Copyright 2012 by John T. Reed
On Friday morning, my youngest son, Mike, and I went to see John Stossel. He was on his book tour for No They Can’t and spoke at the Sir Francisco Drake Hotel in San Francisco under the auspices of the Commonwealth Club. There were TV cameras so I expect you will be able to see that talk on C-Span. (My son and I sat at the closest front table to John to his left—we may be visible in the video.)
There was an anti-business guy at our table arguing with me that Americans needed to stop being so interested in making money and that we need to stop being divided. That stimulated me to realize that one of the reasons we are so divided these days is that the Democrats are trying to move all government power to Washington DC not to mention expanding federal government power over individuals as well.
When you run health care from the federal government from DC, you have to get a majority of 313 million people to agree on how to do it. That’s 157 million in agreement.
If, however, you only want to decide how to run health care on the Upper West Side of Manhattan—“single payer” with a portrait of Karl Marx in every medical facility—no sweat. 90% of the people there will agree.
So wise up. Stop trying to force Upper West Side of Manhattan health care on the lower east side of Laramie, Wyoming. And stop being surprised and angry when the people Laramie indicate they do not want their health governed by things that appeal to Upper West Side Commie Pinko Liberal Hippy Bed wetters. Stop trying to tell Alaskans what they can or cannot do in ANWR in the name of protecting caribou when the would-be national dictators on the Upper West Side of Manhattan cannot pick a caribou out of a line up.
Actually, we used to have this. And New York City whined. They said it was unfair to them and their fellow compassionate cities to let other localities be less compassionate because that would cause the needy to move to New York.
Oh, so you figured that out did you?
Let me add it would also cause “the rich,” whom you tax so you can get the money to purchase your compassionateness, will move out of New York City.
What we have here, Upper West Side of Manhattan, is called competition. If you want to be a place that screws the rich and gives money to the needy, you will get fewer rich and more needy. That, in turn, will force you not to go too overboard. Sorry, but welcome to planet earth where incentives matter.
But moving power back to “the states and the people,” as the X Amendment explicitly requires, would eliminate most of the divisions in America today. Like-minded people tend to live in the same areas. By putting government power there instead of in Washington, you make it infinitely easier for Americans to agree.
Ultimately, the problem is not that America is divided. It is that liberals want a totalitarian socialist state. Talking about division suggests they care about voter opinions. They do not. They regard voters as an extreme constitutional error that is quite an annoyance in their efforts to seize run everything.
It has been well-established that the the public gives far more favorable ratings to their local governments than to the higher levels and they hate the highest level: Congress. Basically, the smaller government is, the more people rate it high. And the farther away from the people the government is, the more people hate it.
I wrote an article a while back saying the red election districts should secede from the U.S. and start a new country called Maker Land. The blue election districts would be called Taker Land. I know that is unlikely.
Devolving government power away from the federal government down to the states, counties and most importantly, municipalities, would be easier to achieve and would accomplishment pretty much the same thing except that we would still be divided about the federal responsibilities that cannot be localized—like defense, international relations, federal courts, FBI.
The bottom line is that the divisions in the country are not caused by our being stupid and unwilling to compromise. They stem from Democrats trying to make everything from what light bulb you can buy to whom you can marry to whether you can drill a well in your own back yard to how you deal with sickness or injury—trying to make all of that and more a matter solely for the federal government to determine. That is not necessary and is in fact bad for the reasons stated above.
The more local you make government power, the fewer divisions you will find. The divisions are normal responses to buttinsky Democrats trying to tell 313 million individuals how to live their lives.
John T. Reed