How To Curtail the Federal Beast

By Judge Andrew Napolitano


Dred Scott's Revenge: A Legal History of Race and Freedom in America


by Andrew P. Napolitano


1.)  The Scope of the Problem.

The Constitution gives the Congress only 17 discrete powers. One of them is the power to regulate interstate commerce and another is the power to tax incomes. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, almost from the time the first Congress sat, it used its Commerce Clause power to tax goods, to control private behavior, and even to prohibit items in interstate commerce. Subsequent Congresses used that power to control the conditions for production and sale of goods that eventually made their way into interstate commerce. And modern Congresses have used that power to regulate any human behavior they wish, so long as the behavior, when combined with other similar behavior, might conceivably affect the movement of goods or persons in interstate commerce. Thus, today, the water you drink, the air you breathe, the size of the toilet bowl in your bathroom, the number of legs on your desk chair, the strength of the water pressure in your shower in your home, the amount of wheat you can grow in your yard, the amount of sugar manufacturers can put into ketchup, the words you can utter in public or private, are all regulated by the Congress, claiming power under the Commerce Clause. And the feds, as well, use their enormous horde of cash from our income taxes to bribe the states by paying them to regulate in areas that the Constitution prohibits Congress from regulating.

2.)  How to address this?

We need an amendment to the Constitution that expressly limits Congress to exercising only the 17 specific powers that are delegated to it in the Constitution and defines and limits the regulation of interstate commerce to its original meaning of keeping commerce regular by preventing all governments, state and federal, from interfering with it. We also need to rescind the 16th Amendment and affirmatively prohibit any federal tax on persons, as individuals or as groups. These two measures will starve the federal government back down to the footprint established for it by the Constitution. The Constitution can only be amended by enactment of an amendment by three-quarters of the legislatures of the states. In order to get to the state legislatures, an amendment can only come from an affirmative vote of two-thirds of both houses of Congress, or from a constitutional convention which Congress must call if asked to do so by two-thirds of the state legislatures.

3.)  What should freedom lovers do?

Here are a few simple steps. First, agree on the wording of two amendments addressing commerce and income taxes. Next persuade the state legislatures of 34 states to enact a resolution by a simple majority vote of each house of the states’ legislatures instructing Congress to convene a constitutional convention for the express and sole purpose of considering these two amendments. I don’t know if 34 states will agree to this; but I firmly believe that as the number of agreeing states approaches 34, Congress will become terrified, and will begin to curtail its regulation of our behavior and lower our taxes. If the convention does come to pass and sends the two proposed amendments to the states, the goal is then to get 38 states to adopt the amendments. Note, the state legislative process of demanding a convention and the state legislative process of approving an amendment only requires a simple majority in each house of a state legislature, and neither is subject to a governor’s veto.

4.)  What else can freedom lovers do?

They can elect state legislators who are intelligent and courageous enough to challenge and defy the federal government. Montana, Texas, and Oklahoma have many legislators who are prepared to direct their law enforcement to refrain from enforcing any federal laws; to authorize that products that originate and remain within their borders not be subject to any federal regulation; and even to begin the process of seceding from the Union. Even states with more liberal attitudes can be recruited into this effort by persuading them to save money and enhance freedom by prohibiting state and local law enforcement from prosecuting persons for possessing small amounts of controlled substances. The federal government simply cannot enforce all its criminal laws (there are over 4,000 of them) without the active assistance of state and local law enforcement. Secession, even under the biggest of Big Government theories, is perfectly lawful and can lawfully be accomplished by the consent of three-quarters of the remaining state legislatures.

5.)  Congress is not a general legislature.

The federal government did not come into existence in order to right every wrong. The feds are obliged to recognize our natural rights. When the government behaves with no self-recognized limitations, when its only restraint is whatever it can get away with, when it actively attacks rather than forcefully protects our natural rights, then, as Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, and as federal law still states, “it is the duty of the people to alter or abolish it.”

