Tag Archives: Tenth Amendment

Electronic Controls, Health Care and Military Worries.

How many times has your computer “froze up” on you?  No matter the brand or type sometimes these little electronic wizards just have a mind of their own and won’t comply with the commands you give them or if they do it takes much, much longer than you wanted or expected.  Those tiny computers that are now becoming an integral part of all auto parts is concerning.  Toyota is at the top of the list now with worries about acceleration and braking but that is only the tip of a coming avalanche.  I really don’t want to be barreling down the road at 60 miles an hour and hit the brakes to discover they don’t work or else that there is a two second time delay.  Two seconds may seem like a really short time but at that speed you are covering couple hundred feet.  In an emergency you take less than a second to hit the brake.  It is a matter of life and death.  I think it is much safer to have well calibrated mechanical devices that respond directly to your body actions.  I am sure the chances of electronic failure or quite low but the brakes getting the wrong signal at the wrong time is a horrifying thought.  They now also have those keyless electronic starter systems.  First that will inconvenient as the devil when you can’t start your car and it has to be towed in just to replace a chip or reboot a system and worse what happens when you can’t get the car to turn off?  Newer is not always better.

If any form of the health care bill currently proposed by the White House passes it will lead to some truly epic Supreme Court cases down the road.   It will dramatically call into question anew the meaning of Article One, Section Eight and the interstate commerce clause.   How does my health impact interstate commerce?  Does my health status affect interstate commerce any more than my daily use of water?  Whether I use 10 gallons a day or 100 gallons does that affect interstate commerce?   If you think it does then the EPA or some other Federal agency could have the authority to specify exactly how much I can use and ration our water use.   Health and water are important matters and can have certain regulations and laws concerning their use or abuse.  But, but, but, it has been the States that have historically been granted the right to control such matters.  This is because of the limitations of the powers of Congress in Article One and the corresponding retention of powers of the States under the Tenth Amendment.  We have no national law regarding the ownership and transfer of ownership of real property in the US.  That is a matter of State law and each State has its own laws regarding real estate.  It takes no imagination to realize how important a topic property rights are.   Does my ownership of my home affect interstate commerce?  Some would probably say it does regardless of how nebulous it may be.  If anything and everything affects interstate commerce then we no longer have a Federal system of government but a centrally controlled government and the States become mere provinces of the central government, mere administrative tools for national policy to be implemented.  That was not the intent of our Founders and I don’t believe most of us would prefer that system of government.  There is also the little problem again of the Constitution.  Article Four, Section Four requires that the US shall guarantee to every State a Republican form of government.  Total control of our economy from Washington would destroy that provision’s meaning.

The Pentagon is going through another of its internal reviews about the nature and formation of our armed forces.  The general idea is that the traditional forces are not nimble enough to meet the demands of the 21st century.  The concept is to make the forces smaller in unit size and more specialized in their method of operations.  To review the military is always a good idea.  That old saw about the military always fighting the last war is a good one with lots of truth to it.  We all tend to go with what we know and the generals and admirals know what they did when the were younger officers and will naturally bend in that methodology when faced with a new challenge.  Often the old method doesn’t comport with the new facts on the battlefield and bad results can occur.  However it is best not to throw out the baby with the bath water.  Regardless of technical and tactical changes in battlefields there will always be the danger of the large scale clash with an enemy.  I do hope the military won’t abandon completely the formation and training of the traditional forces for large land and sea battles.  We will have the need for divisions, not only brigades and we will have the need for more ships in the Navy than just aircraft carriers and their escorts.  The Chinese are rapidly building their military power on both land and sea.  Who knows where their Communist leaders will want to expand their hegemony?  Especially in a few years when the demographers predict a serious decline in their population and an aging population that will be even more demanding on their economy than ours.  Battleships for example are considered very old school.  However as recently as the Iraq War of ’92 we used the old Missouri to good effect.  Both offensively and defensively there is something very intimidating and encouraging (depending on whether you are on the receiving end or benefitting from the salvos) about those huge 16 inch guns pounding away.  We don’t have even one of those today.  Cruise missiles are great but sometimes volume is more important than pin point accuracy.  Don’t believe for one minute we have “evolved” beyond the era when an all out bare knuckle conflict is possible.  Sadly, we aren’t there yet and for the moment the US is still the best hope for a better world regardless of our shortcomings.

