal housing subsidies and food stamps) would have any assets devolved to the states. Subsidized housing would be granted by deed to current recipients, thus giving recipients ownership. Food stamp programs would be discontinued over a period of one or two years as the controlling agency is disbanded. States would be free to pick up the food stamp program for recipients in their state as the federal program ramps down.
Only through such a comprehensive disbanding of a century of progressive unconstitutional governance can we hope to restore our constitutional republic, return our nation to financial and economic health and vitality, and save the greatest nation in the history of this planet from certain economic and social destruction.
In addition to the comprehensive overhaul of our government, a serious commitment must be undertaken to getting governmental obstructionism out of the way of job creation and economic growth. The greatest threat this nation faces is continued economic stagnation as a consequence of unsustainable federal spending combined with the deliberate regulatory obstruction of energy exploration and development that leads to skyrocketing costs for electricity and transportation fuel. Abundant fossil fuel energy exists in the United States (more than all the energy that ever existed in the Middle East) yet it has been systematically put off limits through regulation and permit blocking. These are irresponsible federal actions designed to curry favor with extremists in the environmental movement and foster inefficient alternate energy schemes that are completely unneeded and will remain so for at least another 200 years!
Saving our nation requires not only a revolutionary rededication to our constitutional republic, but a commitment to lifting restrictions on recovery of and exploration for domestic fossil fuels (oil, gas, and coal).
In the next installment of this four-part series, constitutional amendments are proposed that would assure that our constitutional republic is restored and the mess we are in today is never allowed to be repeated.
Bob Webster, a descendant of Daniel Webster's father, Revolutionary War patriot Ebenezer Webster, has always had a strong interest in early American history, our Constitution, U.S. politics, and law. Politically he is a constitutional republican with objectivist and libertarian roots. He has faith in the ultimate triumph of truth and reason over deception and emotion. He is a strong believer in our Constitution as written and views the abandonment of constitutional restraint by the regressive Progressive movement as a great danger to our Republic. His favorite novel is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and believes it should be required reading for all high school students so they can appreciate the cost of tolerating the growth of unconstitutional crushingly powerful central government. He strongly believes, as our Constitution enshrines, that the interests of the individual should be held superior to the interests of the state.
A lifelong interest in meteorology and climatology spurred his strong interest in science. Bob earned his degree in Mathematics at Virginia Tech, graduating in 1964.