What Power Does Congress Have to Regulate Commerce? [No. 86]

The founders were extremely concerned with
the promotion and regulation of commerce. Commerce being the buying and selling, trading,
movement and transport of goods and people from one place to another, which were necessary
in order to provide for economic prosperity. There was, of course, three types of commerce
that were covered by the national powers of the Congress, one was the power to regulate
commerce with foreign nations. Secondly, the power to regulate commerce among
the several states, and thirdly commerce with Indian tribes, leaving a fourth category of
commerce that was not given to Congress to regulate and that was commerce that existed
wholly within a state. Once you realize that commerce connects the
entire country together and anything that affects interstate commerce could include
just about anything in the country. As soon as you move beyond the regulation
of commerce to the regulation of activities that affect interstate commerce, that is going
to greatly, greatly increase the powers of the national government. The two principal sources of the powers of
the federal government that go beyond the original powers, for example to provide for
a strong national defense, are the powers to regulate commerce and the power to tax
and spend. Between those two powers, Congress has been
able to regulate or prohibit just about anything it wants to.

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