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Smaller government?

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posted on Feb, 5 2015 @ 01:45 PM
With all the political debates going on, I've been doing some thinking on just what constitutes smaller government.

Even though I consider myself a liberal, I certainly don't like being spied upon by NSA, etc. I don't like experiences like being groped and going through "special screening" by the TSA just because I changed my flight. And I don't like the heavy hand of the IRS taxing me into oblivion.

Having said that, I hear many conservatives/libertarians say they would like smaller government. Now there are many different branches of government. What I want to discuss is state/county/local/municipal government.

I feel that many of take for granted just how much our local government agencies do for us. For example, the county I live in has many services that would be very bad to eliminate. I live in an area that experiences harsh winters. I wouldn't want to have to take my own life into my hands every time I drive somewhere. If snow plowing were eliminated, we would be in deep snow.

I hesitate to think of not having emergency management services that tell us when severe weather is coming our way. I feel it makes a huge difference.

What about human services? Yeah, I'm biased as I work for my county human services. I never had a clue just how much they do for the community. Let's say you're going through a difficult time and have found yourself jobless, with no money, maybe about to be evicted because you cannot pay your rent. You can go to human services and sign up for foodstamps, emergency rental assistance, and assistance with finding a job.

You see someone beating the crap out of their kid/spouse/elderly relative. You can call child protection services or adult services anonymously, and it'll be checked into. It would be a shame if that didn't exist. You would just shrug and think "well damn that sucks". The county I live in operates a top notch nursing home facility. They also own and operate our expanding regional airport.

Cities and counties, as well as the state have police. What if that were eliminated? I shudder to think about that.

My whole point is that those who want "smaller government" maybe take all the things our state/county/city/municipality government people do for granted. Being taxpayers, we are paying for these valuable services. Yeah, maybe they could be contracted out. That has been tried mostly with disastrous results.

I forget what state tried this, but one of the state attempted to contract out all human services economic support things to a private contractor. What happened is after less than a year, the private contractor was hemorghaging money, thousands of people got screwed out of their benefits, and a very expensive lawsuit ensued, with the state taking control back.

I'd like to know what you all think of this. It would be especially nice to hear the conservative point of view. Agree? Disagree?

One last thing: Remember where this thread is - Above Politics. Please keep things civil. Do not troll. Do not get nasty or personal. I will be closely monitoring this thread. If I see any signs of these things, I will ask the mods to close the thread. I believe we can all keep the debate civil, while engaging in some debate. Thank you.

posted on Feb, 5 2015 @ 01:55 PM
a reply to: ChiefD

The architecture is the primary problem. It is becoming more centralized and that is the root of most malfunctions. It needs to be decentralized.

Then we can talk about scale.

posted on Feb, 5 2015 @ 01:59 PM
But government is a guaranteed & steady paycheck, didncha know?

Have to start driving, will read the op at next stop light!
edit on 5-2-2015 by Eunuchorn because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 5 2015 @ 02:02 PM
They just give the money to contractors instead of employees. The government workers used to stabilize the local economies, now with contractors, their workers are not paid as well and do not have benefits. That won't stabilize anything, the contractors just lay off people when the income drops or they feel like taking a trip somewhere.

posted on Feb, 5 2015 @ 02:22 PM
For starters, the Department of Education is a waste.

the United States Department of Education is currently requesting $70 BILLION of which $22 Billion is Pell Grants.

The other 48 Billion? Well, you know

Mandatory funds (separate) are in the student loan-shark program for a combined total of $200 Billion.

Clearly Education in the US is now at the "pathetic" level and they have failed.

Imagine taking that 48 Billion and sending it to the states, what the States could do with just that 1 Billion. Just transfer the entire budget, let the states use 4 Billion each for Education and watch the change.

The # of teachers they could hire, upgrade facilities. Etc.
edit on 5-2-2015 by infolurker because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 5 2015 @ 03:04 PM
a reply to: ChiefD

All very good and important questions to consider when attempting to determining the necessary scope and scale of government.

