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Friday, March 25, 2005

Smokey Briggs

Sage Views

By Smokey Briggs

Congressional baseball/steroid hearings -
proof we need term limits

The national news agencies are rigorously covering the current Congressional hearings regarding steroid use in professional baseball.

I understand why - it makes for good ratings. Americans love baseball, and we love dirt, and we love scandal and this involves all of the above.

Unfortunately, and as usual concerning actions of our national government, the national news agencies have not asked the one question I really want answered.

By what authority is Congress poking its nose into the private lives of major league baseball players?

I can only suppose that from top to bottom FOX, CNN, ABC, CBS etc, have come to the conclusion that the national government can do anything it feels like.

Surely, however, at least one reporter or editor or talking head has at least had a class in Constitutional Law.


If they had, they would know that any action by the federal government, from the president, to the houses of congress, to the judiciary, and even federal agencies, must be authorized by the Constitution.

The Constitution is the bedrock of our voluntary union of states. It creates the three branches of federal government - and in doing so it also empowers and limits those same branches.

Each branch has clearly stated powers and limits on those powers.

Now, I have read the Constitution many times. Everyone who claims to be an American ought to have read it considering its import to our system of self-government.

It is the contract that we all sign as we attain citizenship. And, it is plainly written and easy to understand.

Having read the Constitution I am at a loss as to what Article empowers Congress to investigate steroid use by private citizens engaged in the playing of a game.

It does not exist.

This parade of silliness is simply one more example of our national government and its employees doing whatever feels good at the moment regardless of the lack of any legal authority to do so.

But, we have been playing this game for a long time. Ben Franklin would spin in his grave if he heard that his government had fallen so far from the founding father’s ideal (carefully created with the Constitution) as to be medaling with whether a man playing a boy’s game used a chemical substance to improve his performance.

Like steroids or not, this is not of the national government’s business.

Furthermore, even if it were within the purview of Congress to medal in such private affairs, is this the most important thing on our elected officials’ plates?

Surely there is some small issue that needs attention that has greater import to our country than this.

I don’t know - maybe the continual upward spiral of taxes, our involvement in two wars and several occupations throughout the world, trade deficits, protectionism, free trade - something.

What this little show illustrates beautifully is the necessity of term limits at for national politicians.

No one should be allowed to become a permanent tick on the hide of our nation like Kennedy, Schumer, DeLay or pretty much every other representative and senator holding office.

One term, maybe two and then go home - go home and make a living in the world you helped shape.

In other words, go home and live with the consequences, for better or worse, of your own laws, rules and regulations.

Go home and be a CPA dealing with the tax code you helped create, or be a doctor and deal with the minions that administer Medicaid and Medicare. Go home and open a business and deal with the regulations and rules and taxes you approved. Go home and get a job and watch your paycheck get whittled away every month to pay for tax after tax after tax.

Make your bed - but then lie in it.

Today’s professional politicians make two beds each year, one for themselves, and one for us.

Somehow, I get the feeling that their bed is a bit softer, has nicer pillows than ours and certainly is not authorized by the Constitution.

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