SAFE is concerned with public policy – not politics as such – but it is hard to envision our smaller, more focused, less costly government agenda being implemented without major changes in the political climate. Indeed, over the past 50 years or so, the country has been moving the other way most of the time.
The obvious solution might seem to be that Americans should wake up, demand policy changes, and elect political leaders who will honor their wishes. Isn’t that what the Tea Party movement launched in 2009 was all about?
But political protest movements tend to burn out quickly, and the major political parties seem to have an affinity for a big government approach that enables them to distribute a lot of “goodies” to their supporters.
It is tempting to see a solution in the original intent of the Constitution, which was that the federal government would exercise its enumerated powers while leaving other matters, e.g., education and welfare spending, to the state governments and/or private initiative. In other words, let’s follow the 10th Amendment.
One doubts the courts will say they have wrongly decided case after case over the past century or so, however, and scrapping the huge federal government programs that have been created does not figure to be easy. There are also problems with state and local governments, which can't be solved simply by getting the Feds out of the picture.
Structural changes in the US political system may be needed to achieve lasting improvements and/or avert a catastrophic financial crisis. But what sort of changes?
On the left, there have been proposals to do away the Electoral College, supervise the drawing of Congressional district lines, and institute new election finance “reforms” (current rules in this area seem to have done more harm than good). Quite possibly, additional rights would be proposed in the name of “social justice.”
Absent structural changes, Americans must strive to make the existing political system work. Our periodic observations along these lines (see examples below) will hopefully assist in navigating the rapids that lie ahead. •The Choice (fall of 2012) - election issue seen as the proper size and role of the government; to our disappointment, the big government faction would come out on top. •Threats (March 2013) - survey of economic, political, and national security developments, ranging from somewhat favorable to downright ugly. •Immigration Reform (June 2013) - our ideas for stopping illegal immigration (and why then proposed legislation fell woefully short). •Economic survey (August 2013) - US economic review: growth, jobs, inflation, basic government services, & taxes.