Of course health care premiums are going up again.  They will continue to do so until the States reform the process so that all of us become “shoppers” rather than merely users of health care.  Empowering the people to bargain for the best prices just as we do for cars or cereal will reduce prices quicker than anything.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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The Federal Money Merry Go Round

Over the past 70 years or so we have steadily eroded our Federal system of government and governance of our nation.  The Federal government has encroached on more and more areas that traditionally and Constitutionally were reserved to the States.  Most of these impositions have been indirect takeovers of certain industries, enterprises or functions such as imposing such as in education, the environment and welfare programs of all sorts.   These takeovers are accomplished by the Feds first issuing a mandate that the States have to perform certain functions or provide services as defined and supervised by the Feds. 

Education is a prime example but certainly not the only one.   Going back to the ’60’s the Feds started with all these head start programs and breakfast and lunch programs.  The various mandates of the Feds have only grown, like they always do, with regard to education.  Now they have these standards for achievement and teacher performance.  I am all for education and a good education at that with demanding standards for the administrators, teachers and children.   Sadly, all this Federal intrusion into education has not produced positive results.   Forget in my opinion the “buzz” from all the academics about improvements here and there.  Just look around your neighborhood, city or State.  Do YOU see evidence that our kids are challenged and that the curricula are demanding?  You have bound to heard about grade inflation and have an opinion on it.  They can’t do basic math, write a coherent sentence, know little about science if anything and when it comes to history or political science they are deplorable or worse misinformed by revisionist teachers.  Please read a 7th grade history text this month.  Draw your own conclusions about what they are learning or more importantly not learning.

We do need a good educational system but that is and should be the responsibility of the States and not the domain of the Feds.  Jefferson was one of the earliest and staunchest supporters of public education and devoted his life after politics to the construction and establishment of the University of Virginia.  We need local control and local responsibility for all matters regarding our schools.  The Federal government shouldn’t be providing free meals, after school programs and certainly shouldn’t have anything to do with the curriculum or class room standards.  That should be addressed by the individual States.  If there are hungry children at school then the local school district should deal with that or the State.  Likewise all matters regarding teaching and quality of education should come from the local roots. 

We have allowed ourselves to become Provinces of the central government rather than sovereign States as envisioned in the Constitution and the Federalist Papers.   The Feds accomplish this by making a mandate and then taxing the wadding out of us and then taking the money and telling us that if we don’t follow their bidding that they will withhold the Federal money for the different programs.  Only today there are news accounts of the latest from the EPA about ozone standards being altered again.  When the new rules come out those localities not in Federal compliance will lose their funding for highways.  Exactly the same thing happens with Medicaid, the education grants, the welfare programs, etc.  Where do they think the money comes from in the first place?  They take it from us, denying that money to our local States.  I wish for once that a vast majority of the States would rise up and tell the Feds, “Hell NO” we don’t want your money and don’t want to be in your programs.  At the same time the local populace would tell their epresentatives and Senators that they better reduce the Federal tax burden in a proportionate amount. 

It would be nice if someone would pay for the research to go through the labyrinthine Federal set up and all the agencies, Departments and bureaus and calculate the number of programs and the money that they cost.  You know it would be billions, hundreds of billions annually.    All that money could be repatriated to the States where it rightfully belongs in the first place for education and other areas.   Let the States decide how they want to deal with these issues and let them tax their residents as determined by local politics.    Competition is a good thing.  Education is a good thing.   Let the States have their money and let them put out an education product and let the competition begin.  It would be so healthy for the nation.  Some would lag behind others but they would have a lot of incentive to improve or they would lose the economic race and challenge to the States  offering a better product.  Let the States take care of the welfare of their citizens and their educational needs.  Except for the Interstate Highway system, let the States foot the bill for their road system.  Why in the world should folks in Mich. have to pay for Parish bridges in Louisiana? 

The friction of competition and the variety of options that would be offered would be very good for the nation as a whole.   Those with the best systems would flourish and the others would have a model to emulate.

Those guys a long  time ago we smart enough to figure out how to do lots of things that baffle me.  How the heck did Hannibal load those elephants  on to those galleys and transport them to Europe?  We are talking about ships that were 60 to 90 long at the most and only 15 to 18 feet at the beam.  How do you get an elephant that weighs two tons or more on that?  And where in the world do your put him when you do get him aboard?  The miracle is I guess that after all that they somehow managed to sail with them without too many of them going berserk en route and capsizing the ship.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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