Judge Andrew P. Napolitano joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in January 1998 and currently serves as the senior judicial analyst. He provides legal analysis on both FNC and Fox Business Network daily. He co-hosts Fox News Radio's "Brian and The Judge" show daily, and hosts “FreedomWatch” on Foxnews.com weekly. Judge Napolitano is the youngest life-tenured Superior Court judge in the history of the State of New Jersey. He is a graduate of Princeton University and the University of Notre Dame Law School. He lectures nationally and publishes op-ed pieces in national publications. Judge Napolitano has written four books on the Constitution and human freedom, including his most recent, “Dred Scott’s Revenge: A Legal History of Race and Freedom in America.” To learn more: http://www.judgenap.com


Note from Glenn

Let’s be clear that no one is calling for a Constitutional Convention. The Judge has outlined what would need to be done, legally, in order for the 10th Amendment to have some real teeth put back into it. No one really wants a Constitutional Convention. Nobody on the left or the right really pushes for one for two reasons. First, no matter how limited the scope of the proposed constitutional convention if one actually takes place it’ll be almost impossible to restrict the changes that could be made to the Constitution. Remember that when the Founding Fathers met in Philadelphia for their constitutional convention their orders were to do nothing more than “amend the Articles of Confederation.” By day three they had unofficially agreed to abolish the Articles and create a new form of government. If a constitutional convention were held today there would be no limits on what they could do and it’s very possible we end up with the Constitution shredded and in tatters. I don’t want to take that risk.

Second, I don’t trust our current crop of politicians to do the right thing. I don’t see a modern-day George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, or James Madison. All I see are selfish politicians willing to do anything to get re-elected. I don’t want to put the future of my children and grandchildren in their fat money-stained fingers.

So let’s hold off on the constitutional convention but move forward with the gun legislation in Montana, Utah, Texas and other states in an effort to have the Supreme Court re-consider the 10th Amendment. Good people doing great things is all it takes to return America to what our Founding Fathers intended Her to be—a bastion of freedom and liberty!

-glenn

 

Reform Conservatism and Reaganomics: A middle road?

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Senator Marco Rubio broke Republican ranks recently when he criticized the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act by stating that “there's no evidence whatsoever that the money's been massively poured back into the American worker." Rubio is wrong on this point, as millions of workers have received major raises, while the corporate tax cuts have led to a spike in capital expenditure (investment on new projects) of 39 percent. However, the Florida senator is revisiting an idea that was front and center in the conservative movement before Donald Trump rode down an escalator in June of 2015: reform conservatism.

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The "reformicons," like Rubio, supported moving away from conservative or supply-side orthodoxy and toward policies such as the expansion of the child and earned income tax credits. On the other hand, longstanding conservative economic theory indicates that corporate tax cuts, by lowering disincentives on investment, will lead to long-run economic growth that will end up being much more beneficial to the middle class than tax credits.

But asking people to choose between free market economic orthodoxy and policies guided towards addressing inequality and the concerns of the middle class is a false dichotomy.

Instead of advocating policies that many conservatives might dismiss as redistributionist, reformicons should look at the ways government action hinders economic opportunity and exacerbates income inequality. Changing policies that worsen inequality satisfies limited government conservatives' desire for free markets and reformicons' quest for a more egalitarian America. Furthermore, pushing for market policies that reduce the unequal distribution of wealth would help attract left-leaning people and millennials to small government principles.

Criminal justice reform is an area that reformicons and free marketers should come together around. The drug war has been a disaster, and the burden of this misguided government approach have fallen on impoverished minority communities disproportionately, in the form of mass incarceration and lower social mobility. Not only has the drug war been terrible for these communities, it's proved costly to the taxpayer––well over a trillion dollars has gone into the drug war since its inception, and $80 billion dollars a year goes into mass incarceration.

Prioritizing retraining and rehabilitation instead of overcriminalization would help address inequality, fitting reformicons' goals, and promote a better-trained workforce and lower government spending, appealing to basic conservative preferences.

