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  • Book Review: “Devolution of Power” Offers Solution to a Federal Government Teetering on Collapse

Book Review: “Devolution of Power” Offers Solution to a Federal Government Teetering on Collapse

Sharon Rondeau

April 2024

Book Review: “Devolution of Power” Offers Solution to a Federal Government Teetering on Collapse

Sharon Rondeau, the editor of the Post & Email published this book review of “Devolution of Power” on her site, https://www.thepostemail.com/ on April 7, 2024. This is a reprint of her book review.

(Apr. 7, 2024) — William L. Kovacs’s “Devolution of Power: Rolling Back the Federal State to Preserve the Republic” outlines a commonsense, step-by-step process by which the federal government, through congressional legislation and state cooperation, can save the United States from certain destruction brought on by more than a century of unsustainable spending.
The concise, 173-page book identifies the elements contributing to the current administrative behemoth “governing” American citizens but co-opted, Kovacs contends, by politicians from both parties more interested in ideology than in fulfilling their constitutional duty to protect the individual rights, freedoms and security of their constituents.
As the book unfolds, Kovacs identifies specific federal programs and expenditures which could be trimmed or eliminated altogether, with others “devolved” to the states for more efficient administration. As the book progresses, the author presents a credible means by which the process might take place to recover the nation from the brink of financial collapse resulting from political corruption.
Whether from the federal government’s 438 agencies for the purposes of entitlement programs, “climate change,” an ever-growing number of “regulations” affecting consumables from air mattresses to yarn as well as the food Americans consume, Kovacs maintains the states can more efficiently deliver the services their citizens wish to retain while purging others, thereby reducing wasteful spending, shedding unnecessary government payroll and restoring the “republican” form of government guaranteed in Article IV, Section 4 of the United States Constitution.
Through this shift in power, the author points out, the Tenth Amendment — “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people” — would be rejuvenated despite its evisceration by the U.S. Supreme Court in its 1941 opinion in United States v. Darby.
The book additionally reveals congressional spending of taxpayer dollars of which likely few Americans are aware exemplified by the “Judgment Fund.” As “the mother of all slush funds,” Kovacs brings to light that in years past Congress would review each proposed expenditure from the Fund but eventually ceded that authority to the executive branch.
The money, the Treasury Department reports and Kovacs points out, has been used to defend members of Congress and federal agencies from lawsuits as well as by Barack Obama to send Iran a total of $1.7 billion in cash without congressional approval.
Among the author’s ideas for strengthening state governance as a corollary to his plan is the passage of “Personal Liberty laws,” an initiative already undertaken by both “blue” and “red” states alike concerning gun rights, civil rights and protection from federal encroachments.
“Devolution of Power” is a must-read for anyone concerned about the growing federal deficit, corruption in government resulting from unlimited borrowing and politicking, impractical and irrational mandates issued by unaccountable bureaucrats, and the U.S. as an increasingly weakened power on the world stage.
— By creating a federal government that focuses on protecting national security and the nation’s economic well-being while empowering states to manage most of the domestic needs of their citizens, the nation begins to restore accountability and trust in government. Devolution of power to the states may be the only viable path the citizens and states can organize around to save the Republic. — William L. Kovacs, “Devolution of Power: Rolling Back the Federal State to Preserve the Republic,” p. 172”

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  • Offset Cap & Trade Compacts with a Reliable Energy Compact

Offset Cap & Trade Compacts with a Reliable Energy Compact

William L. Kovacs

March 2023

Offset Cap & Trade Compacts with a Reliable Energy Compact

The green climate zealots have successfully formed two interstate Compacts consisting of twelve states to address the climate change issue through a cap-and-trade system. While many conservatives believe these compacts are shining examples of state overreach, excessive regulation, and wasteful subsidies, these same conservatives are silent on solutions. Last week, the state of Utah enacted an energy security law that could serve as the foundation for a Reliable Energy Interstate Compact of States (“Reliable Energy Compact”).

Led by Representative Ken Ivory and Senator Derrin Owens H.B. 45, Utah’s Energy Security Law requires the state to ensure the reliable production and distribution of energy for its citizens by promoting the use of energy resources, including fossil fuels, generated within the state.

On the electricity delivery side, it requires a reliable energy system that can supply continuous electricity at the proper voltage, frequency, and resiliency to withstand sudden or unexpected disturbances. This provision is a brilliant idea to ensure that any increase in the use of renewable energy is accompanied by the needed battery storage and transmission capacity, so the electricity generated can be continuously distributed by the grid. (This issue has been ignored by the federal government.) The legislation also promotes the development of a secure supply chain from resource extraction to energy production and consumption.

Utah’s goal is energy independence and affordable energy for its citizens.

Considering that the Biden administration, without any specific legal authority, is attempting to shut down all fossil fuel production in ten years and is pushing the growth of renewable energy beyond the limits of its storage and distribution capabilities, there is a need for new energy management ideas.

The policies contained in H.B. 45 make too much sense to remain in one state. While Utah will share its ideas through the literature, and educational conferences, a more effective option might be the formation of a regional Interstate Compact. These compacts are effectively used by environmental groups. It is time for conservatives to use them to promote their policies.

Interstate compacts are cooperative actions between states to advance specific policy issues. The compacts can be congressionally approved or non-congressionally approved agreements between states to take specific actions.

Formal, congressionally approved compacts with other states are established under Article I, sec.10, cl 3 of the U.S. Constitution. These formal state compacts range from boundary disputes to lotteries, river management, drivers’ licenses, to multi-state tax matters. Ballotpedia provides a list of approved compacts from 1785 to 2014.

The Southern States Energy Compact is a workable example of the formal, congressionally approved Compact. It has eighteen members and was created to encourage economic development among its member states through the improvement of energy, environmental, and technology policies.

Not all Compacts need to be approved by Congress. While the text of the Compacts Clause reads as if all compacts must be approved by Congress to be valid, the U.S. Supreme Court has not endorsed this reading. The Supreme Court has “…adopted a functional approach in which only interstate compacts that increase the political power of the states while undermining federal sovereignty require congressional consent.”

Relying on the court’s functional approach, nine states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, and three west coast states, formed regional compacts to address climate change concerns. They set up state cap-and-trade systems. It does not interfere with federal power since there is no authority to create such systems under federal law.

The difficulty with the formal approach is that in a divided Congress and with an administration hostile to all energy sources except green energy, it is unlikely Democrats would formally approve such an effort. Conversely, it is unlikely that the Democrats could secure the votes to disapprove of an informal energy compact, especially in light of the environmentalists’ cap-and-trade compacts.

A Reliable Energy Compact, like the environmentalists’ cap and trade compacts, would be formed to ensure local citizens have the energy they can afford. Such a compact would not, in any manner by changing any political balance within the U.S. or even be contrary to any federal law since there is no federal law that prohibits the development of a state from using its resources to produce reliable and affordable supplies of energy.

Within the mountain states region, Utah would likely find receptive members in Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Idaho. While the Reliable Energy Compact would not interfere with any federal law, it would stand as a competitive policy in the marketplace to the environmentalists’ cap-and-trade compacts.

This competition between radically divergent energy policies will allow the citizens of the nation to observe comparative benefits and costs in real-time and on real people. Such a comparison will assist the American people in distinguishing fact from propaganda. For far too long, the environmental community has controlled the public space with unworkable, expensive ideas. It is time for conservatives to place their ideas into the public square to be tested alongside the claims of the environmental community.

Let the better policy win!

William L. Kovacs, author of Reform the Kakistocracy, winner of the 2021 Independent Press Award for Political/Social Change, and served as senior vice president for environment, technology & regulatory affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.