I have written about States’ Rights several times in the past. A couple of links to previous articles are here and here. Sometimes I feel like the guy standing out in the middle of the forest who wonders, “If a tree were to fall, would anyone hear it?” There is a growing movement for States’ Rights taking place in America now as discussed in this New York Times article.
There are examples of states such as Utah, Wyoming, Oklahoma, and others that have stood up and told the federal government that they are not going to kowtow to their every whim. Now let us take a look at the latest example of government action in excess of their powers, namely the Census.
Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 of the Constitution states “The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.” The Constitution is quite specific as to the purpose of this enumeration which we have come to know as the Census. The Census is to be taken specifically for determining how many Representatives are to serve in the House from each state. There is to be one Representative for each 30,000 persons, but each state shall have at least one Representative.
Now, let us fast forward to today. I received my Census form in the mail a couple of days ago and looking at the envelop, it starts off telling me that I am required to complete the Census form and return it. Depending on to whom you listen, failure to do so could land you a fine from $100 to $5000. I’m sure the fine is on the high end if you falsify some information.
To be perfectly honest, I did not find anything on the form to be terribly objectionable but I have a serious question as to what the requested information has to do with determining how many Representatives a State will have. The very first block looks like the only legitimate question on the whole thing. It asks how many people live in the house. Well, that takes care of the enumeration part, but then they start to break it down into the characterization of the residents. Are there children; nonrelatives; roommates; who owns the dwelling; is the dwelling an apartment; etc.? They asked my phone number in case they don’t believe my answers and have to call me. They ask for my name and my wife’s name and what our birthdays are. They ask what our race is. They didn’t leave me a place to say “My race is American.” They even asked if my wife or I sometimes live or stay somewhere else.
As I said, none of these questions were particularly objectionable, but I have to ask what business is this of theirs? What does it have to do with deciding how many Representatives Colorado sends to Washington? Do we get more Representatives if we have more Cubans? Do we get more Representatives if we have more Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin people? I wonder what the weighting factor is for each racial group.
I’m sure you are asking by now what this has to do with States’ Rights. Well, I’m glad you asked. Included in the envelop was a blue flyer from the Director, US Census Bureau, whoever that is, that states all of this information is important because it is used to determine not only the number of Representatives, but also how much government money my neighborhood receives. I looked up and down my road (I live out in the country, kind of) and was not able to spot any box where they were going to put my neighborhood’s money. It says that this money is to be used for children, the elderly, and our roads. We are in trouble. There aren’t many children along our road and, depending on the cut-off age, not a lot of elderly. Also, the last time I checked, our road belongs to El Paso County, not the federal government.
Where is the federal government getting all of this money it is doling out? It is getting it from you, me and our State. This money rightfully is not the property of the federal government. It is our money that they are redistributing to people and areas that do not pay as much as we do. In other words they are making everything and everyone the same.
This is where our States’ Rights come in. It is long past time that we tell the federal government that we don’t want their help with our children, our elderly, our roads or anything else. The federal government works for us, not the other way around! Over the past 200 years that concept has been lost. It is time that the citizens of the States stand up and inform the government of their contractual responsibilities.
That is a great segue into the next article which will be out in a few days.
As always, I welcome your comments and discussion.