Share

Opinion: Columnists

Only drunk dialers seriously think Congress has just one job

|
Congress,Gregory Kane,Columnists,Analysis,Constitutionality,Government Shutdown

Today, civics class, we'll tackle the subject of exactly how many jobs it is that our Congress has.

The latest liberal rant is that Congress has “only one job” – to fund the federal government. Actually, the “key constitutional duty" of the Congress is to act as a check and balance on the executive and judicial branches of the federal government.

Scott Goodstein is the founder of the mobile ad firm Revolution Messaging, which set up the web site drunkdialcongress.org during the shutdown. One of the suggested talking points for “drunk dialing” Congress was “Congress, you had one job to do and you failed!”

Goodstein is a former campaign worker for President Obama, and I suspect Goodstein has never read the U.S. Constitution. Nor does he have a clue about the checks-and-balances stuff.

I also suspect that few of the people on this “Congress, you had one job” rant have ever read the Constitution. If they have, then they must have overlooked Section 8 of Article I, which lists most of the jobs the Congress has.

The list contains no fewer than 15 items. That’s a lot more than one.

The shame of this is that it’s not even necessary to go out and buy pocket-sized editions of the Constitution — conservatives have to do this often, to explain the document to liberals, who don’t read the thing (no surprise there: They didn’t read the Affordable Care Act, either) — because you can access the document online.

The first item listed in Section 8, Article I reads like this:

“The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.”

Here are the next eight items. You read that right: Eight. Not one.

“To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

“To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian Tribes;

“To establish an uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;

“To coin money, to regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;

“To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;

“To establish post offices and post roads;

“To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

“To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

“To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;

“To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning capture on Land and Water;”

There are seven more items under that last one, which must come as a shock to Obama, who thinks he has the power to declare war.

Now I defy any of the “Congress had only one job” ranters to scroll through Section 8 of Article I and tell me where it says Congress has the power to compel individual citizens to purchase a product or service those citizens might not want or need.

It’s not among those listed. The founding fathers were wise enough not to grant such power to either the legislative, executive or judicial branches, because they understood one thing the “Congress had only one job” mob doesn’t:

The U.S. Constitution was created to limit the power of the federal government, not expand it.

CORRECTION: In the original version of this story, Scott Goodstein's name was misspelled as Scott Goldstein.

GREGORY KANE, a Washington Examiner columnist, is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.
View article comments Leave a comment