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  • Morning Bell: Solutions for Sanity

    Our country may just need a Rally to Restore Comedy after this past Saturday’s spectacularly unfunny Rally to Restore Sanity on the National Mall. But “The Daily Show” host and rally organizer Jon Stewart may have stumbled upon some truth in his closing remarks: “We hear every day about how fragile our country is — on the brink of catastrophe — torn by polarizing hate and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done, but the truth is we do. We work together to get things done every day. The only place we don’t is here or on cable TV. Americans don’t live here or on cable TV.”

    The “here” Stewart is referring to is Washington, DC, the seat of federal power in this country. Since 1900, except for a brief dip in the 80s, Washington has taken more and more power away from the rest of the country. Then, almost 60% of government spending took place at the state and local levels. Today, the federal government spends more than twice as much as all other levels of government combined. This trend has only hastened under President Barack Obama, including: government-owned car companies, government-run health care, government-dominated mortgage markets and national school standards. With so many decisions being made for millions of Americans in just one city, is it any wonder that the country has become so politicized and polarized?

    As President Ronald Reagan said in his First Inaugural Address: “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time we’ve been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?” By assuming more and more tasks in more and more areas outside of its core responsibilities, Washington has greatly damaged American self-rule. The federal government’s extended reach has weakened the states and pushed traditional social institutions into the shadows.

    We can do something about this: devolve power away from Washington to the states and the people. The Heritage Foundation’s Solutions for America has a number of specific policy proposals to cut Washington down to size:

    • Unwind Government Intervention: The government should end the interventions it has made since 2008, starting with abolition of the TARP program. It should then abolish Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and repeal all U.S. government regulatory measures that interfere with mortgage markets. Congress should also repeal the Sarbanes–Oxley Act, which discriminates against small firms and reduces competition. Companies should be allowed to fail, and laws and regulations should create no expectation of a future bailout.
    • Spend Less: Congress should enact a firm cap on the annual increase in total government spending, limited to inflation plus population growth. Lawmakers should exert all effort to keep overall federal spending to less than 20% of U.S. GDP, the historical post–World War II average for federal spending. Congress should take entitlement spending off autopilot and subject it to the discipline of the budgetary process through long-term budgets that Congress regularly reviews. This would force entitlement spending to compete politically with other spending priorities.
    • Devolve Responsibilities: Education, health care, transportation, criminal law enforcement and homeland security—all issues that in recent decades have become federal concerns but are better dealt with at the state and local levels of government—should be devolved to the states. State and local governments can tailor programs to make them more efficient and can experiment with new approaches to reduce the overall cost of government.

    “It is no coincidence that our present troubles parallel and are proportionate to the intervention and intrusion in our lives that result from unnecessary and excessive growth of government,” Reagan said in January 1981. “It is my intention to curb the size and influence of the Federal establishment and to demand recognition of the distinction between the powers granted to the Federal Government and those reserved to the States or to the people. All of us need to be reminded that the Federal Government did not create the States; the States created the Federal Government.” That’s a fact Stewart and the current administration should think about.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    22 Responses to Morning Bell: Solutions for Sanity

    1. JerseyJK, Jersey says:

      Decentralize our federal government. If Washington is the problem, where our representatives get stuck in an echo chamber, get tempted by lobbyists of every stripe, get enamoured of going to the cocktail parties and galas, then let's not send them there. Let's keep them close to their constituents and make them telecommute to the legislature so they can be easily held accountable and must look their voters in the eye day-in and day-out.

      We've got technology to do it, why do they need to live in the Ritz in Washington while representing people in the desert?

    2. KC - New Mexico says:

      It would be interesting to see Washington devolve power and restore critical powers to the states. If Washington was to only develop goals and objectives in education, healthcare, internal governance, and even security, but not dictate how these goals would be achieved, would allow the states to proactively govern. The problem that I see is that government wants to tell us how to live and govern within our states. The solution is to have government provide the goals and objectives and let the states figure out how to get it done.

      This solution might even move to our outdated tax system. Moving to a flat rate system for everyone, at every level, and every business – non-profit, profit, and church, with no deductions of any type, would reduce the need for IRS. The government would get its percentage and the state would get theirs. The states would need to figure out how to provide for those who really need the help. This might also cut down on the entitlement attitude by many.

      Another part of this solution is to get rid of unions in all government allocated functions. The unions have continually hindered real progressive change and productivity. Cutting off our expected billions to foreign nations would also help – I do not mind helping those who really need the help and whose country actually likes the USA. The rest can just “pound sand”!

      Our country is great but has deteriorated over the past years and markedly during the last two years under Obama. We can be great again but this will take real leadership is Washington and the states – much of what we do not have today. Change is for the taking tomorrow!

    3. Ken Jarvis - Las Veg says:

      Jon Stewart may have stumbled upon some truth in his closing remarks: "We hear every day about how fragile our country is — on the brink of catastrophe — torn by polarizing hate and how it's a shame that we can't work together to get things done, but the truth is we do. We work together to get things done every day. The only place we don't is here or on cable TV. Americans don't live here or on cable TV."

      He did NOT "stumble" on it.

      It was WELL THOUGHT OUT,

      The SAD thing is – the HF and the rest of the Circle of Hate

      make the "polarizing" WORSE.


    4. Steven Jacobs 104 e. says:

      The sovereign States came together and formed the federal gov't, not the other way around. The fed.gov't is only there to perform duties in very limited areas. Areas that were designated by the states. The states have the power and yet they act like they have to get it back from fed gov't.. State leaders need to be educated about the states power under The Constitution. All States need to exercise those rights and stand strong in them, to bring us all out of our current position of atrophy.

