The term "crisis" is thrown around rather liberally today, but there should be no question that our nation is in a desperate situation today. Our problem is not merely fiscal, but political and cultural. Our deficits and growing debt are driven by a government that is no longer constrained by the rule of law.
Generally speaking, most politicians are on the bandwagon of supporting an increase in government power and spending. On the political left, the argument is that the government's spending should be unchecked, it is the people and business that needs to be watched. For the vast majority of those on the right in Congress, the answer is a sad response of "yes, government can spend where it wants... the only question is how much." They fight back with pleas of, "this amount of spending may be dangerous," when they should be declaring that we are committing economic and political crimes.
On the political landscape today, it is hard to find members of Congress who are willing to speak with honesty about the direction our nation is going, one of the few exceptions is Ted Poe of Texas. Poe has been a frequent guest on my radio show and he voted against bailouts and TARP even when the conventional wisdom was that they were necessary. Recently, he has become aggressive in his disdain for a government that is out of control.
Congressman Poe has introduced House Resolution 959 which expresses the sense that many member of Congress "challenge the authority of the federal government to require by law that Americans purchase health insurance, or any goods or services." Substantively, bills like this have little importance. If a majority pass it, there will be no actual change in the law. However, there has been little discussion of all on what the limits of government are, so I find this action very refreshing.
Congressman Poe notes that "Any bill that requires Americans to buy something under the guise of a tax or pay a fine, violates House procedural rules. This legislation is based on the premise that such a bill is an unconstitutional exercise of legislative taxing authority. Thus any such bills brought to the floor would be ruled out of order."
There is a growing movement towards the restoration of the federal system established by the Founding Fathers and it is based on Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution, which states: "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States."
The Congressman goes on to describe the direction this nation is drifting towards: "It is a very slippery slope to allow Congress to expand this authority for the purpose of forcing American citizens to buy health insurance or anything else," Congressman Poe continued. "We must heed the confines of our Constitution, not ignore it in a mad rush to expand the federal government or reinterpret its meaning to serve a political purpose."
I, for one, am only interested in supporting candidates of Congress who share a similar view. The Constitution is the law of the land and every member who swears to defend it should be bound to that reasonable standard.
Kevin Price is a syndicated columnist whose articles frequently appear at ChicagoSunTimes.com, Reuters.com, USAToday.com, and other national media. Kevin Price is Host of the Price of Business (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review. Hear the show live and online at PriceofBusiness.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.