Sunday, November 11, 2012

How Should Republicans Govern the Next Four Years

I am writing five days after the November 6th election. Reading as much of the post-election analysis as my time admits I can't help but wonder how the Republicans in the House, Senate and in the state held offices might try to govern in light of the re-election of Barack Obama and the retention of the Senate by the Democrats.

Only a few items come to mind. In no particular order, the States should muscle up their 10th Amendment rights. The coercive scheme in place between the state and federal government that has gone on for decades should be challenged. States are co-equal units of government with more authority over a larger scope of government responsibility than is commonly known. Time for a few trips to the woodshed behind the supreme court.

The House of Representatives needs to understand the reasons that the House was designed with two features that are unlike their counterparts in the Senate and the other branch, the Executive. Those are popular vote and power of the purse. The popular vote, coming every two years as it does, was a means of keeping government close to the will of the people. It is the design for true self-government. The Senate gets six year terms and are voted in statewide which can be an effective insulator from the will of the people. The Executive being chosen nationally for four years is also insulated from a close association with the people.

The other feature in the Constituion designed for the House of Representatives is the power of the purse. All bills containing provisions to tax or spend must originate in the House. This power is designed to direct the efforts of the government to the will of the people. The current house leadership exercises this power somewhat weakly. When the Speaker says that the House cannot pass a budget without the concurrence of the Senate and President he is correct. When he says he must bend to their will he is not correct. That may be the compromising way to sign a budget into law but it is not a requirement that the House needs to compromise. The House can and should hold the government hostage to its budgetary and tax policy direction. Its a duty they have as evidenced by the power they were given.

The Executive function is to carry out the will of the people as expressed through their House representatives. The Senate function is not to trump the House but to curb its tendencies to extremes. When either the Senate or the Executive attempt to co-opt the power of the House to set tax and spend policy it is the duty of the House to shut government down pending a return to their rightful duties, the Senate and Executive. This also ought to be the check designed to curb the power grabs of the bureaucracy. The House is the protectorate branch of the people. The Senate is the protectorate branch of the States. The Executive is the protectorate branch of the political entity called the United States. The constitution empowers each to be able to fulfill their duty and checks them each from usurping the powers of the others, provided the others jealously guard their powers. 

Its up to the House to protect us during the next four years.