Federal government has too much power

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As Ronald Reagan took office as governor in 1967, he asked this question of those who doubted the people’s capacity for self rule. “If no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?” He then quoted Montesquieu, “The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principle upon which it was founded.” What is one of those principles of self rule? Strong Local Self Government. Our decay continues as power is continually gravitating from local government to state and from state to the federal level. As problem solving moves further away from the people to the central government, liberty and freedom are crowded out. Individual needs are put into the one size fits all state or federal solution, while benumbing the local spirit of volunteerism and turning over local problems to those furthest removed. Ironically as our state is mired in a financial morass it is trying to take more money from local governmen t to fix problems best solved at the local level. The government closest to the people is the most responsive, efficient and effective. So what level of government should assume what duties? Remember the primary role of any government is protection of life and property. In Federalist 45 James Madison wrote,”the powers delegated to the federal government are few and defined”.... exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce.” Jefferson indicated the role of the federal government is that of a department of foreign affairs. Madison further states, “the powers reserved to the several states will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement and prosperity of the state.” So what would happen if we return federal and state government to their primary roles of protecting life, property and liberty? Next time ANY elected o fficial wants to pass a law or start or continue a program they should ask themselves a few questions ordinary people triage in every day life. Is this program wise? Can we afford it? What level of government (if any) should deal with the problem? Should we sunset this law or program that is not related to the primary functions of government? Let’s return to our sound principles of economics and freedom by returning to strong, local self government. Dean Forman Past President PCRP, Meadow Vista