Next Window Please: Big Government, Little Help

The federal government is not supposed to be in the business of helping individuals with much at all. Delivering the mail, administering passports, protecting your inventions (if you have any), maintaining a currency that everyone can exchange: these are the legitimate responsibilities the federal government has that puts it in direct contact with individuals. Or, at least, the federal government was meant to be held to that minimal level of interaction.

“The Constitution’s articles, and the subsequent Amendments, specify the prerogatives of the Feds. They are listed in Article I, Sec. 8; Articles II-V; Amendments XIII-XVI, XIX-XX, XXIII-XXVI. These prerogatives belong to one of the following categories:

1) Defense, war prosecution, peace, foreign relations, foreign commerce, and interstate commerce;

2) The protection of citizens’ constitutional rights (e.g the right to vote) and ensuring that slavery remains illegal;

3) Establishing federal courts inferior to the SCOTUS;

4) Copyright protection;

5) Coining money;

6) Establishing post offices and post roads;

7) Establishing a national set of universal weights and measures;

8 ) Taxation needed to raise revenue to perform these essential functions.” – Zbigniew Mazurak, The Constitutional Role of the Federal Government

As the country grew from its infancy, legislators & Presidents created additional services, programs and regulations that the federal government was responsible for administering, leading to the creation of new administrative departments. Year after year, Presidents and legislators, in an effort to “help” their constituents whether they wanted the help or not, created layer upon layer of new services, new regulations and birthed new administrative offices to operate, regulate and serve.

This was not the Founding Fathers’ intent when creating the federal government. They were envisioning a framework, an overarching structure of federal obligations to enable the states to perform at their optimum: state by state. Even during the late 1700s, Maryland was not like Delaware who was not like Virginia. State governments, being comprised of the very citizens they serve, remain the ideal method of ensuring the opportunity for the greatest amount of success to each individual within their state.

The federal government, in an effort to represent everyone within the United States equally, represents no one in reality.There is no singular citizen that requires all of the services that the federal government provides. There is no singular citizen that benefits from the declared results of the regulations that the federal government enforces. The federal government has become an ocean of laws, regulations and services that tries to be everything to everyone while benefitting only a few.

There are about 330 million people in the United States. According to the latest numbers from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), approximately 23.1 percent, or 86.13 million people receiving welfare benefits. There are about 19.7 percent of people who are insured through Medicaid and another 15 percent insured via Medicare. Social Security recipients number around 17.8 percent. Of the entire federal budget, 58 percent, or $63,800,00,000 ($63.8 billion) is spent supporting and administering these programs, which, at best, services less than half of the US population as some welfare, Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security recipients overlap.

These programs shouldn’t exist at a federal level. There is nothing outlined in the Constitution that even suggests that supporting American citizens financially is the business of the federal government. Anything not outlined in the Constitution as a responsibility of the federal government falls to the states. We are not a kingdom or country ruled by the federal government. The United States of America is just that, a union of individual states who have chosen to join forces at the federal level to provide for some unification across state lines and provide protection from outside forces equally. The governing and servicing of the state’s citizens is, ideally, left to the states.

We are not a kingdom or country ruled by the federal government.

California doesn’t tell Texas what to do, at least not directly. And, in the Founding Fathers’ Constitutional framework, that would never work. However, with our ever-expanding federal government, California lobbyists can spend hours with various lawmakers and regulators and then, if by magic, Texas is being forced, by law or regulation, to imitate California, even if those actions aren’t to the best interest of, or desired by, Texas’s citizens.

The current federal government doesn’t want your business, they want—actually, need—your money. As conservatives rally to reduce the size and scope of the federal government, we must be ready and willing to transition these programs either by weaning people off them altogether or adopting the programs into the state administration as well as the budget. Reliance on the federal government has become a state and individual addiction. Rehabilitation will be costly and miserable in the short-term but the long-term benefits will allow more prosperity and opportunity for us all.