    5. Dave Provo, UT says:

      I can't forget the flow diagram of the new health care bill and its hundreds if not thousands of new regulations. I even remember my grandfather having to maintain the road in front of his farm and getting together with neighbors to buy one bailer for five small farms. He would have looked at the health care flow chart and said "What bunch of punkin heads thought this mess up?" Amen!

    6. Brian says:

      We must accept our personal responsibilities as ours exclusively and not to be outsourced to the state at the cost to our neighbors.

      We have fallen into a trap where over the decades we have abdicated our responsibilities to government and its agents while concurrently submitting to the theft of our incomes to reward these agents' positions as symbolic parents.

      We must insist, demand, that to keep our incomes is our right and we agree to fund our government as we have consented to be governed by at a rate WE find reasonable.

      We reject the admonitions and criticisms by those who in the name of charity seek to use our government in that name while threatening the well being of objects of their "charitable" efforts if we insist on asserting our rights as citizens.

    7. Dean Simmons says:

      This article is absolute garbage. Typical right-wing rhetoric that aims to destroy the fabric of out nation.

    8. Clarence De Barrows says:

      We all know what the Constitution mandates relative to the powers the State has vs those applicable to the Federal Government. All we have to do is eliminate, in their entirety, the elected representatives who, by their actions, demonstrate that they believe in a "living" Constitution rather than "The" Constitution. A classic example are the tortuous and deplorable distortions our legal system has built in to section 8 of Article 1, the "Commerce" clause, in order to expand the role of the federal government. Those distortions stand accepted. Explain that conservative thinkers in light of Thomas Jefferson's statement that, "I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground that 'all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people.' To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, not longer susceptible of any definition"

    9. Chroma41, California says:

      The states gave away their power years ago in exchange for government largesse and avoidance of responsibility at the state level. Now they want it back but will then have to be responsible for programs and projects they probably cannot afford or are politically risky.

    10. rosemarie, fresno says:

      ooooooo Dean i feel bad for you , you just dont get it ,

    11. Lil, San Diego says:

      I would stipulate that Homeland Security belongs at the Federal level. That said, less regulation and more inter-State cooperation regarding health care would be both beneficial and fiscally prudent. Eliminate the Department of Education and return those monies to the states where local control has a better view on students' needs.

      Get the govt. OUT of the car business, the mortgage business, get the govt. OUT of business completely! Hopefully this new Congress can develop common sense regulations that protect rather than stifle business. Hopefully this new Congress can get people back to work in the private sector NOT the public sector. In other words, validate personal responsibility, help only those who need it!

    12. Dale Emde says:

      If we win big tomorrow and gain some control over this mess, when are the conservative hosts of news columns, TV programs and any other media, going to go after the core of this evil, the Federal Reserve, Wall Street, the nation banks, the CFR and many more which have been responsible for our present problems through their constant efforts to increase their power and control over the entire world? Tell me WHEN?

      Dale Emde

    13. B. Hall Syosset N.Y. says:

      It is really quite simple, READ THE CONSTITUTION if you are able to read. It's all there, if you don't like something,there is a mechanism to change it, by the way it is not the Supreme Court. That body approved the imprisonment of innocent citizens merely for their heritage. There was no Dept of Ed untill Carter, thats when allthey did was throw money at the bloated buracracy and the teachers unions, while education declined. The 16th ammendment gave congress the ability to collect taxes on income. not the ability to redistribute wealth. Which was Carl Marx's idea. The 10 ammendment states that all items not given to the federal gov't are left tothe States or to the people…Thats us tommorow we must return Gov't to the people. If we do not sooner or later there will not be a country that we all recognize

    14. John Arizona says:

      Ken Jarvis may have found a friend in Dean Simmons.

    15. Jim Uberti--New Have says:

      Dean Simmons, meet Ken Jarvis.The word you both need to learn is, relavancy.

    16. Denise, Utah says:

      Dean, you need to brush up on the Constitution and the limits it places on the Federal Government. You can't convince me the Founding Fathers didn't see a federal power grab like this coming!! I believe the political elites are afraid of the people so they are demonizing some and buying votes from others. Vote on November 2nd and take out the trash!!

    17. JB says:

      Good ideas here and I would add….get rid of the Dept. of Education. What possible good do they really do? (I'm a recently retired teacher.) Put all that money on the national debt. And if the job of the Dept. of Energy is to reduce American dependence on foreign oil, that Dept. should be totally dismantled as a colossal failure. We really need to start taking "You Cut" seriously.

    18. Howard, Walnut Creek says:

      Why is legislative success based on the number and scope of new laws, regulations, executive orders, etc.? How about a maximum effort to test existing statutes for constitutionality and repealing, consolidating, modifying what we have back to a reasonable and common sensical level. This needs to be done at state and local levels too. Every law and regulation is a bit of freedom chipped away from someone and should be closely scrutinized and vetted prior to enactment.

    19. RennyG Maryland says:

      Comments well taken. But is anyone thinking about the two months after the election. This person running our country is going to uproot the rest of this country and turn it into a socialistic country, "like he wants!!!" He doesn't care if he lost the house and the senate. He will use his corupt executive powers. We will loose and he is smiling!!!! Renny

    20. Denise, Utah says:

      Why do you think Obama can't speak eloquently without his teleprompter? He is a bought and paid for puppet for the likes of George Sorros. This election should make the president impotent but he will lie, cheat, and make back room deals to further his anti-American agenda through executive orders openly thumbing his pompous nose at the Constitution. I think that the big Democratic losses today will only incite the narcissistic POTUS to inflict more harm to punish us little people who are too stupid to know what's best for ourselves.

    21. Pingback: Annoying Liberals: What’s the Downside? : Smart Girl Nation

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