Constitutional Authority #1

It is time for me to get back up on my soap box. Not a day goes by that this administration and its stooges in Congress don’t make my blood boil. Whether it is the “stimulus package” or the federal government taking over our health care or Attorney General Holder giving consideration to prosecuting the former administration for their decisions, it all boils down to one issue. Where is the constitutional justification for any of their actions?

The more I look at this administration as well as administrations for the past 80 years (and I am being generous) I realize that most, if not all of our economic problems have come as a direct result of the federal government violating its constitutional authority. In this series of Discourses let’s concentrate on just the establishment and operation of what I call extraconstitutional cabinet-level departments. First, I suppose that we should determine which departments are authorized, expressly or by implication, by the Constitution.

I would submit that Treasury, State, Justice, War (now Defense), and Commerce are authorized or implied by the Constitution; there might also be a case for the Department of Interior. I have linked Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution here. This article details the powers of the Congress. You may want to open it in order to refer to it while I go through this discussion.

The first extraconstitutional department I will discuss is the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) which came into being during the FDR administration with the enactment of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937. HUD was elevated to cabinet-level by the Department of Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965 during the Johnson administration. The stated mission for HUD “is to increase homeownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination.” I discussed Our Uncontrollable Debt in December of last year.

Being the simple-minded soul that I am, I have to ask, “Why?” What happened to working toward homeownership? Before you get all riled, I know that in years-gone-by discriminatory lending and home sales practices existed and may still today; but there are free market forces that can and should deal with that. Much of the current financial folly we are enjoying now is a direct result of “making” people eligible for homeownership when they just hadn’t gotten there on their own. What happened to good old American work ethic? What happened to the concept of setting your goals and working toward them? Why is the federal government in the business of business anyway? As a friend of mine is want to query, if you are not a homeowner, what are you? You are a renter. Is that bad? I don’t think so. Someone owns that house or apartment and is living the American dream. If you think it is easy being the owner of a rental unit, just ask those who do. If you don’t want to be a renter why do you have to have a department of the federal government behind you pushing you into a mortgage you can’t afford? If you want homeownership badly enough you go out there and work for it.

This great county has grown because individuals worked. At first it was just to subsist. Then as they worked harder they began to realize that their efforts could pay off and make their lives even better than just subsistence. Is this an easy path? No, but nothing worth the pride of ownership is easy. That is what makes one stick his chest out and say, “I worked for that and I earned it.” Where is the pride in saying “HUD got me this house”?

Looking at the Constitution and the enumerated powers, I do not see any place that allows the federal government to manipulate the marketplace for any group or for any reason. This interference in the marketplace is a very sharp overreach of constitutional authority.

The current budget for HUD is $41.5B. That is money that comes from people who have worked for that dream of homeownership. I can think of a lot more productive ways to spend that money, such as paying down our enormous debt. I can think of a lot more productive ways for people to earn their way into homeownership than working the federal bureaucracy to get a home. Working toward homeownership puts productivity in the community. Achieving that goal and purchasing that home means that someone earned a wage when the home was built, or the prior owner is going into another home that someone had to build. That is the way of economics.

By my way of thinking, if people have achieved the dream of homeownership or they are working toward it, that is good for the state and community in which they live. Doesn’t that make it a state issue? The states and municipalities should be more in tune with the individual citizens than the federal government. Why, then, is the federal government trying, and succeeding, to assume the duties of the states and local communities? While they are doing this, it is a continual degradation of states’ rights and responsibilities; a place the federal government has no business visiting.

This Discourse is very high-level and not in depth. That would take much more time and space to cover. These highlights should be enough to start you thinking.

This is the first in a series of Discourses discussing the gross assumption of power by the federal government. Hopefully, it will encourage a renewed interest in taking our communities and states back which, in turn, will give us our country back.

As always, your comments and discussions are welcome.


One thought on “Constitutional Authority #1

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