U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) introduced a bill Wednesday that would ban paddling and corporal punishment across the nation. The new law would not only outlaw paddling, but also spanking and any other form of physical punishment in schools.

“Bullying is enough of a problem among students; the teachers shouldn’t be doing it, too. There’s nothing positive or productive about corporal punishment,” McCarthy said on her House website.

Currently 19 states allow corporal punishment in schools, mostly backward, racist southern states. The fact that the people in the other 31 states managed to do away with spanking in schools without federal interference isn’t relevant. If these other states don’t fall in line, the feds should punish…umm…encourage them so they get with the program.

I stand with McCarthy in her crusade to end spanking in schools. In fact, I argue that her bill does not go far enough. Congress should pass a law banning corporal punishment in homes as well. After all, if paddling in schools lacks any positive benefit, it certainly won’t prove any more productive in disciplining at home. Some say spare the rod, spoil the child. I think that comes from the bible or something. But what do these people know? We’ve already established they are racists. I know best, and apparently the good Congresswoman from New York agrees with me. And since we clearly stand on the right side of this issue, according to lots of studies and a consensus of spanking scientists, together we will dictate how citizens in every other state discipline their kids. General welfare and all that.

Some will argue that the Constitution doesn’t grant the federal government the power to police child discipline. But hey, the federal government has the power to regulate schools, right? And they’ve done a fantastic job with that. You know, the whole No Child Left Behind program. Roaring success. So the feds clearly possess not only the power, but the know-how to create a uniform system of child discipline in America.

But if you want a Constitutional rationale, look no further than the Commerce Clause. You see, paddles are made out of wood, which is almost always shipped to a different state for paddle manufacturing. So the feds can regulate paddles. Clearly, regulation includes banning the use of them. And even if the paddle was manufactured in the same state where the trees yielding the wood grew, Wickard vs. Filburn clearly established that the government can regulate any activity that has a substantial effect on the economy. So paddles  fall under federal power vis-a-vis the Commerce Clause, and by extension, so does their use.

But what about spanking with bare hands, you might ask. Well, almost everybody wears gloves, or uses lotion at some point. Lotion and gloves are products involved in Interstate Commerce. Since hands are necessary for the sale of lotion and gloves, hands certainly fall under the regulatory arm of the general government. Plus lotions use chemicals regulated by the FDA, so clearly, bare-handed spanking also falls under federal authority.

Additionally parents almost always take their kids across state lines. And kids buy stuff, or their parents buy stuff for them. So all of this kid economic activity, viewed in the aggregate, would have a substantial effect on interstate commerce. Especially when you consider some authorities say spankings make kids depressed. Depressed kids might not buy as much stuff, further tying spanking into America’s vast web of commerce.

Besides, anybody clinging to the “states’ rights” mantra on this issue clearly represents a neo-confederate faction engaging in dog-whistle politics. Anyway, this isn’t really an issue. I have read numerous articles on this bill and no credible reporter has brought up the issue of constitutional authority for regulating child discipline, so clearly it’s OK.

I urge everybody to join me in supporting McCarthy’s bill and in urging her to take her legislation to the next level and ban spanking across the fruited plain.

Mike Maharrey

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