Ever wonder why the Federal Government has grown so large, why we have Federal Departments that duplicate States Agencies, like the $66 Billion annual budget of the Department of Education? Have you ever wondered why small States have disproportionate representation -of one person one vote? Why Wyoming has two Senators and California has two Senators? Why do states have unfunded mandates?
When this country was founded it was no coincidence that is was named The United States of America. It was not named the People’s Republic of America. The States were to provide for the laws and services required of government and the Federal Government was required to provide the necessary laws to protect the States (common defense), regulate commerce and trade between States, and provide for a consistent and standardized basic set of rights for all people of all these United States. So why then has this changed and do we look to Washington D.C. to solve not only our national but also our local problems? States Rights were so important that we even fought a Civil War over them. Just when did the States finally lose their battle to be an integral part of this nation’s guiding force and be an equal partner with the Federal Government?
Well, it was 1913! In 1913, the States abdicated their role as an equal partner with the Federal Government by ratifying the Seventeenth Amendment. This Amendment replaced a provision in Article 1, Section 3, which stated: “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof,for six years; and each Senator shall have one Vote…”
Upon ratification in 1913, the Senate of the United States was now responsible only to the people by direct election and no longer were they responsible to the Legislature of their respective States. The direct pandering to the people had begun. No longer was the Senate the so called upper house with responsibility to the States. It was now on a par with the people’s house, The House of Representatives, and with all the requisite pandering and special interests, but with the exception that they were in office for six years instead of two and one third of the Senate was up for election every two years.
In 1913, the people of this nation lost a valuable check and balance which inhibited the Federal Government from growing out of control. If you carefully look at the Constitution, you will find that the founders set up checks and balances over three branches of the Federal Government for the States.
- The Senate must provide advice and consent on all Executive appointees and this includes Judicial appointees, notably the Supreme Court and Federal inferior Courts – circuit courts, etc.
- The Senate must ratify all treaties submitted by the Executive Branch, giving the States some control over foreign affairs.
- The Senate must agree with the House to pass legislation and sits as the jury in matters of impeachment.
The Seventeenth Amendment effectively neutralized the power of the States to control the Federal Government. Read more on why some think the Seventeenth Amendment should be repealed at http://www.liberty-ca.org/friendsforamerica.org.htm. (Not an endorsement of their site, just an opportunity to read what they have to say on the matter.)
Was the Seventeenth Amendment a good thing – I don’t believe so. Let me give one example. Today Congress regularly provides mandates for the States, called unfunded mandates, to spend money on education initiatives, managing illegal alien populations, or supporting medical care for those with no medical coverage, at local hospitals, etc. Now that the Senate is not responsible to the States, it regularly agrees with the House on these mandates, as the alternative would be Federally funded programs requiring an increase in taxes. Instead an unfunded mandate requires the States to increase taxes and your Congressional Representative can say that they have not increased taxes. This ill advised Amendment has fostered an uncontrolled, unchecked runaway Federal Government in size and power.
If you want real change from your Congress, push for repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment. Additional reading: http://www.independent.org/publications/article.asp?id=360
Added May 21, 2008: read – Barn Stable Patriot