When the Founding Fathers were designing our constitution, they had a number of things in mind. There are the obvious things, such as limited government so as not to oppress the people, elected officials for limited terms so there would not be a ruling class of elite citizens, and other liberites so people could worship God as they saw fit. I specify the worship of God, rather than "freedom of religion," because in the phrase "freedom of religion" was the implied understanding they were talking about Christianity. For those that would doubt this, please name the other religions of the world represented in the early days of American history.
What was so fascinating was that each soverign state was allowed to determine how business within the state borders would work, if there was an official religion (meaning protestant denomination), qualifications for voting and other aspects that helped to shape the quality of life within said state. Abe Lincoln, with his ideas of Federal domination, changed our form of government from one of delegated powers from the states to the federal government, to one where states were subservient to the federal government. This unfortunate turn of events has severely limited the options Americans have to pick from on how they want to live. I remember in college studying about all the federal regulatory agencies that states had to duplicate. To prevent the federal government from coming in and interfering, states made their own versions of the agencies and usually made their rules stricter than the feds to keep the feds out. What a way to block federal intervention, by being more constricting on your citizens than the federals.
If the federal government had stayed true to the founder’s intent, there wouldn’t be this alphabet soup of agencies constantly causing businesses to have to raise prices to cover their expenses of complying with regulations. There wouldn’t be a need for continuous tax increases to pay for these beaurocrats and their programs, they could find real, meaningful jobs. Now this isn’t to say there aren’t some good things that have come out of concern for safety of work environments, food sanitation, polution control and monitoring of pharmacuticles, but there does come a point of obsurdity. By trying to be all things to all people, and over regulating the actions of businesses and individuals, our government is crushing entreprenualism and making modern day slaves of the average working stiff. Most people who are interested in starting their own business are defeated before they begin when they see the mountain of regulations, forms and other red tape required of them (mostly to keep the government beaurocrats employed).
My basic example for the failure of over regulation and over taxing is from the home of the folks that brought us big government and turned the constitution on its ear: The Northeastern states. By over taxing and over regulating, these lovers of big government have driven companies and people out of the North. Unfortunately they have migrated to the South. I say unfortunately mostly because Northerners move here and say how much they like the South, and then they show they’ve learned nothing from past mistakes. These transplanted Yankees say, "We need to start regulating things more," and "Think of all the changes we can make here if we just raise the taxes." These misguided Northeners start talking of remaking what they had in the North like we’re missing something.
Let me tell you what we’re missing. Freedom from excessive government. Freedom from burdensome taxes. If we were to follow the constitution as intended, we would have a very different scenario going on right now. Imagine this: Every state would decide for themselves how to tax and regulate. What a concept! Some states would have lots of taxes for lots of welfare programs and special projects, other states would have very fiew taxes and people would have to either work, depend on charity, or move to a state where they could be slugs and live off those that work and pay taxes. Some states would have strict polution laws and be obnoxiously "green" and businesses would struggle under restrictions, other states would be toxic waste dumps where no limits existed and every other child would be born with a third eye or an extra head. Some states would have zero population growth because of mandatory abortion laws and other states would have a booming population growth since abortion would be outlawed. In some states you could still be hung for horse stealing and other states there would be no death penalty, even if you went wading through a day care with an oozie.
By allowing each soverign state to determine its own internal policies without intervention from the federal legislature or judiciary, we would have a wide variety of options on how we choose to live. I say, "Let the free market reign" and see who moves where. Certain concepts go hand in hand and I believe that the states that tend to limit government involvement and promote certain positive moral standards would provide the quality of life that most people dream of. The competition between states for population to provide labor and income would drive new creativity in addressing issues like we do not see today. Again, the simplest proof of this lies in the demographics of Yankees moving South. My beliefs are also supported by watching the movement of people out of abusive, restricting countries to America.
January 11, 1999