For the last two weeks I have been listening to the Anti-Federalist Papers from www.audioowl.com on the way home from work and during my walks. I had been curious about the constitutionality questions raised by the Health Care Reform bill. My gut was telling me that the constitutional implications from the insurance mandate would have caused a serious fight amongst our founding fathers. I was amazed and entertained by their arguments against expanded Federal powers. Like Cato Institute I feel I should make an attempt to pay homage to their letters with an essay. Since I am technically a farmer in the state of Ohio my essay will be titled, “Ohio Farmer I”. Here are some of my ideas for the essay.
- I suspect that the Anti-Federalists would take great offence at this extension of federal power. As a core belief they believed that the Federal government must necessarily have limited powers to avoid the inevitable devolution into a despotic or dysfunctional government.
- I suspect that the Anti-Federalists would laugh out loud at the willingness of the Supreme Court to enable and encourage increase Federal power grabs by Congress through the legal concept of “double deference”. It is an interesting question whether they would be more repulsed by the power grab by Congress or the willingness of the Supreme Court to look the other way. Randy Barnett discusses this concept of “double deference” on The Volokh Conspiracy and in the Scrutiny Land article.
- I suspect that they would look at the history of these Federal power grabs as inevitably leading to a dysfunctional form of governing that is neither responsible to the people or to the original goals of the legislation. They would see our entitlement crisis as the natural result of a fundamentally flawed approach to governing and budgeting. I doubt they would be able to grasp the size of our budget deficit and the thought process that justified it.
- Finally I suspect that the Anti-Federalists whose ultimate desire was to form a more perfect form of government would have some recommendations to restore balance amongst the branches of government and to reduce these huge intractable political problems with entitlements into much smaller political problems that are much easier to solve.