The article (Barnett 2009) on federal amendments is very important because it sheds light on the responsibilities of the federal government and those of state governments. Many are times when the American government has been criticized for going beyond its designated mandates. This is because individual states feel that they are not able to exercise their freedom fully due to interruptions from the federal government.
Michigan has boldly expressed its opinion regarding this matter because this state feels that the federal government is imposing policies that are not included in the constitution. All the fifty states have their respective parliaments or legislature which can be useful in pushing for changes in the constitution if they feel that the laws imposed by the federal government are not appropriate. For the changes in the constitution to occur the state parliament must gather support from other states for their petitions to be considered valid. This means that the states have the authority to reject decisions made by the federal government. But the number that can call for amendments must be the majority of the states, say like three quarter of all fifty states. The above mentioned authority conferred to the states by the constitution makes the congress tremble because congress men and women fear that they won’t have any powers over the states hence they would be gagged. The main agenda here is the evenness or equality on how the powers are shared between the federal government and the states governments without interfering with the rights of their people.
One of the main issues that have been bothering most people is federal taxation and a suggestion has been brought forward that could see it being scrapped off and its place be replaced by sales tax. I think this is a good idea because no one can evade such taxes because whether one likes it or not the commodity prices will incorporate taxes such that the people do not have to account for their taxes because they pay them when purchasing goods and services. Barnett (2009) has some suggestions which can help create equality between the federal government and the individual states without interfering with the rights of people.
The first suggestion states that the federal government has authority to control the events that involve more than one state. However, the second suggestion clearly explains that the federal government can not interfere with matters concerning an individual state at all. This policy ensures that individual states have full control of events within their respective borders.
Perhaps this is because the happenings taking place in one nation may not affect the other states. The third suggestion explains that although the congress is in charge of monetary allocations to individual states it can not dictate how that money will be used in those states. This means that each state must establish its projects that are urgent and thus give them the first priority.
This is because the state legislatures are the ones that are familiar with the problems affecting their people hence they are the most appropriate people to make budgetary allocations. The above statement means that when the people feel that their state legislature is failing them they should not blame the federal government but should instead clarify issues with their respective representatives into the congress. This article is really an eye opener to many because most people don not understand the different roles and authorities that are conferred to the federal government and the state legislature. Section five of amendment means that the judges have a collective obligation to monitor the authority of the congress by vetting its executions to determine whether they are justified or not. This implies that the judges can reject ideas being proposed by the congress if they don’t safeguard the freedom of individuals. What has really caught my attention is the fact that the federal tax can be eliminated. There are so many people in the recent past who have been prosecuted for failing to submit tax returns documents. If this policy is implemented such cases will never happen again.
This article (Barnett 2009) has clearly defined the boundaries between the congress and the individual states. Before reading this article I thought that the states had to consult the federal government before implementing anything. But this can only happen if the intended action may involve other states. For instance, the states can not go to declare war because that is the duty of federal government. Landy and Milkis (2008) argue that this is quite logical because the federal government is the one that manages the military operations. This means that the military has central point of authority. This magnitude of freedom is important because in as much the states are different they may have varied agendas in their respective states and the congress may not understand the relevance of certain issues to a given state.
Setting a boundary for the congress ensures that it does not interfere with the progress of states. Engaging the congress in events between various states is important because incase of any disagreements the congress can be consulted as an intermediary in solving the problems that may arise. This implies that the federal government ensures that states abide to the terms of agreements established at the onset of partnership. The congress here is meant to foster unity among the states and serves as an umbrella for shielding all of its member states.
Furthermore, if all policies were to left in the hands the states would loose greatly because we all know that there are hardly any laws that are passed in the congress. Some of the questions raised by the author have been resolved, such as the one about equality between the authority of the federal government and that of state because the boundaries are meant to avoid any clashes involving the two entities. On the other hand, the question about whether the suggested policies can be implemented has been left unresolved because the author does not highlight on the willingness of the states and the congress to adopt the policies.
Barnett, Randy. 2009.
“The Case for a Federalism Amendment”. The Wall Street Journal, April 23, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124044199838345461.
html (accessed February 13. 2011). Landy, Marc and Milkis Sidney.
2008. American Government: Balancing Democracy and Rights. 2nd ed. New York: Cambridge University Press.