Today, of course, the redistributive powers of Congress are everywhere — except in the Constitution. The result is the feeding frenzy that is modern Washington, the Hobbesian war of all against all as each tries to get his share and more of the common pot the tax system fills. … It is unseemly and wrong. More than that, it is unconstitutional, whatever the slim and cowed majority on the New Deal Court may have said.
Tag: Roger Pilon
Vice President for Legal Affairs for the Cato Institute.
The growth of the General Welfare and Commerce clauses
Under our Constitution, the federal government has delegated, enumerated and thus limited powers. Power is delegated by the founding generation or through subsequent amendment (that makes it legitimate); enumerated in the constitution (that makes it legal); and limited by that enumeration. As the 10th Amendment says, if a power hasn’t been delegated, the federal government doesn’t have it.
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Growth of illegitimate government
Over the 20th century, the federal government has assumed a vast and unprecedented set of powers. Not only has the exercise of those powers upset the balance between federal and state governments; run roughshod over individuals, families, and firms; and reduced economic opportunity for all; but most of what the federal government does today — to put the point as plainly and candidly as possible — is illegitimate because done without explicit constitutional authority. The time has come to start returning power to the states and the people, to relimit federal power in our fundamental law, to restore constitutional government.