Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Leaders convince – Tyrants outlaw brownies

By Steve Bussey

Constitutional Philosophy Please tell me this isn’t true, that our federal government has a new Child Nutrition Bill soon to be law. This violates the letter and spirit of our Constitution on so many levels as to render it despotic and actually insane.

Please tell me that the federal tentacles are not once again reaching down into local schools and deciding what our children can and cannot eat. Please tell me that with near 10% unemployment, an exploding federal deficit, a possible nuclear Iran, a nuclear North Korea firing artillery at South Korea, war in Afghanistan and the myriad other real-world problems that our federal government is not concerning itself with fat kids and brownies. Welcome to Wonderland, Alice.

Save all of your stories and concerns about childhood obesity because I don’t want to hear them. I want an intellectual debate based on fact, logic and reason among adults and not emotional debates that tug at heartstrings. Please do not speak down to me from your throne on high. Look me in the eye and debate facts!

Here’s the story from the Kansas City Star newspaper:

Pending law puts brownies of school fundraisers in peril

The Associated Press
Sarah Benson
Don’t touch my brownies!

A child nutrition bill on its way to President Barack Obama — and championed by the first lady — gives the government power to limit school bake sales and other fundraisers that health advocates say sometimes replace wholesome meals in the lunchroom.
“This could be a real train wreck for school districts,” Lucy Gettman of the National School Boards Association said Friday, a day after the House cleared the bill. “The federal government should not be in the business of regulating this kind of activity at the local level.”
The legislation, part of first lady Michelle Obama’s campaign to stem childhood obesity, provides more meals at school for needy kids. The legislation would apply to all foods sold in schools during regular class hours, including in the cafeteria line and at fundraisers.

Really? That’s what the most powerful government in the history of the world is concerned about? Leaders, my friends, lead – they explain and convince. Tyrants, on the other hand, legislate and compel with the force of the government sword.

Okay, let’s get serious and talk about the Constitution for a moment. Under what constitutional authority does this fall? The general welfare clause? Nope – here’s what the Father of the Constitution said with respect to the general welfare clause, and he was in the debate and knew what they wrote and why;

“If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands;  they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury;  they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union;  they may assume the provision of the poor;  they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police,  would be thrown under the power of Congress…. Were the power  of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for,  it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature  of the limited Government established by the people of America.”

Nope, the general welfare clause doesn’t cover it. How about the interstate commerce clause? Here are some quotes from Hamilton and Madison, both of whom were at the Constitutional Convention and debated the new Constitution:

In Federalist No. 22 (4th Para), Hamilton said: 
"The interfering…regulations of some States…have… given just cause of…complaint to others, and…if not restrained by a national control, would be multiplied… till they became…serious sources of animosity and… impediments to the intercourse between the different parts of the Confederacy. “The commerce of the German empire…is in continual trammels from the multiplicity of…duties which the several princes and states exact upon the merchandises passing through their territories, by means of which the…navigable rivers [of]…Germany…are rendered almost useless.” Though the…people of this country might never permit this…to be…applicable to us, yet we may…expect, from the…conflicts of State regulations, that the citizens of each would…come to be…treated by the others in no better light…"

In Federalist No. 42 (9th Para), Madison said
"…A very material object of this power [to regulate commerce] was the relief of the States which import and export through other States, from the improper contributions levied on them by the latter. Were these at liberty to regulate the trade between State and State…ways would be found out to load the articles of import and export, during the passage through their jurisdiction, with duties which would fall on the makers of the latter and the consumers of the former…"

See also Federalist No. 44 (8th Para) and 56 (6th Para).

Madison’s Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 show:
"Thursday, August 16th:
…Mr. Madison. 1. the power of taxing exports is proper in itself, and as the States cannot with propriety exercise it separately, it ought to be vested in them collectively…3. it would be unjust to the States whose produce was exported by their neighbours, to leave it subject to be taxed by the latter. This was a grievance which had already filled [New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, and N. Carolina] with loud complaints, as it related to imports, and they would be equally authorized by taxes by the States on exports…."

Many people claim, wrongfully, that the Constitution changes with time. What did James Madison have to say about that?

“Let there be no change [in the Constitution] by usurpation. For though this, in one instance may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.”

The Constitution has not a single word or phrase that would imply or otherwise state that the Constitution changes with time. In fact, the Constitution changes only through the amendment process and not with time, elections, polls, legislation or judicial re-interpretation – just through amendments. So any other form of change, other than a formal amendment, in my opinion would constitute the usurpation James Madison warned about.

But hey – damn the torpedoes (Constitution) and full speed ahead attacking school bake sales, vending machines and fat kids – our nation depends on it!

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