When the country was founded, the role of the federal government was far smaller than it is today. Today the federal government is a bloated monster soaking up several trillion dollars a year in taxes or by deficit spending. Much of what the federal government could be better done by the states. Also the states can’t do “deficit financing”, but the federal government can and does, which causes a steady decline in the value of the dollar. The states have agricultural departments, environmental departments, negotiate with other states issues such as use and protection of water resources. Education, regulation of business such as insurance is done by the states. State governments also have taxing power, collect gasoline taxes, play a role in the financing of the public school system. including state universities. With the exception of defense, treaties with other countries, virtually everything else could be done by the states, most likely now better than it is done by the federal government in Washington, D.C.
Looking at the way the Constitution was written, the role of the states was considerably larger than it is today. While national Congressional Representatives were selected by popular vote, the Senate was selected by state governments for the simple reason that that they would better reflect the interests of their own state until the passage of the 17th Amendment. Also the federal government until 1913 depended mostly upon tariffs for its revenues (with exception of the Civil War where there was an income tax) while states generally used various types of taxes, most commonly the property tax in our earlier years. Taxation was also considerably far less than it is today. Today however things are considerably different, with far higher levels of taxation than before. We are also today one of the most militarily aggressive nations on Earth, with military stationed in 135 countries, and a defense budget of nearly a trillion dollars when everything related to the military and defense is figured in. An amount equal to what the rest of the world spends on military and defense. Too, additionally, the federal government has now taken on to itself far more powers than what was originally granted to it by the Constitution, including overturning the wishes of the people of the 50 states whenever it wishes to do so! Certainly not the way those who fought in our Revolution wanted things to go… We ended up with a government more oppressive than that of King George the Third!
America was founded on the basis of freedom and self ownership. Yes, slavery existed, but that issue was finally resolved in our Civil War at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives on both sides. Libertarianism as a political philosophy is almost uniquely “American”, although it offers the same benefits to people regardless of where they live. Unfortunately over the 224 years since the founding of the United States of American under the Constitution, we have moved a long ways from the freedom loving people we once were. Our President has seized upon the Commerce clause in the Constitution to impose upon the American a mandate to purchase a product produced by the US private health insurance industry. A product that leaves a great deal to be desired, as roughly 20% of the money spent on health insurance premiums ends up paying bloated salaries of corporate CEO’s and providing dividends to stockholders. The fact that the Supreme Court went along with this implies that there is realistically no limit to what the federal government can force people to do. The federal government is therefore using force and violence to get its way, forcing people to purchase a product that is seriously flawed and certainly not woth the cost charged by the private health insurance industry. What we really need is a Constitutional Convention that would allow us to write a new Constitution, one that would limit the role of the federal government to what our Founding Fathers felt was its true role. Nor will we be dumb enough this time to allow something like the Commerce Clause, which has been seriously abused for almost a century now! Realistically, the federal government should be limited to the major roles it had when the country was founded, that was national defense and delivering the mail. Everything else should be the preserve of the states. Who are quite capable of making whatever agreements are necessary among themselves regarding trade, pollution, and everything else. If some states want to allow citizens to carry concealed weapons, that should be their own decision. If some states want to allow the legalization of certain drugs, that should be their own decision to make. Then if someone happened to not like what his or her state was doing, they would be free to move to another state that might better suit their wishes. If a state wanted to create a system of single payer health care for its citizens instead of relying on private health insurance companies, that would be their decision. The people of a state can far easier control the actions of their state government than they can control the increasingly aggressive actions of the federal government. Too, each state can set up the form of taxation that it feels best suits its needs. This makes far more sense than allowing the federal government to make all the decisions for everyone as it is doing now. And under such a system, an American President would not have the power that they have now to make decisions for over three hundred million people!