When it comes to government it seems that we are having the wrong argument all the time. What most people don't understand about the constitutional revival and the Tea Party movement is that it is not about replacing one type of government with another type of government.
The idea behind the movement is simple, government should be kept as close to the people as possible. As much as possible problems should be solved at the local level and then at the state level and only as a last resort at the federal level. This is the core of federalism which our constitution is built upon.
The reasoning behind this type of government is simple, the government that is closest to the people is most likely to be accountable to the people. You have a much better chance of changing an unfair or unjust local law than you do with a state or federal law. If you can organize even a small group of voters you can strongly influence local elections but on a national scale you have almost no power.
The genius of our constitution is that is clearly defined a very small set of enumerated powers to the federal government and delegated everything else to the states and finally to the people. The constitution created a union of independent sovereign states not a giant nation of dependent states.
The problems we are facing today are not because we have the wrong policies in place it is because we have one size fits all federal policies in place. To anyone with a shred of common sense this is obvious in their own lives. When you shop for clothes do you look for one size fits all clothing or things in the size and style that fit you? The answer is obvious and yet when it comes to government everyone is clamoring for a one size fits all federal solution to every problem we are facing.
The one size fits all government idea is the main tenet of a social democracy, central planning by an all powerful central government. Our constitution was written specifically to prevent this type of system from being implemented here. Our founders were historians who knew that centrally planned societies always fail in the same way for the same reasons. Our system is the culmination of studying the great civilizations of the past and understanding what made them great and what eventually led to their downfall.
If we take health care as an example there is a wide range in terms of what people want in terms of health insurance. There are those that don't want any or want a plan that only covers them in the event of an accident or serious illness. They want true insurance that prevents them from going bankrupt due to a medical catastrophe. On the other end are people who want a plan that covers every medical treatment and preventive care checkup. They are looking for more of a health maintenance plan that goes beyond insurance.
The Republicans and Democrats aren't arguing over whether or not there should be a single federal government health care plan, they are arguing over whose plan is better. The Republicans are against Obamacare but they plan to replace it with a plan of their own.
The federalists among us don't want any central plan for health care. Massachusetts has a state health care plan and so do a few other states. The people in those states have the ability to modify, repeal or replace those plans and also have the option to move out of the state. That option creates competition for good government between the states which ultimately creates better government.
If the lots of coverage plan in one state works well then people may be encouraged to move there and take part in that system. If it doesn't work, people may begin to leave forcing the state government to make changes to be more competitive with states that have better systems.
If you apply a one size fits all federal solution there is no competition and without competition there is no chance for bad ideas to die and good ideas to flourish. It is why whenever a central plan is applied to any industry the end result is less innovation and less production.
In the 1970s we created the Department of Energy in order to develop a central plan for American energy independence. We also created a Department of Education to create a central plan for improving education. There's also the Department of Agriculture created around the same time.
Are we importing more or less energy now than we were in the 1970s? Its been 40 years and we are further from energy independence than ever. Is our education system better now that it was then? We spend a lot more money but we are less competitive in the world than we have ever been. Do we produce more and better quality food now than we did then? The answers are no, no and no.
Looking at what we have done in the last decade creating federal agency after federal agency to create a central plan for whatever they are put in charge of any reasonable person would expect that we would in fact have less of whatever it is those agencies are now in charge of. When you consider what these agencies are it should make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and the sweat build up on your brow.
- Department of Homeland Defense
- Department of Health and Human Services
- Department of Consumer Protection
When do we say enough already and begin to kill these central planning agencies one by one.