Monday, September 26, 2011
Walter E Williams: Government Charity: Role of Government?
I realize that libertarians and Classical Conservatives to a certain extent believe that the Federal Government has no role in dealing with poverty in America. And looking after the Economic Welfare of its people because of the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution. That according to libertarians and some Classical Conservatives lays out exactly what the Federal Government can do. But there's also the Welfare Clause in the US Constitution. And it doesn't just say that the Federal Government has the responsibility to look after the Public Safety and National Security of the country. But the Welfare of the People which can interpreted to mean other things. Which along with the Commerce Clause in the US Constitution, has been justified for the New Deal and Great Society agendas. And the Federal Courts have agreed with the Federal Government over and over the years. Which is why most of both the New Deal and Great Society agendas have stayed in place. But representing a huge part of both President Franklin Rossevelt's and President Lyndon Johnson's Presidential Legacy.
I've made this argument before but as a liberal my issues with the Federal Government's. Involvement in Anti Poverty programs and other Social Insurance programs, doesn't have to do with the Constitutionality of the programs. But the wisdom of them, for instance should the Federal Government be running some of these programs or not. Take Public Housing and Food Assistance to use as examples or could these programs do more good and be more effective. If they were run by other entity's and Levels of Government, could they be run better then they are now or not. As a liberal I believe the Federal Government has a responsibility to look after the Welfare of its People as well as protect them physically. And has a role here, not just as the Administrator of all of the Social Insurance programs but I would like to see them more as a regulator. Similar to what the do in education rather then running these programs themselves.
Our Social Insurance programs I believe would be a lot more effective if they were Decentralized. Instead of the Federal Government trying to run all of them and the total budget being around 2T$. Just on Social Insurance alone, they would be better off as well as these Social Insurance programs. Being passed on down to the States and given autonomy and run as Semi Private Non Profit Community Services. With its only role and responsibility with each State having its own version of these programs. And lets see what works and doesn't work across the country. After all the States have been called "Labs of Democracy" and there's a lot of truth to that.
Each State has its own issues and populations that it has to deal with and govern and should have more authority to dealing with these issues. Instead of the Federal Government trying to manage all of these programs, a lot of them duplicate. For a huge country of fifty States and of over 310M people.