AP Government Post #4

Read Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution.  Does Congress have too much power?  Is the “necessary and proper” clause outdated?  Are there enough checks and balances today?  Are there any powers of Congress that you would limit?  If yes, which ones?

Article 1 Section 8

This post will close on March 9 at 5:00 PM.  Please refer to the rubric on how points are earned.

88 thoughts on “AP Government Post #4

  1. With the power that congress currently has they still can’t get anything done, and by many standards they have too much power. So instead we should just take away said power cause they can’t do nothin’. Idea; give everything to the private sector and see what happens.

    • While that ending idea seems pretty intriguing… I do think that Congress has done pretty well since its creation, and that there is some point in keeping it around and giving them power. Better for Congress to handle things like the commerce than our Presidential Pumpkin.

      • I agree with Sydney. Although the little interaction our class had at the House didn’t necessarily show them doing any work, Congress has gotten our country this far and they will continue to do so in whatever manner they choose.

    • What would happen is that poor people would no longer be able to afford basic services that the government used to take care of. Everyone looks out for themselves and tries to make as much profit as possible- that’s why the government has to come in and fix externalities. This was like a whole chapter in naked economics.

    • Your idea is very unique, and it would be interesting to see how that would work, but I think if something like that happened people with the money, social status, and over advantages would act out of their own self-interests instead of for everyone’s benefit.

    • While I truly believe that the wording of Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution is out of date and is worded too loosely to account for its potential, I am also of the opinion that giving Congress’s power to the private sector would lead to hugely divided social classes, disproportionate taxes, and an even larger increase in the Capitalist nature of the U.S. economy (none of which would be beneficial to Americans). I think we should keep the power in Congress, but amend the Necessary and Proper Clause to better suit the current social and political landscape of the United States.

    • Hey Luke, your libertarian is showing. All kidding aside, I firmly believe that there are some issues, like healthcare, that cannot be profit or explotation driven, as the current state of themedical industry is entirely based around taking advantage of disenfranchised or poor citizens, and forcing them into bankruptcy with ridiculous fees. I believe Congress has the “necessary” powers needed to help with issues that are too important to be privitized and made into “for-profit”

      Personally, if a hospital or university advertised as “for-profit” I would be weary, as the intent shifts from providing the best possible care/teaching, to the cheapest and most efficient, which for education or your life, may not be most ideal. Surgery, hypothetically, can be done completely without an anaesthetic, and would most likely be cheaper and more efficient, but would I? Very unlikely.

    • I think that you’re right we can’t get anything done and I don’t think we ever will at this point.

    • I agree that congress can’t get anything done as it is. It is quite humiliating and i wonder what more “politically sound” countries think of this situation. I am not sure we should take away the power of the congress, rather modify it.

  2. I think that Congress has a lot of power, but I do think that the responsibility is well-placed. I don’t think that any part of Article 1 Section 8 is too outdated. While things such as the 2nd Amendment may be partially outdated since the invention of more advanced weapons, the powers invested in Congress in Section 8 of Article 1 are still pretty applicable to current day situations. I do think that there are enough checks and balances, because while the government may seem generally dysfunctional recently, it still works to an extent. I wouldn’t limit any powers of Congress because they seem to have a handle on things.

      • (You might have been joking in which case I apologize) I feel like you shouln’t be so dismissive of this issue. Caring about your gun rights is one thing but being dismissive comes off as callous, as if you don’t care about the people who have died as a result if gun violence. I’m not saying you should become pro-gun regulation, but that a lot of people have been hurt and it’s cruel to dismiss that.

    • I agree with a majority of the points you brought up except for the 2nd amendment. The 2nd amendment was put in place in order for American people to protect themselves. The advancement of technology is just a given with the passage of time.

    • I agree that the responsibility and power is well-placed. It is true that some parts such as the second amendment are outdated, but that is just because times have evolved and our technology is becoming more advanced. The powers seem to be working harmoniously.

    • I agree and I’d like to add: personally, I think that congress functions better than any other system created even though it may seem out-of-whack sometimes. It does do a successful job of keeping most’s beliefs in mind. For instance with the guns they are doing an exquisite job keeping the NRA’s beliefs in mind. I also think that the second amendment may be in need of slight ratification.

