Disenchanted citizens are asserting their independence as the traditional two party system fails repeatedly to resolve problems and act within the limits placed upon government by the people and the states. The two party system maintains the status quo within certain limits set forth by the ruling class and the main stream media to constrain acceptable political thought within the boundaries of Hillary Clinton on one side and Mitch McConnell on the other.
Two primary schools of thought persist. One promotes a powerful, centralized national government with few limits on power. The other promotes a slightly less powerful national government with moderate limits on power. Neither promotes constitutionally limited government. In short, this describes the differences between the Democrat and Republican Party and the range bound thoughts promoted by the ruling class and the main stream media.
Innately, both the Tea Party and the Occupy movement know something has going terribly awry. While there are vast political and philosophical differences between the two movements they have some common ground; a genesis based in fear, frustration, and helplessness. The continuation of a one size fits all governance paradigm works only when your guy or Party is in power. Otherwise, the Party in power is generally sticking it to the other side. The constant thrashing back and forth between the Party in power and who is sticking it to whom never ceases. Over the past eighty years history has demonstrated government constantly grows larger, more coercive, and more intrusive. That is the nature of the beast.
Depending on the Party in power the vast expanse of national government intrusion and dominion exercised over the people, in nearly all aspects of life and liberty, creates animosity, jealousy, and envy amongst the people. The ruling class intentionally creates and promotes an environment where people are divided and pitted against one another on the basis of race, religion, wealth, national security, social issues, etc.
Ultimately, power is consolidated through the political vortex in Washington D.C. and the Party in power continues its business as usual crusade. This is our political reality. The electorates “just get our guy in” mentality and things will improve miraculously is naive and foolhardy. This is precisely where the ruling class wants us serfs to live; within their definitions of governance which guarantees the status quo. This ensures the ruling class remains in power.
Over the past thirty years the country has experienced every combination of Republican and Democrat President and Congress in power. Yet, the national debt has grown from $1 trillion in 1981 to $15 trillion in 2011. Depending on which numbers you believe, unfunded entitlement liabilities are $58 trillion to $120 trillion. Annual deficits routinely exceed $1 trillion. Nearly 50% of all federal income tax returns filed in 2009 had no income tax liability. Approximately 48% of American households receive some form of government assistance. The Social Security trust fund was raided years ago and only paper IOUs exist today. The country has been involved in two undeclared wars for ten years, and the President unilaterally involved the U.S. in Libya.
Major financial institutions, including the Federal Reserve, are in bed with the national government. Through government intervention banks are bailed out and moral hazard is reduced or eliminated. The TARP Act and the Dodd-Frank Bill protects the banking system at our expense. Risk is socialized while rewards are privatized. The government’s message to banks is take more risk for a greater reward and if your gamble fails the people will bail you out. This is akin to gambling in a casino. Which game would you play if one game with lower risk and lower rewards has 2:1 odds and another game with greater risk and greater rewards has 5:1 odds knowing that if you lost everything someone would bail you out? Financial institutions take greater risks because government reduced/eliminated moral hazard under the guise of Too Big Too Fail.
Fortunately, there is a solution that allows people with diverse political and philosophical views to live without forcing their ideology upon others. The framers called it federalism.
Ultimately, the choice comes down to centralized rule where a one size fits all solution is applied to all fifty states, or decentralized rule where the federal government is constitutionally limited and the states and the people retain the majority of powers. Federalism affords diverse people the opportunity to freely choose a state that more closely adheres to their political and philosophical views. For instance, those in favor of government provided health care, housing, welfare, etc. and higher taxes to support those programs may choose to live in Massachusetts. Likewise, those in favor of individual responsibility, liberty, freedom, etc. and lower taxes may choose to live in Oklahoma.
Federalism recognizes diversity in people as well as diversity in states. A centralized, powerful national government cannot provide a one size fits all solution while allowing diverse people to choose freely where to live. Opponents of federalism argue states can do wrong; therefore we need a centralized, powerful government to ensure states act appropriately. Obviously, any level of government can do wrong but the difference is how extensively that wrong applies to the people. If the federal government acts wrongly everybody may suffer. However, if one, two, or ten states act wrongly people in other states are unaffected and people can still vote with their feet and move to another state.
Moreover, states can more easily and rapidly experiment with different solutions. Some states may legalize marijuana while others may not. Some states may have stricter gun control laws (assuming they don’t violate State constitutions) while others may have no gun control laws. States that implement higher tax rates and less competitive business environments are less likely to attract business, whereas states with lower tax rates and more competitive business environments would attract business. This natural competition amongst the fifty states provides a certain check and balance ensuring states don’t become tyrannical or anarchical.
The Tea Party and the Occupy movement can find a common solution without compromising their political and philosophical views if both sides can agree not to impose their views on the other side via a one size fits all, centralized, powerful national government. Obviously, those that insist upon a collectivist utopia forced upon the masses would be unwilling to accept the premises of federalism. However, some in the Occupy movement and most in the Tea Party movement would accept federalism as a solution.
You can hope for change to your heart’s content, but real change requires real change, not sophomoric change. The “just get our guy in” mentality is sophomoric change.
A return to federalism is real change.