2Center or American Progress | What i the Tea Party Wins?
What’s at stake
Te ea Pary imagines a consiuion ocused enirely upon he enh Amendmen, which provides ha “Te powers no delegaed o he Unied Saes by he Consiuion,nor prohibied by i o he Saes, are reserved o he Saes respecively, or o hepeople”—which is why heir narrow vision o he naion’s power is oen reerred o as“enherism.”
In layman’s erms, he enh Amendmen is simply a reminder ha heConsiuion conains an iemized lis o ederal powers—such as he power o regulaeinersae commerce or esablish pos oces or make war on oreign naions—and any-hing no conained in ha lis is beyond Congress’s auhoriy.Te ea Pary, however, believes hese powers mus be read oo narrowly o permimuch o he progress o he las cenury. Tis issue brie examines jus some o heessenial programs ha leading ea Pariers would declare unconsiuional.
Social Security and Medicare
Te Consiuion gives Congress he power “o lay and collec axes, duies, imposs andexcises, o pay he debs and provide or he common deense and general welare o heUnied Saes,” hus empowering he ederal governmen o levy axes and leverage heserevenues or programs such as Social Securiy and Medicare. A disurbingly large numbero eleced ocials, however, insis ha hese words don’ acually mean wha hey say.In a speech o he conservaive American Legislaive Exchange Council, exas Gov.Rick Perry lised a broad swah o programs ha “conradic he principles o limied,consiuional governmen ha our ounders esablished o proec us.”
Gov. Perry’s lisincludes Medicare and “a bankrup social securiy sysem, ha Americans undersandis essenially a Ponzi scheme on a scale ha makes Bernie Mado look like an amaeur.” And Perry is hardly he only high-ranking eleced ocial o share his view.Sen. Mike Lee (R-U) mocked Presiden Franklin Delano Roosevel or callingupon he ederal governmen o provide “a decen reiremen plan” and “healh care” because “he Consiuion doesn’ give Congress any o hose powers.”
Rep. BobGoodlate (R-VA), who engineered he House o Represenaives’s dramaic read-ing o he Consiuion earlier his year, claimed ha Medicare and Social Securiy are “no in he Consiuion” and are only allowed o exis because “he cours havesreched he Consiuion o say i’s in he general welare clause.”
Sen. om Coburn(R-OK) said we should eliminae Medicare because “ha’s a amily responsibiliy, noa governmen responsibiliy.”
Because his erroneous view o our ounding documen is rooed in an exaggeraed view o he enh Amendmen’s saes righs’ provision, many so-called enhers claim ha