Wednesday, April 21, 2010
should "pay" to provide for the
health of working people.
Such an expenditure is part and
parcel of natural rights established
by our founders in the constitution.
(Article One, sections 8)
The Congress shall have 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; but all duties,
imposts and excises shall be uniform
throughout the United States;
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 a uniform rule of naturalization,
and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies
throughout the United States;
To coin money, 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 captures on land and water;
To raise and support armies,
but no appropriation of money
to that use shall be for a longer
term than two years;
To provide and maintain a navy;
To make rules for the government
and regulation of the land and naval forces;
To provide for calling forth the militia to execute
the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;--And
To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.
In a functioning state, we who are "the government,"
must pay for firemen, police, army, navy, air force,
marines, libraries, schools, streets, regulatory agencies,
environmental protection, courts, public buildings, seaports,
rail systems, airports, utilities, hospitals, universities, and
myriad services and programs which keep a nation functioning.
In the real world, governance is necessary to regulate the
economy, provide for military defense, establish laws,
maintain order, and provide public services. Without these,
a country would be chaos. This essential infrastructure and
these critical services are what keep us strong, safe,
competitive, and moving forward. These facts matter.
"where does it say that a government should pay for this stuff?"
In the United States Constitution.
Here is a comprehensive list of constitutionally proscribed expenditures:
The Federal Government was established by the Constitution
to provide services to the public. While these services vary considerably,
all are designed to improve the lives of the United States population,
as well as people around the world.
Goods and services. The Federal Government's essential duties include defending the United States from foreign aggression, representing U.S. interests abroad, crating and enforcing national laws and regulations, and administering domestic programs and agencies. Workers employed by the Federal Government are responsible for enacting and implementing the programs and performing the services that accomplish these goals, playing a vital role in many aspects of daily life. (While career opportunities in the U.S. Postal Service and the Armed Forces are not covered here, they are described in Handbook statements on Postal Service mail carriers; Postal Service clerks; Postal Service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators; and job opportunities in the Armed Forces.)
Industry organization. More than 200 years ago, the founders of the United States gathered in Philadelphia to create a constitution for a new national government. The Constitution of the United States, ratified by the last of the 13 original States in 1791, created the three branches of the Federal Government and granted certain powers and responsibilities to each. The legislative, judicial, and executive branches were granted equal powers but very different responsibilities that act to keep their powers in balance.
The legislative branch is responsible for forming and amending the legal structure of the Nation. Its largest component is Congress, the U.S. legislative body, which is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. This body includes senators, representatives, their staffs, and various support workers. The legislative branch employs only about 1 percent of Federal workers, nearly all of whom work in the Washington, DC area.
The judicial branch is responsible for interpreting the laws that are established by the legislative branch. The Supreme Court, the Nation's definitive judicial body, makes the highest rulings. Its decisions usually follow the appeal of a decision made by the one of the regional Courts of Appeal, which hear cases appealed from U.S. District Courts, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, or State Supreme Courts. U.S. District Courts are located in each State and are the first to hear most cases under Federal jurisdiction. The judicial branch employs about 2 percent of Federal workers, and unlike the legislative branch, its offices and employees are dispersed throughout the country.
Of the three branches, the executive branch has the widest range of responsibilities. Consequently, it employed about 97 percent of all Federal civilian employees (excluding Postal Service workers) in 2008. The executive branch is comprised of the Executive Office of the President, 15 executive Cabinet departments, and about 70 independent agencies, each of which has clearly defined duties. The Executive Office of the President is composed of several offices and councils that aid the President in policy decisions. These include the Office of Management and Budget, which oversees the administration of the Federal budget; the National Security Council, which advises the President on matters of national defense; and the Council of Economic Advisers, which makes economic policy recommendations.
Each of the 15 executive Cabinet departments administers programs that oversee an aspect of life in the United States. The highest departmental official of each Cabinet department, called the Secretary, is a member of the President's Cabinet. Each department, listed by employment size, is described below and in table 1.
Defense: Manages the military forces that protect our country and its interests, including the Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force and a number of smaller agencies. The civilian workforce employed by the Department of Defense performs various support activities, such as payroll and public relations.
Veterans Affairs: Administers programs to aid U.S. veterans and their families, runs the veterans' hospital system, and operates our national cemeteries.
Homeland Security: Works to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce vulnerability to terrorism, and minimize the damage from potential attacks and natural disasters. It also administers the country's immigration policies and oversees the Coast Guard.
Treasury: Regulates banks and other financial institutions, administers the public debt, prints currency, and collects Federal income taxes.
Justice: Works with State and local governments and other agencies to prevent and control crime and ensure public safety against threats, both domestic and foreign. It also enforces Federal laws, prosecutes cases in Federal courts, and runs Federal prisons.
Agriculture: Promotes U.S. agriculture domestically and internationally, manages forests, researches new ways to grow crops and conserve natural resources, ensures safe meat and poultry products, and leads the Federal anti-hunger programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as the Food Stamp program) and the National School Lunch Program.
Health and Human Services: Performs health and social science research, assures the safety of drugs and foods other than meat and poultry, and administers Medicare, Medicaid, and numerous other social service programs.
Interior: Manages Federal lands, including the national parks, runs hydroelectric power systems, and promotes conservation of natural resources.
Transportation: Sets national transportation policy, plans and funds the construction of highways and mass transit systems, and regulates railroad, aviation, and maritime operations.
Commerce: Forecasts the weather, charts the oceans, regulates patents and trademarks, conducts the census, compiles economic statistics, and promotes U.S. economic growth by encouraging international trade.
Energy: Coordinates the national use and provision of energy, oversees the production and disposal of nuclear weapons, and plans for future energy needs.
Labor: Enforces laws guaranteeing fair pay, workplace safety, and equal job opportunity, administers unemployment insurance (UI) to State UI agencies, regulates pension funds; and collects and analyzes economic data.
State: Oversees the Nation's embassies and consulates, issues passports, monitors U.S. interests abroad, and represents the United States before international organizations.
Housing and Urban Development: Funds public housing projects, enforces equal housing laws, and insures and finances mortgages.
Education: Monitors and distributes financial aid to schools and students, collects and disseminates data on schools and other education matters, and prohibits discrimination in education.
Numerous independent agencies perform tasks that fall between the jurisdictions of the executive departments. Some smaller, but well- known, independent agencies include the Peace Corps, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Communications Commission. Although the majority of these agencies are fairly small, employing fewer than 1,000 workers (many employ fewer than 100), some are quite large. The largest independent agencies are:
Social Security Administration: Operates old age, survivor, and disability insurance programs.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration: Oversees aviation research and conducts exploration and research beyond the Earth's atmosphere.
Environmental Protection Agency: Runs programs to control and reduce pollution of the Nation's water, air, and lands.
General Services Administration: Manages and protects Federal Government property and records.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: Examines insuring deposits and promoting sound banking practices.
Office of Personnel Management: Oversees issues related to human resources, such as hiring practices, health insurance policies, and workforce performance evaluation.