Return to Common Sense
June 1, 2019
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.
The left and right differ in their approach to law.
- Conservatives want fewer laws which exemplify principles which defend the rights of the average person so that they might be more productive and express as much liberty as possible.
- Liberal progressives, on the other hand, demand the law be used to create an equal society where each person can receive economic justice and equal status.
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 financial services activities currently performed in public sector:
o Federal Reserve Banks.
o Export-Import Bank.
o Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
o Rural Housing Service (RHS).
o Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae).
o Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), ($6.5 B).
o Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), ($6.5 B).
o Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB).
o Student Loan Marketing Corporation (Sallie Mae).
o Social Security - Privatize into Personal Savings Accounts.
- Privatize insurance services activities currently performed in public sector:
o Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation.
o Risk Management Agency ($3.4B).
o Crop Insurance.
o National Flood Insurance.
o Property Insurance.
o Terrorism Risk Insurance (TRIA).
o Windstorm Insurance.
- Privatize healthcare services activities currently performed in public sector:
o Medicare (325B) - Privatize into personal Health Savings Accounts.
- Privatize energy activities currently performed in public sector:
o Tennessee Valley Authority.
- Privatize transportation services activities currently performed in public sector:
o NASA ($15.7B).
o Amtrak ($2.53B).
o Army Corps of Engineers ($4.9B).
o St. Lawrence Seaway.
o National Weather Service ($2.3B).
o Geographic Survey ($.5B).
o Global Positioning Service ($7.0B).
o Transportation Security Agency ($2.7B).
o Federal Aviation Administration ($11.8B).
o Airport operations.
o Seaport operations.
o Highway operations
- Privatize communications services activities currently performed in public sector:
o Postal Service ($8.1B).
- Devolve insurance services activities that should be performed by individual states:
o Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
- Devolve healthcare services activities that should be performed by individual states:
o Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit ($62B)
o Medicaid ($186B).
o State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
- Devolve family services activities that should be performed by individual states:
o State Payment for Family Support ($4,142M).
o Temporary Assistance for Needy Families ($18,099M)
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 Foster Care & Adoption Grants ($6.5B).
o Head Start ($6.8B).
o Social Service Grants ($1.8B).
- Devolve transportation services activities that should be performed by individual states:
o Federal Transit Administration ($15.5B).
o Federal Highway Administration ($51.8B). .
- Sell off excess federal assets:
o Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
o Excess electromagnetic spectrum ($150B).
o Commodity lands (Forest Service, BLM) ($160B).
o Government buildings and lands ($10.B).
- Return federal lands to the states for local management.
o Transfer lands with marketable resources to fiduciary trusts to maximize net returns and/or preserve and restore ecosystems or cultural resources
o Each state can choose the level of natural resource exploitation.
o Privatize federal lands that have no unique environmental value.
- 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).
United States Constitution, 1789.
“The Law” by Frederic Bastiat, 1850.
“Liberty and Tyranny” by Mark R. Levin published by Threshold Editions, 2009.
“The Liberty Amendments” by Mark R. Levin published by Threshold Editions, 2013.
“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 .
“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 .
“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 .
“Return to the Constitution” by David Coughlin dated May 26, 2010 published by Town Hall at http://dscough.blogtownhall.com/2010/05/26/return_to_the_constitution.thtml
“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 .
“If we want smaller government, drastic action may be required” by David Coughlin dated July 26, 2012 published by Canada Free Press at http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/48365
“Time to deal with the elephants in the room” by David Coughlin dated July 31, 2012 published by Conservative Daily News at http://www.conservativedailynews.com/2012/07/time-to-deal-with-the-elephants-in-the-room/
“Why Liberals Use Law for Control, While Conservatives Use Law for Protection” by Kelly O’Connell dated September 22, 2013 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/58055 .
“Economic Development Administration” by Chris Edwards and Tad DeHaven dated April 2, 2018 published by CATO Institute at https://www.downsizinggovernment.org/commerce/eda .
“Restoring Responsible Government by Cutting Federal Aid to the States” by Chris Edwards dated May 20, 2019 published by CATO Institute at https://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/restoring-responsible-government-cutting-federal-aid-states .