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More Power To The States?

  1. Oct 4, 2008 #1
    I'm liking Glenn Beck's idea of giving everyone a pitchfork more and more every day.

    Regardless of party affiliation, I'd like to see about (well - ALL - 100%) NEW elected officials in D.C. over the next few years. Unfortunately, they'd still be saddled with all of the existing problems...and special interests, government agency (size and cost) and they wouldn't know "the rules of engagement" (with foreign powers) as well as the seasoned politicians.

    I suppose it could create as many problems as it would resolve...probably about as realistic as thinking Doctors, hospitals, drug and insurance companies will volunteer to reduce their fees so health care costs are less...that's not happening either.

    So where do we start...if we want REAL change...maybe we SHOULD give more power (and much bigger budgets) and responsibility to state governments? I assume state officials actually LIVE in their respective states and are more in touch with the specific problems of their resident populations...I could be wrong.

    If this were possible, the primary responsibilities of D.C. would become foreign affairs and oversight departments that HAVE to be national in scope (agriculture, homeland security, justice, labor, treasury, education, defense, space, etc.). This would require a DRASTICALLY REDUCED federal budget that COULD be managed.

    Yes, I know the debt isn't going away. But it could be frozen in time, and allocated over the 50 states to be paid in installments...to a federal department that would actually handle the funds in trust for the intended purpose. The new federal budgetary guidelines could then mandate a real balanced budget...with ONE set of books.

    The 50 governors should be more than capable of managing larger state budgets...if not...voters get to the polls! With more tax revenues going to the states...maybe they could even forget about Lotteries.

    I think the job (and budget) has become too big... 50 heads should be better than 1...for WE THE PEOPLE.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 4, 2008 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    I think we just need to enforce and respect the Constitution.

  4. Oct 4, 2008 #3
    I'm not suggesting ANYTHING different.

    I just think the government is too big and inefficient. Washington has a clearly defined responsibility of oversight and protection that can not be diluted.

    However, the state governments are better suited to dealing with local problems. I think it would eliminate a LOT of pork in the long run.
  5. Oct 4, 2008 #4
    I'm really talking about financial management and accountability.
  6. Oct 4, 2008 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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    In principle I agree [at least with part of what you are saying], but there are problems, for example: Who is bailing out California as we speak?

    Part of the problem is that the States have become highly dependent on Federal monies. Consider Palin's bridge to nowhere. She was for it as long when she thought the Feds would pay for it. She was against it when Alaska was going to get the bill.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2008
  7. Oct 4, 2008 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    At this point the States are essentially borrowing money from foreign investors through the Federal Government. The debt is nationalized.
  8. Oct 4, 2008 #7
    You and me it seems...and it's not fair!

    Helping California is like feeling sorry for the best looking girl because nobody is dancing with her...she'll forget you soon enough.

    Maybe they should try increasing taxes on their largest exports (entertainment and technology) or find a way to collect taxes from all of the illegal aliens (instead of providing them free health care)...either way, it shouldn't be our problem.

    I don't remember them sharing any of the wealth...do you?
  9. Oct 4, 2008 #8

    Ivan Seeking

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    I'm not nearly as bothered by 6 billion for Ca as I am 700 billion to pay for the failed Republican economic philosophy.
  10. Oct 4, 2008 #9
    "States' rights" is more libertarian/conservative nonsense. It shifts power away from the people, because corporations can far more easily lobby a state government than they can a federal government. Thus, you'd have some weird collusion of business and government that reminisces fascism, rather than "power to the people."

    This is evidenced by the fact that auto makers have gotten the states to pit themselves against each other a few times, to see which state can come up with the most handouts, land develop, and so on for the corporations. Mercedes-Benz and a few other auto manufacturers basically have treated the US like a third world country because of this.

    Look at history: Women's rights, civil rights, the environmental movements, and so on, all appealed to the federal government to get things done, and the constitution had to be even amended to fix problems that were generally an issue of states' being oppressive, again, like civil rights.

    What in the world is the obsession with conservatives and moving humanity backwards? It's like what the great FDR said (who's advice we could use just about now): "A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk forward. "


    "The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it comes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group or by any controlling private power." Truly, the last democratic president the US ever had.

    No, we don't need to return to the Gilded Age and pre-anti-monopoly, anti-trust laws.

    No, we don't need to repeal women's right to vote, as Ann Coulter etc. have suggested.

    No, we don't need to bring back slavery and the Civil War, or the "confederacy."

