We must re-define the scope of government. The original idea of America was to have a strong but very limited in scope Federal Government. The Constitution laid out clearly what the scope was to be and it is a small fraction of what it has evolved into today.
There is no question that as time goes on there are new issues that arise because of new problems and technologies, but the inherent and legal philosophy can and should still be used to make the determination on whether it fits into the federal government's proper role to manage these things. If it is something that falls outside of what the constitution allows, they either must not do it or we change the constitution to accommodate this new responsibility. The reason this is so important is not just because one is a stickler for the letter of the Constitution but because Governments, unless strictly held in check, only grow over time.
Most bureaucrats and elected officials want more money and control, and as this occurs they get their hands into more and more areas of life. The problem is that as the organism of central government grows it becomes unfocused and loses transparency. Waste and corruption go up and accountability goes down. Just look at recent events with the banking bailouts, the BP oil spill and other areas of corruption and incompetence such as Katrina. Another important problem is that you have a lot less individual say in your federal government as you are only 1 in 231 million eligible voters and it takes huge amounts of money and organization to make an impact on a national level. On the other hand you can have far more impact in your city or even your state. It's much easier to hold local governments accountable than it is a national government. You could reasonably have a chance of being on your city council or maybe even the state assembly. It is much more difficult to be in the House of Representatives, not to mention the Senate or President.
Less government is better, but the government we have should be as local as possible. We are often caught up with reform rather then elimination, and while we can reform the government until we are blue in the face, much of it just needs to be eliminated. To give you a feeling about how the size of the Federal Government has grown here are the percentages of the Gross Domestic Product that our Federal Government spends. This number tells us how big a piece of the entire economy the government is:
In less than 100 years the size of the federal government has grown ten fold. We need to reign in the size of government and get it down to less than half its current size relative to GDP. The total of all government in the US should not exceed 20% and the federal government should be less than 10%. We need to cut, but what are we to cut? It's not as hard as you may think, and you will be surprised at how long we have managed to live without these programs that have now become untouchable.
Cut the following departments to either their proper role or cut them entirely and take the few responsibilities that some of them have that are needed and lawful and merge them into departments that are more justifiable. We need a department of defense we just don't need them to police the world:
We should bring most if not every troop home, not only from the middle east wars but also from our foreign bases. There is no increased long term safety to have troops all over the world and spend the $1trillion dollars annually to maintain this false sense of security. It's always funny how these war hawk, anti-terror, hard liners can't wait to send troops all over the world and yet our borders and ports are totally unsecured. Wait, here's an idea, bring our troops home, reunite them with their families, spend a hell of a lot less money and have them secure our borders and ports! Let these other countries figure out their own issues. Defense policy should not run on fear. That's what they constantly feed us. Do not become a victim of fear. As Ben Franklin said, "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety".
The free market will handle energy demands. All we need is a department that manages mineral rights for mining and Oil/Gas drilling. We do not need a so called "energy policy". This department has caused far more bad than good. Do some research on ethanol and how the heavy subsidizing of corn to produce ethanol has caused massive deforestation, more pollution and higher food costs. The market will meet our energy needs not the government.
This department hurts education, it doesn't help it. It exists because educational special interests have taken over the system in this country. Government in this country spends over $1 trillion on education annually. In 1970 we spent $56.5 billion. That is a 20 fold increase in spending and our test scores have stayed the same. How are we spending 20 times as much for the same? Some of that is inflation but most of it is not. Also remember that in 1970 people did not have computers and other high tech devices that should be accelerating learning today by leaps and bounds.
This department does more to hurt civil liberties in this nation than anyone can imagine. We do not need this department. It opens the door to a massive loss on civil liberties.
Labor is a state issue. The federal government does not need to tell you how to have people do their jobs.
Farming is a state and market issue. The market place will meet the food demand and this department's rules are set up to favor a move to a mega agri-business model, where a few huge corporations make all the food. The food they make tends not to be healthy or made with care for you, the earth or the animals they sell.
Housing is a city and local issue. The federal government often creates large ghettos and is a major contributor to price inflation in real estate because of their interference.
Providing healthcare for the poor is something that if it's going to be done should only be done at a state and local level. Really it should be done by charities and not the government. This program and the way it's designed bankrupts states, creates medical care inflation and creates a dependent class of people.
This program went from a national insurance policy for very old widows to a national retirement plan for the masses. Whether you like it or not, it will go bankrupt, and we have to, at a minimum, get this program solvent. This most fairly and easily could be done by raising the retirement age significantly. Think about this: when social security was created in the 1930's, the average life expectancy was 62, but you did not start receiving social security until the age of 65.
If you're going to do an apples to apples comparison with the current life expectancy then and now, the retirement age for social security should be 80 today. The people today who are at or near the current retirement age do need to have the promise we made them kept, but we need to begin to move this program into its intended direction. Social security should be a bottom line insurance plan for people who can no longer physically work and have outlived their savings.
This program is only about 45 years old and already threatens the entire United States as its deficits are going to be overwhelming very soon. There are two main issues. The first is that healthcare is too expensive, primarily due to the fact that we do not have a free market for healthcare. The way to create manageable healthcare costs is not difficult:
We as Americans are facing a dire future and possible economic and structural collapse if we do not face the facts and take back individual responsibility. Political promises do nothing. The same speeches we hear every election cycle, but it is the power of the people given them by the law of our land that must hold our massive government accountable. Remember the government serves the people.
The warning of the upcoming cliff can be best summed up by a quote most attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville, "The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money."
In 1913 (bad year if you like freedom!), the same year that the Federal Reserve was created, there were two constitutional amendments put into place that have radically changed America for the worst. The first was the 16th Amendment which paved the way for the IRS and the personal income tax, and the second was the 17th Amendment put into affect in April of that same year.
The 17th amendment sounds simple and not too controversial. It changes election laws for Senators by mandating that our Senators be elected by popular vote. However prior to this, the Constitution mandated that all Senators were to be chosen by their state legislature.
You may think that this change shouldn't matter much, but simply put, America always had a balance of power in its federal government. Our elected House of Representatives are localized and popularly elected officials who are there to bring a very quick response from the people to Washington, and to give smaller groups of people a say in their government. With short two year terms this part of the congress could be reshuffled quickly to advocate the will of the people.
The President was meant to represent the will of our nation as a whole and Presidential terms were set at four years, which is in between the two years for Representatives and the six year terms of our Senators. This balanced our congress with both a shorter, medium term and longer national outlook. Senators were always picked by our state legislators to represent the interests of the individual states. This Senate branch of congress was meant to move more thoughtfully and slowly, hence the 6 year terms. Senators were created to defend the power and independence of the state they were chosen to represent.
However, the 17th Amendment changed this by changing the election of Senators to popular vote. In so doing, we have destroyed this carefully crafted congressional system that was put in place by our founding fathers. In part, running for Senator is generally much more expensive than it is to run for the House of Representatives, and money pours in from large companies and special interests intended to influence Senators and elect those that will advance their special agenda. Overall, this amendment allows for centralized powerbases and radically affects state sovereignty. Because the states no longer have a seat at the national table, we have seen a huge power move from constitutionally mandated state centered government to nationally centered government.
This amendment was not an accident but a carefully planned and executed coup. Passed under the smoke screen of giving "citizens"; more control of their government it has done just the opposite by adding further corruption to the system and vastly eroding state independence.
Our Republic took a big hit in 1913. We would do this nation a great justice by repealing the 16th amendment, 17th amendment and The Federal Reserve act.