    • I agree, Congress may seem like it has a lot of power. Checks and balances are put into place specifically for the reason to prevent abuse.

    • I agree the power given to Congress is very important and can be too much, but they divide it well so no one has too much power.

    • I see where you’re coming from with Article 1 section 8 being outdated because it was written so long ago, but I’d have to disagree in saying it is totally outdated. This section is like a foundation for Congress to start from, and the issues we have today can still be handled using section 8, just modified to the situation.

  3. Congress does not have too much power. Everything the Congress has the power to do is justified to be weilded by the highest power in the land. The Necessary and Proper clause allows the government to do what is needed for the people so it is not outdated. The balances of the government are in check and none are too powerful.

    • I agree. I believe that they have everything under control for the most part and know what they’re doing.

    • The United States has run itself fairly well so far. I would be inclined to agree that checks and balances are working well and that the necessary and proper clause is needed to assure a stable future.

      • I don’t know if I necessarily agree with the statement that the United States has run itself fairly well so far. With the current Constitution, we haven’t been able to achieve many of the important reforms/laws that need to be created. Would you feel any inclination to make changes to fix the hold (for all intents and purposes) on passing many bills?

    • I agree, it is written in such a way that it can evolve as time goes on, and that the government has the ability to what’s best for the people

    • Yeah, everything congress has the right to do is justified by the Constitution. The necessary and proper clause within the Constitution allows Congress power to do what they decide is necessary, but they are limited in their decisions with the other two branches of government.

  4. I think congress has a limited power and they follow proper regulations. I don’t believe the necessary and proper clause is outdated because wee still use the principles to this day. I think it would be better if we included more checks and balances to fulfill all the people. I wouldn’t limit any powers given to the government from my viewpoint.

  5. I read through the article and I wasn’t upset by any of the powers given to congress. They were generally all too important to give to one man or woman (the president) and I don’t think the free market would take care of any of them fairly/without creating externalities. I think that congress should be able to get more done but that the problem isn’t their check, balances, or duties- we simply need to see more bipartisan lawmaking. There are many things that both parties, as well as most americans, agree on and we should all encourage our representatives to focus on those issues.

    • I agree that all of the powers given to the Congress would be too much for one single person to take on, like if they were given to the president, which is why the system works well enough and is not outdated.

    • Very good points here. We may think that Congress isn’t using any of its power because we don’t see or hear of them doing much now-a-days, but its just because, like you said, we need more bipartisan lawmaking. Many of the issues that the people want to see dealt with affect both political parties, so hopefully they can come to some form of agreement.

    • I agree that all of the powers given to Congress are fair, and that the branches are balanced well. While I like the idea of bipartisanship, there is unfortunately no way to enforce cooperation if one party has control.

    • I agree that most of these powers are too important to give to one person. I think Congress does not need any massive revision.

  6. As I read the article and section of the Constitution that was linked for this discussion post (Article 1 Section 8), I thought that it seemed Congress had a lot of power over the government. But once you put it into perspective with how much is left to the states and individuals to decide, Congress doesn’t have too much power. A lot of the times, its almost like Congress has too many restrictions and contradictions that they can’t pass anything or make changes. I don’t think the “necessary and proper” clause is outdated, and there aren’t any changes or limitations that I can think of that would make Congress more beneficial for the people.

    • I agree that if you put the role of Congress into perspective, it does not seem that they have as much power. Like you said, much of the fate of this country is placed into the hands of the constituents. I also agree that no changes need to be made in order to make Congress more beneficial for the people.

      • I agree as well the power that Congress holds now is kept in check within itself as it is a multitude of people representing may more and they fall under the scrutiny of those who they were chosen by. This is the best thing we have for now.

    • I agree with you, when you look at everything as a whole and put things into perspective congress really isn’t as influential as it seems. Its kinda funny to listen to people criticize congress for have to many powers but they can never get anything done (or so it seems like).

  7. There is a lot of power given to the government, but it is important that they have the power. They are put under restrictions though that keep them within limits and there was nothing in Article 1 Section 8 that I felt should be changed. The “necessary and proper” clause is not outdated.

    • So far the government has been functioning somewhat efficiently so as long as the people are safe then I think we are fine.

  8. Congress does have a lot of power, but it is not abused nor is it hindering their ability to perform as a part of the government. Some ideas of the second amendment are outdated, solely because as times have changed, so have technologies. I believe that there are enough checks and balances in our government today because not one branch is overpowering another.