Generally speaking, almost all of the complaints that I have with government overreach have to do with central federal power. That is the beast with a thousand heads that must be kept in check.

With regard to local government, you can hand out golden muhammad shaped dildos at public taxpayer cost for all I care, I just won't live in that state or town anymore. No harm, no foul. Citizens must be able to 'vote with their feet', if they cannot, they are prisoners.

So, your snow removal isn't under threat from the benefits of government reduction. Indeed, the federal programs which get the lion's share of tax revenue are the very entities which we are in need of deprecating.

posted on Feb, 5 2015 @ 03:57 PM
You all make some great points.

I too wonder about the money the federal government is wasting that could go to states and local municipalities. While I'm not crazy about decentralizing things, it may be something to consider for some things. As long as local governments are willing to sit down and talk about these things and make decisions, that is a good thing.

And while contracting out some things may make sense, I don't see that working well. Rickymouse, I agree with you on this.

It just seems to me that local and state government is held more accountable to the people than the federal government.

posted on Feb, 5 2015 @ 04:25 PM
a reply to: ChiefD

You're completely correct about all the great and efficient local government progrAms. I have a few where I live as well. The key word is local. I want a vastly smaller federal government. I think local communities can do a lot of things on their own, as you pointed out without having an overreaching federal government to overly tax us for services that simply don't work for the vast majority of us.

Edit to add note:

In your snow removal analogy, what if the federal government decided they needed to start a federal funding snow removal agency to ensure no street ever goes unplowed. Would you support it? I wouldn't the same way I don't support many of the national programs that are better left to the local communities. I think people are a lot smarter than liberals give them credit for and we can figure out how to plow our own roads without a nanny government.
edit on 2/5/2015 by PsychoEmperor because: to add note

posted on Feb, 5 2015 @ 04:34 PM
There are a lot of things that should be done at a state and local level that have been usurped by the Feds. This country is very large and there is no one correct way to do a lot of things the Fed tries to force us all to do the same way. Part of the idea of federalism is that the states were to serve as micro-laboratories for governance. With 50 smaller governments tackling the thorny problems, it was felt that someone, somewhere had to hit on an idea for handling those issues sooner or later.

If Kansas figured something novel out, then other states could look at how they were doing it and adapt the idea to work for their own unique situations. After all, no state is exactly the same and all have their own unique challenges and cultures even. Something viable in sunny Florida might be an absolute disaster when applied to Alaska. Even better, because every state could have its own microcosm, people would be free to move from place to place as suited them, and if one state created a complete disaster ... Cali I'm looking at you ... the damage would be limited in scope with people able to escape.

And further within the states, this was supposed to apply down to the municipalities. If a town wanted to build its own swimming pool it ought to be able to get its citizens together and raise a tax to get the money together for it. If the city wanted a service, the citizens ought to be able to agree on how it would be handled in a similar manner.

But these days because we have such a top heavy and strong-arming Fed, the Fed appropriates the lion's share of money in taxes. Then the states scrabble over the scraps and are limited in what freedom they have to design their own policy once the Fed gets down making rules for all. And that leaves the cities with the least latitude and revenue of all.

In the end, it means that the cities and states have to beg money from Big Brother for their projects. And the Fed has enormous control over things they never were intended to control by power of the purse. It's all inverted thanks to the IRS which should never have existed in the first place.

posted on Feb, 5 2015 @ 06:44 PM
a reply to: PsychoEmperor

Regarding having a federal snow removal agency, OMG no way! Can you imagine? I agree that people are much smarter than liberals give them credit for. Remember though, try not to paint all liberals with the same broad brush. I may be liberal, but I believe most programs can be handled better by local government. I totally agree that the federal government is too much.

posted on Feb, 5 2015 @ 06:46 PM
a reply to: ketsuko

I totally agree! I know that my local government relies on some things from federal grants. That money seems to be drying up too. They have to jump through more and more hoops to get less money. That's a shame.

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