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Milton J. Madison - An American Refugee Now Living in China, Where Liberty is Ascending

Federalism, Free Markets and the Liberty To Let One's Mind Wander. I Am Very Worried About the Fate of Liberty in the USA, Where Government is Taking people's Lives ____________________________________________________________________________________________ "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Tolerance in the face of tyranny is no virtue." -Barry Goldwater-

Saturday, September 26, 2009

G-20 interview.....

I was watching TV and heard of couple of the protesters arguing for their wealth distribution social policy agenda using the phrase 'empowering government.' Their argument is that government should be empowered to take away all earnings above a certain amount and redistribute it to those that have less, particularly focusing on delivering funds to pay for people's healthcare.

Here is my problem with the concept of 'empowerment'; one cannot empower government to do anything more than what governments are capable of doing. One cannot no matter how much one wishes, 'empower' a ham sandwich to build a bridge or to fly to the moon. A ham sandwich can only perform a limited number of functions such as providing lunch and sustenance to a person that consumes it or a limited number of other functions such as taking space in the refrigerator or as trash if not consumed inside of the time in which it is fresh.

Governments also have a limited number of functions in which thy are uniquely designed to perform. I wrote at length on the five functions of a federal government, here. They are:
1. Monetary system: I can just imagine going into a Wal-mart and trying to pay with Glenzo money. I am not too sure who would be willing to take it other than my kids. Additionally, imagine the confusion and problems if there was a New York City or New York State currency (not allowed under the Constitution) and trying to use it in Pennsylvania or in Arizona where the currencies will be different. The framers realized that this is a problem. It makes sense to have a unit of exchange that can be efficiently used around the nation and recognized around the globe. Good idea!!!!
2. National defense: I am capable of defending myself in my home since I have the right to own a firearm under my 2nd Amendment rights. However, it would be very difficult for a nation to defend itself in the event of attack if there is no standing army that is trained in the art of self defense. This is allowed for in the Constitution and is just plainly a good idea.
3. International diplomacy: Imagine if there were a million Americans holidaying in Europe during the summer requesting access to government officials or representatives of the 50 states looking to negotiate with foreign nations to propel their own interests forward on their own. It makes sense to combine these efforts into a singular front to achieve national goals. This task is embedded in the Constitution. Its a good idea.
4. System of law: Although each of the 50 states have a system of law, there is a recognized need to have similarities and those issues that effect all where there is a need for uniformity. Also, there is a recognition that not all law is beneficial and in the best interest of the nation. Therefore, law can be created and destroyed through judicial review. A good idea.
5. Allowance for interstate commerce: One of the problems with these imaginary lines drawn between states and nations is the desire of people in those places to try to benefit themselves over others. Lets say, for example, that egg producers want a higher price for their product and fight to disallow eggs from other states from entering their markets. This allows them to raise prices without the effects of competition on price from outside producers. This costs everyone that consume eggs within that territory for the benefit of a small number of producers. So in order to allow for efficiencies and competition, Congress can regulate interstate commerce with the intent that states do not arbitrarily restrict competition to benefit the few at the cost at the many. This is a good idea.
Anything beyond these functions are the portfolio of the states.

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