    • I agree that the second amendment is outdated and the interpretations need to be changed. It is difficult to change it though.

    • I agree in that the government has balanced branches still. No branch has rose above the other and made decisions without the consent of the others too often.

  9. I don’t believe the congress has too much power considering the constitution was made to give basic rights to the citizens and giving them the power to make sure that the nation doesn’t become too powerful, which is shown in the 2nd amendment which is, a well regulated militia that is necessary for the security of a free State. I don’t believe it is outdated either, the 8th article helps to set up things like post offices, roads, a Navy, and even the power to declare war, having those powers centralized by a powerful government helps prevent too much power spread through the states.

    • I agree about your views on being outdated. There are many things in the 8th article that can help us in our world today and forever. There is always going to be something that has to be fixed.

    • I agree that the responsibilities you mentioned (roads, navy, etc) are better left to the federal government than the states. Giving the individual states those powers caused massive problems under the Articles of Confederation, which is why they are explicitly given to Congress in the Constitution.

    • I feel that congress has the power needed to run the country, but sometimes it feels like they have no idea how to use it efficiently. As the great Uncle Ben once said, “With great power comes great responsibility”

  10. I do not believe that Congress has too much power as they are a body of the people. They were elected to Congress by their people and execute the needs/wants of the many. Congress votes on these actions in any case so theyre power is in check. I would only limit their power to declare war and have that fall under all the branches collectively.

    • I agree that declaring war should be taken more seriously and should have to be put through multiple branches to become official

    • I don’t necessarily agree with you. While the ability to declare war is a powerful one, I believe it should remain under congress’s control. The Judicial court has no authority as far as policy making goes, and thus shouldn’t be in charge of this decision (seeing as how their main job is to regulate our constitutional rights). The Executive Branch is one person, the president, and based on our current presidents foreign policy beliefs, I don’t want him near this ability. In the past, the decision to go to war in congress has been used a total of 11 times during 5 conflicts. Those being being: War of 1812, war on mexico in 1846, Spanish-American war, WWI, WWII. While the United States has had conflicts in Iraq, the last time congress used this power was around 70 years ago simply because of the huge ramifications war has on a nation.

      • I agree that the Supreme Court shouldn’t be involved in declaring war! Although they aren’t incapable of making that decision, they are appointed to their spots (not voted) and their function in the government is to interpret the Constitution, not represent the people. I also agree that our current president is particularly unfit for this particular responsibility, considering his long history of reckless decisions and probable draft dodging.

  11. I don’t think that congress has too much power because they have a lot of restrictions in what they can do, keeping them from being able to do too much. However, they do have enough power that funding for public things such as parks, schools, and funding to help the less fortunate, are taken care of and funded with little taken from individuals. However, with less control, I feel like we would see less funding for these things and these things would be owned by private businesses, making it so all schools had tuition and you have to pay to get into parks.

  12. The necessary and proper clause is intentionally vague, the framers could not hope to foresee the future needs of the United States and we still can’t predict what will be necessary for our future. While checks and balances are significant, they are easy to subvert. Gerrymandering allows Congress to be made up of people who do not necessarily represent the people. How Congress members are elected should be fixed, not the abilities of Congress.

  13. I think that congress is fine as it is, they do seem to have problems deciding funding issues though. I don’t think anything is outdated. I think the checks and balances is fine as each branch still has to respond to each other to get stuff done and none are overpowering the others.

    • I agree that Congress is fine and not outdated. The concept of it still works in today’s society and it doesn’t need to be changed.

    • I can see how they have problems on deciding on funding issues because they don’t know of the results and could be wary of them.

  14. I personally believe that congress doesn’t have too much power. While we all see that congress has various abilities, the responsibility regarding the usage of these abilities falls upon several committees in congress. In addition, our congress is divided by a house and a senate, which of those two, are divided by the Democrats and Republicans. Because of this, progress produced by congress is very little to none. For example, if we look at gun control, we see that no new laws have been evoked strictly because of the division of our congress. This isn’t essentially a bad thing, while I do believe that some regulation of guns needs to occur, people from the republican party in congress make sure that our 2nd amendment right isn’t infringed upon. The overall point being, congress is not overpowered and its currently abilities are under strict checks and balances.

