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The Necessary and Proper Clause (also known as the Elastic Clause, the Basket Clause, the Coefficient Clause, and the Sweeping Clause) is the provision in Article One of the United States Constitution, section 8, clause 18:


“ The Congress shall have Power - To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof. "

This clause has been the heart of the problem of the expansion of federal power. It contradicts other language saying that powers not specifically given to the federal government in the constitution belong to the states and the people. It was a big loophole for federalists. This combined with power over inter-state commerce and the power to tax make it pretty impossible for states to operate independently regardless of what laws state legislatures pass. The U.S. Congress can tax anything to death. They could pass legislation that says you need a tax stamp to grow tomatoes, and then not issue any stamps or make them $10,000 a pop. The states would not be able to do anything to stop it.
 
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