Philosophical Musings

Philosophical Musings

Friday, February 10, 2012

Federal vs local programs

My dogmatism seems to ebb & flow like the tides, but more randomly. Occasionally, my dogma gets run over by someone's karma.

Govt programs are a luxury for an affluent society. The more affluent we are, the more we can afford. But the more poor we become, the more we need to cut back. It is pretty simple.

I believe it was the founders intention for the states to handle most of the day to day burden of governance.. like, well.. a sovereign state. Our federal govt is different than most.. it is a summary of the whole.. a consensus of the united states. It handles foreign affairs, interstate commerce, & preempts individual state's laws in some matters. It was never intended to be a single entity to make state govt obsolete, like it is becoming. And with a nation this size, it is almost impossible to govern fairly from a monolithic central system. The USSR couldn't do it, & they had totalitarian control, though their 'union' was mostly symbolic.. like ours is becoming. China has had to make many concessions, & their economic civil war is still looming. What will happen there when the communist controlled capitalism meets real socialism in the form of labor unions?

Individual states can handle much of the safety net, law enforcement, firefighting, education & other local issues better than the federal govt. The local citizens generally feel more responsibility & get involved more for things that affect them directly. We really only need the federal govt to manage things like air traffic, interstate highways, trade, national defense, border security.. things like that. I think they have overstepped their role & usurped the states' responsibilities. Plus they have gotten involved in too many 'police actions' throughout the world.. something else that is not constitutional. They seem to think they can pick & choose what parts of the constitution they want to follow.  It easier for a county or city borough to manage whatever govt programs the people want. When the federal govt does it, it becomes a pork barrel project, giving taxpayer money to whatever representative has the juice to get it for his district. Take those away, & there will be less corruption, fewer lobbyists, & less taxpayer money wasted. The result of that will eventually be no debt & lower taxes for all.

There was plenty of interstate commerce in the early years of the union. Tobacco & cotton farmers mostly exported their wares. We were a pipeline for cheap goods to europe, somewhat like china is now. The yankees built ships & arms.. much like today, for world wide war efforts. Granted, as you got to the interior, it became mostly subsistence farms, with the pioneers struggling to build a simple life. But even in those smaller states, there was a desire for self determination. No one wanted some central govt to tell them what to do, & how much of their money they could keep. People built schools, fire depts, militias, roads, & they engaged themselves in local decision making. Modern, centralized govt takes that away. It removes the people from the process, & puts it into the hands of 'professionals', whether they be politicians or lobbyists.

I don't think modern life has changed or made obsolete a good system of govt. Our federal govt has become more expansive, taking on much more than it's constitutional mandate provides for.  Returning much of that responsibility to the states would make for a more efficient & productive federal government.  We need to elect representatives who will shrink the federal govt & return more responsibility to the states, & follow their constitutional mandates.. no more, no less.

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