Did you ever get the impression that if our politicians in Washington were not taking care of us, no one would? That is what they like to have us believe, but it is not true. Many of the services and functions of the federal government were once the responsibilities of our states and municipalities.
When the Founders so carefully and ingeniously crafted our new nation, they created a federated system in which the federal government would have the LEAST influence over our daily lives. In our Constitution they delineated the LIMITED powers of our federal government – you know, national defense, foreign trade, etc.
In fact, the Constitution does not grant us any rights. It only describes our inalienable rights, which we the people are then commissioned to protect and defend. What the Constitution does protect us from is … government. Especially a large powerful central government.
And in case we did not catch on to the concept – get the hint, as it were — they gave us the 10th Amendment — which simply and clearly states that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
The flip side of the 10th Amendment is what we call “states’ rights.”
This is a profoundly important concept that was unfortunately given a bad name by those racist Democrats who brutally and unconstitutionally ruled over the southern states for more than 100 years after the Civil War. We need to restore the understanding of states’ rights to its proper and beneficial meaning.
Some argue that the 10th Amendment is not that important because it came last in the Bill of Rights. Au contraire. It was placed last to emphasize that it covered everything written before it. That includes the nine previous amendments AND the Constitution, itself. It was a summation, not an afterthought.
The Founders intended that most of the laws, regulations and rules that governed our lives would be enacted by governments closest to the influence of we the people. That means our local municipalities and our state governments. The federal government was the last resort, not the first.
Instead of the Jeffersonian limited government envisioned by the Founders, the increasingly powerful establishment in Washington, D.C. has shifted more and more powers … more and more programs … away from the states. Of course, that meant consuming more and more of the taxpayers’ earned wealth.
Not only does our federal government now take an extraordinary portion of the tax money to pay for governmental services and functions usurped from the counties, cities and states, but it over-taxes us to be the provider of money for programs and projects traditionally overseen by the counties, cities and states.
How did it happen that if a county built a road, Uncle Sam should pay to repair it? If Chicago constructs a bridge, why should Uncle Sam pay to replace it? If a small town needs a tertiary treatment plant, why does Congress have to appropriate the funds? They say that only the federal government can afford such expenditures. That is the lie that empowers the scam.
It has come about because of a malignant power game that is bipartisan. It is a game by which Democrats and Republicans attempt to fool the people – and so far, they have succeeded. The only people who benefit from this scam are the entrenched elitist establishmentarians in Washington – the politicians and bureaucrats who have been increasing their power and wealth at the expense of we the people. We are losing our ability to effectively influence our government, and, in a sad irony, we are paying more and more tribute (read that money) to Caesar in the process.
Not only does the system of sending money to Uncle Sam — so that he can dole out to us like a bunch of begging hatchlings – take away our power, but it is an ENORMOUS waste of money. Allow me to explain by way of an example.
Let us assume that it would cost one dollar to hire a fireman for your town. And you wanted three additional firemen. If your town adds three dollars to the budget, you get three firemen. That is because locally taxed money is 90 percent efficient.
If you send money to your state government, you get only two firemen. That is because the state money is only two-thirds efficient. Thirty percent of your money disappears somewhere in the bureaucracy.
If Uncle Sam takes your three dollars – and uses it to hire firemen for your town, you only get one. That is because money going to and from Washington is only one-third efficient.
To look at it another way, if good old Uncle Sam wanted to give your town a grant to hire three firemen, he will have to collect $9 from the taxpayers. Alas, there is the difference. Tax locally and get three firemen for your three dollars. Send the money to Washington and you either get one fireman or you pay three times more to get the firemen you need.
Now take this example and consider the trillions upon trillions of dollars that are being sent to Washington only to be returned to the cities and states – with Uncle Sam taking a commission for merely transferring the money. The sole reason for all this is not economics. It is to amass centralized power – the very thing our Founders feared most. And it is not just money flowing from government to government. All those subsidies and grants to businesses, NGOs, universities and special interest groups are also major part of the problem.
So, why are there no politicians and officeholders revolting against this rip-off of the taxpayers and the suppression of our influence? Better to ask, who would complain? Certainly not those folks in Washington who are using the game to gain wealth and authoritarian power.
And not the local officials, either. How many times have you heard your local mayors brag that they are getting money from Uncle Sam so they do not have to raise your local taxes? Virtually every member of Congress campaigns on how much “pork” he or she is “bringing home” – pork for which you paid over market prices.
It is a sucker’s game … and we the people have been the suckers. We ignore the fact that every dollar that Uncle Sam provides to our local communities, he gets it from you and me … the taxpayers. When you pay your federal taxes, YOU are paying for all those inefficient dollars that the folks in Washington give us as if it is a gift in trade for votes.
Most of the issues of the people can best be handles close to home. And it is not only our local governments. Civic groups, religious organizations and just plain neighbors can address personal welfare far more effectively and inexpensively than can Uncle Sam. But Washington suffocates those efforts with piles of money.
There is only one way to stop the trend toward more and more destructive federal “assistance.”
We need politicians willing to cut – yes cut – the size and cost of the federal government. We need to send back programs that can be more efficiently managed and funded locally. And we need to limit our federal government to those things articulated in the Constitution. It is time we empower the 10th Amendment and end the con game that is literally destroying the country.
So, there ‘tis.