Skip to comments.Chop the tentacles of the federal leviathan - grants (vanity)
Posted on 01/08/2010 12:51:52 PM PST by Still Thinking
Posts on a number of threads at FR have correctly pointed out the damage done by many types of federal grants, dispensed with strings attached to states, and Id been meaning to jot down some thoughts on the topic and respond. Of course, now I cant find any of those threads, so Ill just start one of my own. In reality, this is an issue of such importance it probably deserves its own thread.
The offer of federal funds in exchange for the state taking some action desired by the feds is an implicit admission that its an issue on which the feds have no Constitutional authority. If a cop tells you to do something, he doesnt slip you a sawbuck if you do it. Your boss has no pre-existing legal right to demand that you show up for work, so in exchange for you doing so, he gives you a paycheck. If the funds are being paid to influence some issue outside the Constitutional grant of powers to the federal government, that leads to questions about the money itself: Where did the money come from? Either they had money in excess of the amount needed to care for their delegated responsibilities or theyre using money that should be used in that way for things theyre not supposed to be involved in. Then either theyve overtaxed us and not refunded the overcharge, or theyre diverting funds needed to carry out their proper responsibilities to other ends. Or (the actual explanation) theyre borrowing money, obligating us and our children for a debt of money used for things they admit they have no authority for.
When used to influence legislation, these grants will be used disproportionately in favor of bills that would be politically unpopular with the states voters. Otherwise wouldnt whatevers being paid for already be the law? So the feds use our own money to influence our legislatures to pass laws we dont want, on issues the feds admit they have no Constitutional authority to meddle in. Sounds like a program ripe for termination (and corresponding reduction in taxes or borrowing), right? But theres still a problem if we just stop doing this today.
The horse is already out of the barn. There's a lot of inertia to legislatures and the public. If the grants were stopped today, five years from now you'd probably find all the laws they paid for (speed limits, helmet laws, seatbelt laws, 0.08 BAL DUI, etc) still in force. The laws have been in place long enough theyve become the baseline for many. Many people probably even think theyre good and necessary, that their repeal would wreak havoc on the roads and highways, just like people who hate gun rights are always prophesying blood in the streets every time someone proposes rolling back some infringement on our gun rights. If it took 20 years to get people acclimated to the idea that the federal government is allowed to have a say in what they wear on the road, it may take 20 years to educate them and the next generation, that that is not in fact the case.
I get an engineering trade magazine, and there was an article a while back sympathizing with guys who like to work on their own cars, but wholl now be unable to rotate their own tires because it would confuse the cars computer about which signal was coming from which tire air pressure sensor. The author seemed to feel that while the loss of autonomy was an unfortunate side effect, it was unavoidable because the alternative would be that we would all have to drive around without automated tire pressure monitoring. Onoz! What does the guy think weve been doing for a century now? Just because someone invented this thing, which may or may not solve a problem that doesnt even appear to exist, Im expected to be willing to give up the option to do something if it would mean interfering with this system, which I never asked for in the first place. See what I mean? People are idiots! And this guys an engineer!
So if we stop handing out highway funds today, the laws the feds bribed states to enact against their own people, with their own money, would probably stay in force, for free!
Perhaps the solution is to keep the funds giveaway rolling for a finite time in reverse. If you want federal highway funds for 2010 and subsequent years, you have to return your DUI BAL, seatbelt laws, helmet laws, speed limits, whatever, to whatever they were BEFORE the federal bribes went into effect. Then keep the new "liberty grants" in force for at least as long as the old anti-rights ones were, to undo the acclimatization damage they did. By stating only that a state must return the law to what it was pre-grant, then if there is a state populated by such government-sucking sheeple that they actually wanted harsh repressive laws absent federal involvement, and passed them without being bribed by the feds, they can keep them. The whole point here is to AVOID butting into the way voters govern their own states. Or, another approach might be to say that if the law didn't change post-grant, then the grants did no harm in that state on that topic, and grants to that state on that particular issue are terminated immediately.
Was trying to post this in Chat because it’s a vanity, but relevant topics weren’t available. Plus I obviously feel it’s an important and timely issue.
Ping to the liberty crowd!
The Clintons’ bipartisan, anti-family politicos pushed many of those kinds of grants for many social programs during the ‘90s. Politicians in both political parties quickly passed them, while chattering constituents in both parties cheered them on. ...no opposition except from fathers’ rights groups.
Many will pray for the defaults to come while preparing to provide for their loved ones. Enjoy the ride.
"I believe a long winded reply is something that is needed here at FR, so fire away. Make sure that it will be read by as many readers as possible."
"We agree on the basic premise; it's our money. but in reality it only empowers them and weakens us. This is not something that is going to be easily overcome, and not in the short term. I have long felt that it is going to take some cataclysmic event(s) to get us back on track. However, now with the election of Obama, the cataclysmic events are cascading into our future and we are now rapidly approaching the need for an all our revolution."
Well, today I finally got around to jotting down some thoughts on it and at first couldn't find that thread or others where I would have liked to add it, so I started this thread.
We should be mindful of what we tolerate, eh? It also leads me to wonder if it could also be compared to battered spouse syndrome, that is, it's a bad relationship but the one getting the shaft becomes, if not comfortable with the situation, at least comes to accept it.
It’s true. And after escaping from such a relationship, those women often enter another one with a similar type man, either because it’s what they’re used to or because their “ideal” mate has personality traits that end up fostering abuse. Sad.
Oh, and thanks for the kind assessment. You’re very tolerant. ;-)
All of the abuses of government you describe are a consequence of the New Deal Commerce Clause.
Shoot. Repeal the Commerce Clause itself if you have to. Shove the beast back in it’s box. And yes, a reversal of Wickard would have me whistling for weeks.
I don't think we want to repeal it. A reading of the Federalist Papers and other supporting documents reveals that within it's originally intended scope and context, it is arguably necessary for the national government to have that power.
I wasn't being kind, I was being honest... ;^)
I agree. It's not that I want to get rid of it. I was just making the point that the current situation is so intolerable that if that were the only way to fix it, it might be worth doing.
Good post. Thanks
There's been lots of justified concern in recent years that the federal government -- that crazy uncle in the attic -- has broken free of its restraints and is smashing the crockery and scaring the kids. Between George W. Bush's police state and Barack Obama's fascist economics (or is that Bush's fascism and Obama's police state?), the peril on the Potomac seems to represent an ever-growing threat to our liberty. But as the column I wrote earlier this week about a SWAT raid in small-town Arizona suggests, it's too easy to keep your eyes focused on D.C. and so miss the machinations of the control freaks in the local city hall.
The fact is that local governments have enormous power over the petty details of our day-to-day lives. Yes, the federal government may keep you awake at night fretting about wiretaps, bans, taxes and mandates, but it's local officials who get to decide whether you even have a bed in which to toss and turn. City councilmen, zoning and planning officials, building inspectors and the like get to determine whether you can move into a new home or open a business. A denied occupancy permit, a refused zoning variance or a hiked water fee can make all the difference in the world.
Thread on that article here: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2428438/posts?page=1