    • I agree with you that because Congress itself is further divided, there’s a balance within it. The benefit to this is that Congress cannot do anything without a majority agreeing, but this also means that it takes a long time for anything to get approved.

  15. Congress does not hold too much power; they are used to keep the other branches of government in line and in order. They have the ability to fund projects and pass laws that apply to the citizens. Their method of doing so may be different from what we believe the way it should be done, but they can act reasonable. The things they do are often for the people and the constitution set it up that way.

  16. Congress is not too powerful. Multiple of the powers given in Article 1 Section 8 are those that were left to the states under the Articles of Confederation, and caused significant issues (power to tax, regulate commerce, coin money, etc). Other powers are those best decided by the people rather than the President, because of the weight of the decisions (declaring war, maintaining an army). And, as evident by the multiple government shutdowns in recent years, the two party system means Congressmen serve as checks to the power of other Congressmen. So, although the current Congress system has the ability to be overpowered, it isn’t an issue in today’s society.

    • I agree with you that congressmen balance each other out due to the two party system. Although this can be a problem when one party dominates both the House and the Senate, I think that when there is a balanced number of members from each party, it is a good way to limit the abuse of power.

  17. I don’t think Congress has too much power (not to be misunderstood with “they do right with their current powers”). Their power is limited by two other branches of government and each individual within Congress is limited by individuals with opposing ideas. The ‘necessary and proper’ clause is not outdated either because it is necessary for Congress to be able to do their job. I do think there are enough checks and balances, even enough so that nothing ever gets done. I’m not sure there are enough checks and balances that aren’t corrupt, but I haven’t found a way around that yet. Implementing another source of checks and balances would probably have no effect anyway. If I were to limit certain powers of Congress I think I would limit their ability to spend so much on the military and the ability to punish pirates (shouldn’t that be taken care of by a court), also I would limit their ability to make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces (although I’m not totally sure how I would limit that.

  18. I don’t think that congress has too much power. Although it may see a lot, there are still restrictions to the things they can do. I also don’t believe that the necessary and proper clause is outdated. It was probably well thought out when it was first made, so no need to change it. I’m not sure if there are too much or too little checks and balances, but if in the future there is need for more we will be able to do make another. There are no powers too powerful because they have restrictions to help with that.

      • I agree with you that the current powers are not too powerful due to checks and balances, but I do not think that the right to declare war should be held solely to Congress.

    • I agree that the clauses and the government are not out of date. With the restrictions it also grants the people power to change.

  19. Congress does not have too much power because we have the system of checks and balances to prevent one branch from doing whatever it wants. While the article does allow many powers to Congress, there are also many things that are left to the states. Congress cannot do anything without reason or going through multiple hoops. Although society has changed a lot since the Constitution was written, the way that it was designed still works for today.

    • I agree in that the Constitution is not outdated for this time, nothing has gone substantially wrong so there is no reason to revise something that is good. It would cause more problems and time.

    • I also believe that even though society has changed, the design for congress is still effective in modern days.

    • I agree that the system isn’t as overpowered as it seemed and that the system of checks and balances does keep things in check.

  20. I think congress congress has the powers their supposed to. The checks and balances restrict some of the powers from each branch which, i think helps keep things in order when it come to power. There’s a possibility the “necessary and proper ” could become outdated in the far future but, as of now it fine.

  21. I do not think that Congress has too much power. Everything is regulated in a qay that we do not have to worry about abuse. Many of the issues average citizens relate to are controlled by the state legislature anyways, and is seen as more accesable to us.

  22. I believe that the powers given to Congress by the Constitution aren’t as powerful as they seem to be. I think that these powers are in place for Congress to protect the country and allows the government to have some form of efficiency governing. I believe that the necessary and proper clause is necessary for Congress to govern and protect the rights given by the Constution and isn’t outdated. There doesn’t seem to be any laws that should be fixed.

  23. After reading Article 1 Section 8, I believe Congress does not have too much power. The United States have not had many big issues with the role of Congress in their history, so I do not believe the clauses are outdated. Checks and balances still works because again, there have not been huge issues with the balance of power. Personally I would not limit any power of Congress because my life is not too bad right now, so Congress can stay the way it is.