    No, we don't need to believe that the earth is a few thousand years old like our "christian founders."

    No, we don't need to return to isolationism in regards to foreign affairs.

    N, we don't need to devolve power down to the states any more than they already have, which is plenty.

    They should be able to deal with school districts and minor issues like that, so long as they don't violate federal curriculum, or federal law (i.e. creationism, racism, etc.).

    They should be able to elect governors and so on.

    They should NOT be able to enact a mini-fascist society like the people at the "Free"-state project want, who's efforts by the way have totally failed in terms of both popular support and actual implementation.
  11. Oct 4, 2008 #10
    This isn't the 1700s. It takes a large, powerful government to fund and research the things we need and to compete in the global economy.

    Furthermore, it takes a large government to manage an economy as large as the one the United States has, with its huge corporations and so on.

    What should they be doing that they don't do now? A lot of pork projects are REQUESTED by state governments and channeled through the Federal Government in the first place, often by conservatives.

    Ron Paul was an example of someone who did that for his district, for example.
  12. Oct 4, 2008 #11
    There has to be a starting point that makes sense. I think a grass roots base is always best.

    Financial responsibility has to start at home...lessons of the Great Depression have been forgotten in many families.

    Likewise, the smaller the group the more accountability to/between each member...blame is more definable. In Ohio, we just got rid of an Attorney General who couldn't manage his department.

    The State legislature is much more accessible to the average person. I think we agree Washington has become accessible mostly to BIG business and special interests.

    Like any foundation, if change comes from the ground up...it will be stable. But, it needs a lot of legs. This is where I think Obama is weak...lots of little supporters...but their goal is to get him elected...then it's just him, his financial backers and (Pelosi and Co.).

    He will struggle to stay on course...remember Clinton's round table discussions to solve the health care crisis...it all sounded good.

    In the context of financial management and responsibility, the government is out of control and undisciplined. As a business, our government is a failure...BK. We don't need a bailout as much as we need a good consulting firm.

    The major components of any viable business are Capital, Management and Concept. The USA has the CONCEPT...bar none! However, we're a little weak on the Capital and we definitely need a change of Management.

    From a business consulting perspective, the usual and customary strategy is to keep things manageable, control expenses and increase revenues. To keep things manageable, responsibility for operations is decentralized and budgets determined at the highest levels.

    By comparison, if Washington is our international holding company, then the states are our operating companies. The federal government departments are G&A. As in ANY business structure...under-capitalization, accompanied by inept management and too much G&A spell disaster. The operating companies, although financially sound and profitable can never overcome the problems of corporate and are typically closed down or sold off in a BK (look at the USSR a few years ago...imploded and splintered into states).

    I think the best way to protect the USA long term is to rely more on the good sense of it's average citizens. The tail shouldn't wag the dog.
  13. Oct 4, 2008 #12
    If you think these are fascist ideas...you don't have a clue...I believe in democracy...WE THE PEOPLE (actually, we the taxpayers, should have the loudest voice)...but in reality...we are a Capitalist society that can't say NO to anything because the special interests have the reins.

    We live by the "Golden Rule" of he who has the gold makes the rules. Unfortunately, in our case it's become (he who BORROWS the gold makes the short term rules) the Chinese and Oil Producing countries OWN the gold...and WILL make the rules TO US long term.
  14. Oct 4, 2008 #13
    States' rights interestingly enough is indeed a Jeffersonian democracy, anti-federalist concept. They opposed the Federalists on several key issues, like in regards to human nature, but also on the role of government. In brief, they thought that the power should be delegated more to the states and thus to the people (in those times), and if the feds got too much power you'd have a situation that was closer to monarchy.

    So, they were actually the "liberals" and "progressives" at the time and a lot of freedoms we have (like the bill of rights) come from the fact that these liberals were able to keep the conservatives at bay on many issues.

    However, they lived in times less complex than today and without the role of private corporations. Now, popular democracy supporters understand that the Federal government must play a role in the economy and in issues like civil rights, otherwise corporations will be in complete control - which most people would not want, and certainly people like Thomas Jefferson would not have wanted.

    My opinion is if we want a capitalist economy, we must accept the fact that capitalism must accompany a rather large government to provide oversight. The government must invest in R&D, the educational system, health care, and other areas the market is lacking, such as the environmental. Capitalism, as one conservative commentator put it, is a government program (George Will), not a state of nature, so it must be managed.

    This is how the economy has indeed worked since the Great Depression, and nothing on the market can't be said to have had some tie with the government. This generally works, barring a few failures here and there, mostly under conservative administration, namely the Reagan administration, as well as the current one.

