Return to Common Sense
February 27, 2012
Section: Domestic Policy
“Limit the federal government to those duties specifically enumerated in the Constitution, and let the states compete on merit.”
“Domestic policy can only defeat us; foreign policy can kill us.” John F. Kennedy.
Philosophy (Background, Issues, Objectives):
Constitution established a federal government of limited powers, enumerated in Article I, section 8.
- Establish justice (courts)
- Insure domestic tranquility (punishing crimes).
- Provide for common defense (maintain armed services).
- Secure the blessings of liberty.
- The Commerce clause “The Congress shall have Power...To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes...” has been used to subsume almost any human activity.
States rights reaffirmed by 9th and 10th Amendments to the Constitution
- People grant specific enumerated powers to the Federal government, thus limiting Federal power.
- Each state has its own government, and can create its own laws.
- No state may enter any treaty, alliance, or confederation on is own.
- Each state is free to tax
- Each state is free to spend
Anglo-American foundations of society are:
- God created man.
- Sanctity of life.
- Enduring morality and virtue.
- Recognition of man’s fallen nature.
Federal spending is the third-largest item in the federal budget after Social Security and defense.
· Aid to the states increased from $286 billion in 2000 to an estimated $449 billion in 2007.
· The number of state aid programs soared from 463 in 1990, to 653 in 2000, to 814 by 2006.
Unless Constitution specifically grants power to the Federal government, the states may legislate their own laws.
- Inter-state wealth redistribution (transfer payments) is not a valid purpose for any program.
Government programs must be self sustaining.
- Programs periodically examined for effectiveness.
- Favored industry support is not a valid purpose for any program.
- Analysis must have macroeconomic view, undistracted by short term or individual industry impacts
Conservative approach to social problems:
- A preference for limited government.
- A desire to means-test or otherwise target government benefits.
- A concern about the behavioral consequences of assistance.
- A deference to mediating institutions.
- Respect for private choice, often in the form of markets.
- Humility bred from disappointing experiences and the likelihood of unintended consequences.
Short Term, Limit size and intrusion of government.
- Enforce federalism principle with the 9th and 10th Amendments to the Constitution.
o Interpret Commerce Clause restrictively to return governmental power to the States.
- Use Performance Assessment Rating Tool (PART) to evaluate program effectiveness
- Use Commission on the Accountability and Review of Federal Agencies (CARFA) Act to terminate federal programs.
- Lower taxes to reflect government downsizing.
Long Term, Downsize government, with particular emphasis on unsustainable entitlement spending:
- Abolish Cabinet departments not covered under enumerated powers (2010 budgets):
o Department of Agriculture ($142.0 billion annually).
o Department of Commerce ($16.7 billion annually).
o Department of Education ($106.9 billion annually).
o Department of Energy ($38.3 billion annually).
o Department of Health and Human Services ($868.8 billion annually).
o Department of Housing and Urban Development ($62.5 billion annually).
o Department of Interior (12.0 billion annually).
o Department of Labor (209.3 billion annually).
o Department of Transportation ($90.9 billion annually).
- Privatize major entitlement programs into personal accounts:
o Medicare (325B) - Privatize into Personal Health Savings Accounts.
o Social Security - Privatize into personal accounts.
- Devolve entitlement programs back to the states:
o Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit ($62B)
o Medicaid ($186B)
o State Payment for Family Support ($4,142M).
o Temporary Assistance for Needy Families ($18,099M)
- Privatize activities that could be performed better as a standalone businesses:
o Privatize the Postal Service ($8.1B).
o Privatize Amtrak ($2.53 billion annually).
- Privatize activities that could be performed better by the private sector:
o Army Corps of Engineers ($4.9B).
o Export-Import Bank.
o Geographic Survey ($.5B).
o Global Positioning Service ($7.0B).
o Government Printing Office.
o Legal Services Corporation ($350 M).
o NASA ($15.7B).
o National Weather Service ($2.3B).
o Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation.
o Retirement Insurance, including Social Security ($527B).
o Risk Management Agency ($3.4B).
o St. Lawrence Seaway.
o Transportation Security Agency ($2.7B).
- Sell off excess federal assets:
o Excess electromagnetic spectrum ($150B).
o Commodity lands (Forest Service, BLM) ($160B).
o Government buildings and lands ($10.B).
- Privatize federal insurance programs since the government has no Constitutional role providing or guaranteeing insurance coverage:
o Crop Insurance.
o National Flood Insurance.
o Property Insurance.
o Terrorism Risk Insurance (TRIA).
o Windstorm Insurance.
