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Beyond the Stimulus

The South Carolina House recently joined 30 or so other state legislatures who have passed resolutions reminding the Obama Administration that the 9th and 10th Amendments to the United States Constitution still exist.

As a reminder to those of you who do not keep a copy of the Constitution in your pocket for easy reference, these two amendments attempt to limit the power of the Federal government through a couple of catch all phrases. Specifically, the 9th Amendment states that “the enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” The 10th Amendment states that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

In South Carolina, the State Sovereignty Resolution was passed by the Republican majority after recognizing the massive ideological shift to the left that occurred in Washington after the last election – a shift that directly inserts the Federal government into the day to day lives of ordinary citizens while further eroding the sovereignty of the individual States.

The Republican majority was right to pass the Resolution. The Obama Administration, aided and abetted by the Democratic majority in Congress, has demonstrated through its so called “stimulus” package that it intends to use our current economic crisis to nationalize as many facets of American life as possible. Banking, finance, manufacturing, healthcare and education are all targets.

In the State House, we faced President Obama’s strategy during our budget debates when we learned that $700 million was coming from Washington to help “stabilize” our budget. The problem was that the money came with a mandate which dictated that we use 81% of it to fund the various levels of education at their 2008 levels – an irresponsible level given the severity of our economic downturn.

During the budget debate, the first question was whether to take the money at all. Though Gov. Mark Sanford has been and continues to be correct in his criticism of the way Washington has politicized the handout, very few members of the House seemed inclined to refuse the money. Only 8 brave members voted to refuse the stabilization funds – just days after the State Sovereignty Resolution was overwhelmingly passed. Once we were shown the money, there was not much left to talk about.

But where does that leave us?

With a Federal government that is completely out of control. A government, through years of self dealing between members of both political parties and special interest groups, passed legislation and adopted policies that drove us into economic chaos. A government that now advocates propping up a failed system by mortgaging the futures of generations of Americans. A government that has decided to advance a left wing partisan political agenda at the expense of State sovereignty and the will of the citizens of those individual States.

Which brings us back to those Constitutional amendments. Little doubt exists that we will take the stabilization money this time. Hard dollars always win over political rhetoric. But the time has come for the individual States to assert their Constitutional authority. Specifically, the individual States, through Constitutional Amendment, should force the Federal government to have a balanced budget and a cap on national debt. We have the power reserved to us to do it. Our survival depends on it.