The Freedom Solution

At the core of the 2012 election is the re-evaluation of the role that the Federal government should play in the lives of the American people.  The U.S. Constitution clearly defines the responsibilities of the government.  Those defined duties are fairly obvious.  There are certain areas where it is impossible or impractical for either an individual citizen or even a state to function.  These include national defense, border security, immigration, foreign relations and treaties, as well as a small handful of other duties.  Without doubt, our modern Federal government has moved well beyond these areas of activity.  In an attempt to solve America’s problems, out own government has assumed more and greater power over the course of time. 

Jared Blankenship

The 10th Amendment to the Constitution demonstrates that the founders understood that there would be a need to restrain the powers of Washington.  This principle dictates that the States bear the responsibility for dealing with the problems of its own citizens rather than the Federal government. 

Certainly, the most common complaint about Washington is that they are out of touch with the American people.  Is this the group we want proposing solutions?  Who knows best the needs of the citizens of Ohio?  Who understands better the problems facing the citizens of South Carolina?  Who knows best how to educate the children of New Hampshire?  Clearly, the answer is the citizens of the respective state.  Only by allowing the individual States to address their own problems with their own unique solutions will individual citizens be truly served.  Rather than one-size-fits-all legislation from Washington, the States should be allowed the freedom to innovate.  One state may choose to address education in one form while another deems it appropriate to utilize a very different strategy.  In either case, the citizens of that particular state, through direct representation, have made the choice.  This approach applies to any issue not defined within the Constitution:  healthcare, retirement, and education only top the list.  It is entirely possible that a state would choose based upon the desires of its own people, to completely abandon a program in favor of lower tax rates for its citizens.  This effectively opens the door for a long forgotten concept in American life:  competition.

If the state of Texas should choose to provide for its citizens every available service possible, this will inevitably result in a higher level of taxation.  Should Montana determine that a more modest level of service was appropriate, then taxes would likely be lower.  One quickly begins to see competition among states for business, population and quality of life.  Competition breeds better efficiency at all levels and encourages innovation.  Citizens are allowed to vote with their feet and the states are encouraged to keep up.  What a novel concept of government:  Constitutional government.

Fact:  Efficiency is always greater at the lower levels of any organization.  Local government is most efficient, followed by regional or state government, followed by the Federal government.   The reasons, while fairly obvious, are often ignored.  At the local level, the representation of the people is both direct and accessible.  Representatives are well known and may be encountered at the grocery store or at the local football game.  This guarantees accountability.  In addition, the finances at the local level are finite in comparison to the federal budget.  Local government has always been the most frugal in budgetary expenditures mostly out of absolute necessity.  Frivolous spending is met with immediate criticism and citizens are not afraid to replace indifferent or inept representation.  Citizen control is most tangible at the local level.

Obviously, it is impractical to deal with some or our problems from the local level.  Therefore, the individual State provides the most effective tool to address the social concerns of this country.  Doing so not only provides solutions which are agreeable to those specific citizens but also allows for a greater sense of control and accountability than is ever possible in Washington.  State representatives are still closer to home and are more easily criticized by their constituents.  State level representatives are much more easily replaced if they prove to be corrupt or simply refuse to represent the citizens.

This premise is not new and it is not my own.  The argument is best made by one the founders of this nation:  Thomas Jefferson.

“Let the national government be entrusted with the defense of the nation, and its foreign relations; the State governments with the civil rights, laws, police and administration of what concerns the State generally; the counties with the local concerns of the counties, and each ward direct the interests within itself. 
It is by dividing and subsiding these republics from the great national one down through all its subordinations, until it ends in the administration of every man’s farm by himself; by placing under everyone what his own eye may superintend, that all will be done for the best.”