I think few Americans have read the Constitution that our elected officials have sworn to uphold. Those of us that have read it rarely stop and think about what it doesn't say. I attended a lecture about overspending in Texas. The speaker, Joann Fleming, said something along the lines of, "We need to squeeze the government back into a Constitution size box." She was speaking of the Texas State Constitution, but it got me thinking about the U. S. Constitution. So I went through and looked at it again. What if we limited the federal government to a Constitution size box? What would that look like? A shockingly different federal government than we have today. Let's take a look.
These are the ONLY matters Congress would deal with. EVERYTHING ELSE would be left to the states as per the 10th Amendment.
National Defense- Congress has the constitutional authority to send Letters of Marque and Reprisal (basically telling foreign intities off), declare war, and punish piracy. Congress has the constitutional authority to maintain an army and a navy. (2011 proposed budget- $738 billion, veterans $112 billion)
Immigration- Congress has the authority to pass laws about who can come into this country from other countries and how aliens can become citizens.
Bankruptcy- Congress has the authority to pass bankruptcy laws for citizens and businesses.
Post offices and roads- Congress has the authority to make sure the mail can get from one place to another throughout the country. (Transportaion in 2011 proposed budget $88 billion)
Patents and copyrights- Congress has the authority to pass laws protecting the intellectual property of citizens and businesses.
Appoint courts- Congress has the authority to decide where courts will be (but they do not appoint judges).
Laws for federal areas- Congress has the authority to make laws for federal areas such as DC, forts, arsenals, and dockyards.
National currency- Congress has the constitutional authority to mint coins for use within the United States.
In order to fulfill these obligations, Congress may lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises. They may also borrow money. (Net interest in 2011 proposed budget- $251 billion)
If Congress concerned itself with only these things, it would shrink our national budget buy about two thirds (or two trillion dollars).