Chris Edwards, a friend of mine from the Cato Institute, has written a condemnation of the “grants-in-aid” programs the federal government uses to impose its own regulations on the states. He notes that President Calvin Coolidge predicted that government would encroach on the states, and it has. The federal government has especially intruded into the areas of education, housing and transportation. Those are all local issues that could be handled better at the state level. Chris explains why federal mandate policies don’t work well, and how states could do a better job. He writes (abridged):
In a 1928 book about the growing federal aid system, political scientist Austin Macdonald captured the spirit of the times: “The old line of division between state and national powers is manifestly unsuited to present-day conditions” and the “bewildering patchwork” of state policies is unsatisfactory.131 Diversity is old-fashioned—the modern approach to government management is national standards imposed with “infinite tact and skill” by federal officials, claimed Macdonald.132
Not everyone was convinced. Gov. Albert Ritchie of Maryland pushed back hard against aid, saying in 1925, “the system ought to be abolished, root and branch.”133 The same year, President Calvin Coolidge warned in his State of the Union address that federal encroachment on local governments created the danger of “encumbering the national government beyond its wisdom to comprehend, or its ability to administer” sound policies.134 And in 1926, Coolidge opposed spending $109 million that was budgeted for state aid, saying:
I am convinced that the broadening of this field of activity is detrimental both to the federal and state governments. Efficiency of federal operations is impaired as their scope is unduly enlarged. Efficiency of state governments is impaired as they relinquish and turn over to the federal government responsibilities which are rightfully theirs. I am opposed to any expansion of these subsidies.135
Read the entire report in the PDF below:restoring responsible government by cutting federal aid to the states
Read more from Chris here.
Originally posted on Your Survival Guy.