Notes from Norm: Since 1788, A Better Way Forward For America
Of all of the written national constitutions, the United States Constitution is the shortest and the oldes. Written in 1787, the United States Constitution was signed on September 17th , but it was not until 1788 that it was ultimately ratified.
Since that time there have been more than 11,000 amendments to the Constitution introduced in Congress, with thirty-three of them going to the states to be ratified and twenty-seven of them being successful approved as amendments to the Constitution.
Two hundred and twenty-eight years later, the United States Constitution is as vibrant and essential and necessary to our nation’s future as it was at its ratification.
It’s taken a beating, however, during the Obama Administration, as the President has tirelessly looked for every possible way to ignore it – misinterpret it – and, in some cases, some would suggest even violate it.
Speaker Paul Ryan made it clear from the beginning of his term that he would conduct the people’s business in accordance with the Constitution.
And, this past March, in challenging the dramatic overreach of President Obama in attempting to implement Executive Amnesty, Ryan had this to say: “The Constitution is clear: Presidents don’t write laws. Congress does. Congress writes the laws, and presidents enforce the laws.”
That this President, previous Presidents, as well as future Presidents, may find, and have found, themselves frustrated with the quaint notion that Congress does have a role in the governance of this nation, is as old as the Republic itself.
But, being frustrated is not a legitimate reason to ignore the guiding principles of the United States Constitution.
On the contrary, it should require an even greater commitment to protecting and preserving the values inscribed in the Constitution.
To do otherwise invites the kind of abuse of power that Speaker Ryan articulates by stating, “This president’s pattern of executive overreach has strengthened a fourth branch of government—unelected bureaucrats—that operates with little to no transparency and undermines Congress.”
In his “A Better Way” proposal to restore confidence in America’s future, the Speaker advocates for a return to a governance model that follows the Constitution instead of trying to get around it.
These principles include:
- Put a stop to executive overreach. Subject agencies to more scrutiny from a Congress that writes clear laws and enforces clear lines of authority, a judiciary that expedites legal action against the executive branch, watchdogs that have more power, and a public that knows what it has a right to know.
- Rein in the regulators.Rewrite old rules so that regulations better reflect the will—and the input—of the people. Let’s make the bureaucrats jump through more hoops—and spend less money—for a change.
- Impose new limits on spending. Give Congress and the people the most say—and the final word—over who is spending their money, what it’s being spent on, where it’s being spent, when it’s being spent, and why it’s being spent.
- Increase transparency for taxpayers.Make the government catch up with the times and publish more data about how it does the people’s business. Sunlight really is the best disinfectant.
Just this week the American Action Network (AAN) launched a campaign to call for a stop from the President and federal bureaucrats cutting Medicare.
An example of how that might happen is by an experimental new program that could reduce Medicare Part B payments for seniors’ treatments. This program being set up by unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats could result in reduced access to care for seniors.
As AAN President Mike Shields states in announcing the campaign, “The last thing seniors need is a bureaucrat in Washington deciding what medical care they receive…Yet President Obama and liberals in Washington are working to empower bureaucrats to decide seniors’ access to care.”
Shields reminds America’s seniors that Congress has a role in preventing “…unelected bureaucrats from cutting access to care.”
This Executive Overreach is just one of many instances that the President has ignored his obligations to follow the Constitution.
But, it doesn’t just stop with regulations – it also has to do with spending.
With a national debt that is now in excess of $19 trillion it must be said that America’s Founding Fathers would be turning over in their graves.
Under the Obama Administration we have seen nearly 4,000 regulations – more than $930 billion in new costs to taxpayers – and an additional 670 million paperwork hours to keep up with them!
As for national debt, according to www.factcheck.org: “The federal debt has more than doubled — rising 116 percent — and big annual deficits have continued.”
Finally, it is time for Americans to have access to how its government works. For years we would joke that Americans were equally disinclined to see how hot dogs and their laws were made.
Today, Americans can be assured that they are likely safer from the production of the nation’s hot dogs than they are from the laws that its lawmakers pass!
The United States Constitution is not just a helpful guide full of suggestions for how to run a nation.
It is the very essence of who we are as a nation and is at its core what we are as a nation.
We are stronger when we seek to strengthen our Constitution, not weaken it.
And, we can move America forward, staying the course begun in 1788 when nine American states understood that, of all the ways we could grow our nation, the best way was through the ratification of our Constitution.
It was then, and remains today, a better way.