Government regulations tend to disproportionately hurt small businesses and new or would-be entrepreneurs. In no area is this more egregious than occupational licensing––the practice of requiring a government-issued license to perform a job. The percentage of jobs that require licenses has risen from five percent to 30 percent since 1950. Ostensibly justified by public health concerns, occupational licensing laws have, broadly, been shown to neither promote public health nor improve the quality of service. Instead, they serve to provide a 15 percent wage boost to licensed barbers and florists, while, thanks to the hundreds of hours and expensive fees required to attain the licenses, suppressing low-income entrepreneurship, and costing the economy $200 billion dollars annually.

Those economic losses tend to primarily hurt low-income people who both can't start businesses and have to pay more for essential services. Rolling back occupational licenses will satisfy the business wing's desire for deregulation and a more free market and the reformicons' support for addressing income inequality and increasing opportunity.

The favoritism at play in the complex tax code perpetuates inequality.

Tax expenditures form another opportunity for common ground between the Rubio types and the mainstream. Tax deductions and exclusions, both on the individual and corporate sides of the tax code, remain in place after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Itemized deductions on the individual side disproportionately benefit the wealthy, while corporate tax expenditures help well-connected corporations and sectors, such as the fossil fuel industry.

The favoritism at play in the complex tax code perpetuates inequality. Additionally, a more complicated tax code is less conducive to economic growth than one with lower tax rates and fewer exemptions. Therefore, a simpler tax code with fewer deductions and exclusions would not only create a more level playing field, as the reformicons desire, but also additional economic growth.

A forward-thinking economic program for the Republican Party should marry the best ideas put forward by both supply-siders and reform conservatives. It's possible to take the issues of income inequality and lack of social mobility seriously, while also keeping mainstay conservative economic ideas about the importance of less cumbersome regulations and lower taxes.

Alex Muresianu is a Young Voices Advocate studying economics at Tufts University. He is a contributor for Lone Conservative, and his writing has appeared in Townhall and The Daily Caller. He can be found on Twitter @ahardtospell.

Is this what inclusivity and tolerance look like? Fox News host Tomi Lahren was at a weekend brunch with her mom in Minnesota when other patrons started yelling obscenities and harassing her. After a confrontation, someone threw a drink at her, the moment captured on video for social media.

RELATED: Glenn Addresses Tomi Lahren's Pro-Choice Stance on 'The View'

On today's show, Pat and Jeffy talked about this uncomfortable moment and why it shows that supposedly “tolerant" liberals have to resort to physical violence in response to ideas they don't like.

President Donald Trump has done a remarkable job of keeping his campaign promises so far. From pulling the US from the Iran Deal and Paris Climate Accord to moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, the president has followed through on his campaign trail vows.

RELATED: The media's derangement over Trump has me wearing a new hat and predicting THIS for 2020

“It's quite remarkable. I don't know if anybody remembers, but I was the guy who was saying he's not gonna do any of those things," joked Glenn on “The News and Why it Matters," adding, “He has taken massive steps, massive movement or completed each of those promises … I am blown away."

Watch the video above to hear Glenn Beck, Sara Gonzales, Doc Thompson, Stu Burguiere and Pat Gray discuss the story.

Rapper Kendrick Lamar brings white fan onstage to sing with him, but here’s the catch

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for American Express

Rapper Kendrick Lamar asked a fan to come onstage and sing with him, only to condemn her when she failed to censor all of the song's frequent mentions of the “n-word" while singing along.

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“I am so sorry," she apologized when Lamar pointed out that she needed to “bleep" that word. “I'm used to singing it like you wrote it." She was booed at by the crowd of people, many screaming “f*** you" after her mistake.

On Tuesday's show, Pat and Jeffy watched the clip and talked about some of the Twitter reactions.

“This is ridiculous," Pat said. “The situation with this word has become so ludicrous."