    • Yes Audrey, there doesn’t seem to be many problems created by Congress, besides those from lack of action. I’m sure there are aspects of Congress deep down that could be changed but it does seem to be mostly neutral/helpful for the country.

  24. I do not believe that Congress has too much power. Within Congress, the House and the Senate act as Checks and Balances for one another. The Necessary and Proper Clause is not outdated because our country needs laws to be implemented and held to a standard. There are enough Checks and Balances today because the duties and processes of each branch have remained the same. I would not limit any of the powers of Congress because if we were to limit their power, then the other branches would become too powerful.

    • I agree that limiting Congress’s power might allow the other branches to gain ore power. Either that, or bills would take even longer to pass and no one would get anything done.

    • I like the idea brought up that other branches could become too powerful, and that other unforeseen problems could arise out of a weaker congnress. I feel like it has worked decently well so far so I don’t see a point in changing something for the possibility of it becoming better with the chance of everything changing for the worse.

  25. Although Congress does have a lot of power, they also have a lot of responsibilities. I do not think their powers including the Necessary and Proper Clause are outdated. I would not limit any of the current powers of Congress, but rather implement more checks and balances if they start to abuse their power.

    • I agree that if Congress steps out of line, we apply more checks and balances. I also second the notion of Congress having many responsibilities. They need to have all of these powers to meet the goals expected of them.

  26. I think that the power that Congress has can seem very paradoxical; at a glance, Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution (as well as the Necessary and Proper Clause) appears to be incredible outdated and give Congress excessive and seemingly unlimited power to a point while it seems like in reality, Congress almost never actually accomplishes anything. On that topic, I do feel like the Necessary and Proper does need to be amended to account for the social and political changes that have occurred since the creation of this section. I would suggest implementing a full-review system including the President and the Supreme Court before creating new laws to “carry into Execution the foregoing Power…”
    I do feel like there is a very blatant need for some sort of checks and balances in Congress because of the constantly disproportionate number of Republicans and Democrats. This has proven to inhibit the passing of important bills purely because of partisanship, and I think there should be an additional form of checks and balances in place specifically in Congress to promote greater facilitation of necessary laws. There are not currently any Congressional powers that I really think need to be limited besides those that I mentioned with regard to the Necessary and Proper Clause.

    • While I agree that partisanship is one of the largest problems with the US government, if not the largest, there is nothing that the Constitution can do to amend this issue. Officials are elected by the people, and to change the fundamental law of the country simply because the party you favor is not in power is unjust. To be clear, I find the divide between parties to be destructive, and I want to see it mended, but it is not caused or perpetuated by the necessary and proper clause. Plus, “necessary laws” are defined by what the individual believes to be necessary for the country’s welfare. What one party believes to be necessary will likely differ from the other, but this is why people are supposed to vote; so the legislation they believe should be implemented is implemented. Plus, adding more steps to pass legislation would make the process even slower.

  27. I think that Congress has an acceptable amount of power. While the “necessary and proper” clause in Article 1 Section 8 may be interpreted as granting Congress the ability to justify any law as long as its end is found within the same section, they are still limited by the rest of the Constitution. I believe that the Constitution should be viewed as a whole document rather than as a collection of unrelated snippets and passages. Congress is not allowed to abridge the fundamental rights of states, citizens, or other branches of the government. While I do not approve of most of what Congress does, I think the Constitution provides them with powers that suit them well. However, there is no part of the Constitution that says “the government must interpret the Constitution correctly”, and if there was anything I would change about the Constitution, I would make its language more explicit. The vague language of the text makes it possible to interpret the Constitution as giving Congress powers that are not expressed within it, which can be used to justify unfavorable legislation.

  28. I feel like congress does not have too much power. they just have a power delegation problem. There are issues that do not get resolved because they are too hard headed to budge on their view of the problem at hand, so nothing gets done. We might as well have toddlers running the country sometimes. What if congress had not only democratic and republican delegates, but also independents?

  29. For the most part, I believe the powers congress hold are not too outdated. There is definitely a balance that is needed with capitalism versus a regulated market as economics showed us last semester. The salaries we were shown do make me more skeptical about the morals of congressmen and whether any of them want what’s best for the country or what is best for themselves come the next election process. The system may be slow in some parts as well, but overall I think it has served the country decently well.

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