The forgotten 10th Amendment


I watch the news, read the newspaper, read the opinion columns of the syndicated columnists, and letters on our local newspaper’s editorial page. All this editorializing leaves me in wonderment as to the people’s understanding or rather misunderstanding on the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

To me the 10th Amendment states that if it is not explicitly given to the United States government in the U.S. Constitution then it is the state’s responsibility. Delegated indicates that as a constitutionalist it must be written in the constitution for the federal government to have the power to do anything. If it is not written in the constitution then it is the state’s right or responsibility to act.

From a constitutionalist point of view the federal government has no power to act on entitlement programs such as welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, or health insurance programs such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA/Obamacare). Nowhere in the U.S. Constitution is there an explicit or written authorization for the US Government to enact legislation that would authorize any of these programs.

We went to war over state’s rights over a 150 years ago. We are not at the war point yet in the nullification of state’s rights. But with the continued over-stepping of the federal government many states are considering a constitutional convention to further limit the ability and powers of the federal government.

It is time that the federal government left what are states’ rights items to the states. With entitlement and subsidies being two of the largest cost items in our federal budget that are states’ rights items that should be returned to the states. The states could and will handle these states rights items much better than the federal government has done and is doing!

With entitlement programs we would no longer have a one size fits all as we have today. With each state handling its own states’ rights items we would have as many as fifty different type programs. Each state would have the ability to adapt the entitlement program or health insurance program to the needs of their state.

The problems that entitlement programs are meant to solve are nothing new. Our Founding Fathers had the same problems during their lifetime. With the same problems addressed by entitlement programs existing at the time our Founding Fathers wrote the U.S. Constitution they saw fit not to mention their existence in the U.S. Constitution. The mere fact that they left the existence of programs to address poverty, health care, and such out of the U.S. Constitution meant that these items were to be taken care of by the states as addressed by the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

It is time we relieved our federal government of all the violations of the 10th Amendment and returned them to the states where they actually belong — starting with entitlements.

Ray Shamlin

Rocky Mount

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