- Devolve local programs back to the states:
o Child Care Entitlement Grants ($2.7B).
o Child Care & Development Grants ($2.1B).
o Community Oriented Policing Services ($575M).
o Community Service Grants ($631M)
o Environmental Protection Agency ($3.6B).
o Federal Transit Administration ($8.4B).
o Foster Care & Adoption Grants ($6.5B).
o Head Start ($6.8B).
o Social Service Grants ($1.8B).
- Terminate corporate welfare and other mis-targeted programs:
o Administration on Aging ($1.4B).
o Employment and Training Administration ($5.2B).
o Low Income Home Energy Assistance ($2.1B).
o Small Business Administration ($3.0B).
o Substance Abuse & Mental Health ($3.2B).
o Trade Adjustment Assistance ($1.1B).
- Terminate failed, outdated, and irrelevant programs:
o Agency for International Development ($3.7B).
o Corporation for Public Broadcasting ($466M).
o Economic Development Administration ($392M).
o Maritime Administration ($411M).
o National Endowment for the Arts & Humanities ($254M).
o Rural Development ($1.0B).
o United Nations ($362M).
Sell off excess federal assets:
- Excess electromagnetic spectrum ($150B).
- Commodity lands (Forest Service, BLM) ($160B).
- Government buildings and lands ($10.B).
United States Constitution, 1789.
“The Law” by Frederic Bastiat published by Foundation for Economic Education, 1998.
“Liberty and Tyranny” by Mark R. Levin published by Threshold Editions, 2009.
“Can Government Be Reinvented?” by Larry Reynolds, dated January 1994, published by Management Review.
“Congressional Testimony before Subcommittee on Human Resources and Intergovernmental Relations” by Roger Pilon, published by Cato Institute at http://www.cato.org/testimony/ct-fd720.html .
“The Corporate Welfare Budget Bigger Than Ever” by Stephen Slivinski, dated October 10, 2001, published by Cato Institute at http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-415es.html .
“A Strategy to Eliminate Wasteful Federal Spending” by Sam Brownback, dated October 16, 2003, published by Heritage Foundation at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Budget/HL806.cfm .
“How to Get Federal Spending Under Control” by Brian M. Riedl, dated March 5, 2004, published by Heritage Foundation at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Budget/bg1733.cfm .
“Downsizing the Federal Government” by Chris Edwards, dated June 2, 2004, published by
Cato Institute at http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=1373 .
“You Might be a Constitutionalist If…” by Chuck Baldwin, dated August 9, 2006, published By American Daily at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2006/05/waterfront_welfare_for_develop.html .
“A Moral Case Against Big Government: How Government Shapes the Character, Vision, and Virtue of Citizens” by Ryan Messmore, dated February 2007, published by The Heritage Foundation at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Thought/fp9.cfm .
“The Enlightenment: Anglo-American (Genesis) vs. Franco-Germanic (Anti-Genesis)” by Linda Kimball, dated March 9, 2007, published by American Daily at http://www.americandaily.com/article/17939 .
“Federal Aid to the States – Historical Cause of Government Growth and Bureaucracy” by Chris Edwards, dated May 22, 2007, published by Cato Institute at http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=8246 .
“My Neighbor’s Keeper? Rethinking Responsibility and the Role of Government” by Ryan Messmore, dated August 2, 2007, published by The Heritage Foundation at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Religion/bg2058.cfm .
“Restoring the American Social Contract” by Stuart M. Butler, dated July 26, 2007, published by Heritage Foundation at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Family/hl1039.cfm .
“Social Welfare Conservatism” by Douglas J. Besharov, dated January 9, 2008, published by American Enterprise Institute at http://www.aei.org/publications/filter.all,pubID.27338/pub_detail.asp .
the ‘Independence’ Back in Independence Day” by Michael
S. Berliner dated
ideas: unintended consequences” by Henry Lamb dated
“The Supreme Court and the Commerce Clause” by Thomas Brewton dated July 15, 2009 published by Thomas Brewton at http://www.thomasbrewton.com/index.php/weblog/the_supreme_court_and_the_commerce_clause/ .
“’ObamaCare:’ What does the Constitution have to say?” by Chelsea Schilling dated August 14, 2009 published by World Net Daily at http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=106694 .
“Re-embracing Federalism” dated August 17, 2010 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/08/Re-embracing-Federalism .
“Overcriminalization and the Constitution” by Brian W. Walsh and Benjamin P. Keane dated April 13, 2011 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2011/04/Overcriminalization-and-the-Constitution .