    Take the bailout. This is probably needed, but many "states' rights" advocates oppose it. The problem is, they don't understand just how disasterous it will be if we didn't have it. They're like Herbert Hoover in 1931, sitting around twidling their thumbs, waiting for the economy to collapse. And then an even more powerful government comes in.

    And conditions for fascism generally occur when an economy has wrecked itself, even more reason to try and save our economy. Luckily, we had FDR come into office, otherwise the US might have turned into a fascist country had a conservative come to power. There were even a few attempts by conservatives and business leaders to turn the US into a fascist country, but they were opposed by the President and the some in the military,.

    The point is even bad government, like conservative government, is better than corporate government, the signs of which we see every day, which is a wholly incompetent system of governance.
  15. Oct 4, 2008 #14
    My concern is the inefficiency and waste of GIANT government. We aren't talking about $Billions anymore...now it's $Trillions.

    Please read my posts...not just the Thread title.

    I don't want to abolish government and I'm not a fascist. I want efficient government.

    I believe states can do a better job of managing domestic programs...less layers of management means lower operating costs. We don't need more federal government jobs...we need (GOOD) private sector jobs.

    Washington is incapable of managing giant (socialist) programs like universal health care...(Medicare reportedly has a 31% fraud rate)...and shouldn't be allowed to grow any larger.

    Next, let's take a hard look at food stamps. I honestly believe the goal of the program should be to provide as much food as possible to the people who need it most. When we send food to Africa...we send staples...basic foods to keep them alive.

    However, our domestic programs allow for over priced name brands and junk food...manufactured and sold by VERY large corporations. Why can't we (Washington) negotiate a cost plus contract with these manufacturers (and retailers) to provide high quality nutritional products on the program? Who buys more food than the government?

    Do you think McDonald's allows their employees to run to the grocery store and buy buns or bottled soda? That would not be COST EFFECTIVE. They buy directly and pay "wholesalers" a fee to store and deliver.

    There is no reason the government should pay $3.00 for a box of cereal that costs $.60...McDonald's wouldn't pay a Penny over $.75. We don't allow beer, wine and cigarettes...we shouldn't overpay for heavily advertised name brands. It's STUPID!

    Let Washington do the purchasing, let the states run the distribution and hold everyone accountable. If someone takes a kickback, states officials permit abuse or a retailer overcharges...send them to prison.

    Now we're well on our way to nationalizing the banking industry...what next? Do we eliminate large corporations by nationalizing them...talk about "Big Brother".
  16. Oct 6, 2008 #15
    Do you think that the members of the federal government are more ethical or more intelligent than the members of state government?

    I would argue that you know what is best for you. Your one vote has far more impact on local elections than federal elections. Keep the power local to keep more of it for yourself.
  17. Oct 6, 2008 #16
    Then why stop at giving more power to the states? Why not simply give all the power to municipal governments? By the same logic, this would be even better, no?
  18. Oct 6, 2008 #17
    Perhaps, but I am sure that there are examples where "ALL the power to the states" or local govt. would not be appropriate. I am thinking of things like printing money, national defense, interstate commerce...

    But considering the job done so far in these areas, I am not so sure.

    Are there good examples of things the federal government does so well
    we wouldn't want any other level of govt. in charge?
  19. Oct 6, 2008 #18


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    That's not really the point. Your desire for confederationism is not the way that the current Constitution is established. The supremacy of the Federal Government is established so that those things that are necessary to insure the Common Good, while preserving basic individual rights, may be provided for all citizens. States are left to administer themselves locally then to a point that is not covered by the Federal Government.

    As to knowing what is best for you then, by accepting that you live under the umbrella of the power of the Federal Government, you have ceded certain rights to make local decisions, as well as accepted certain obligations, in order to receive the benefits and personal liberties that you do enjoy. The choice is always yours to choose citizenship elsewhere, if you think that you can find something more agreeable to your interests of control.

    The American Republic was founded on striking a balance between protecting the many from the tyranny of the few, and protecting the few from the tyranny of the many.
  20. Oct 6, 2008 #19
    Don't mistake my constitutionalism for support of a confederate. It is not. I recognize the value of a limited federal govt. My argument is that power belongs at the lowest appropriate level. Where it can, and should, be watched like a hawk.
  21. Oct 6, 2008 #20
    In the United States citizenship elsewhere can be accomplished simply by moving to another state (ideally).
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