The Illinois Policy Institute held its monthly telephone conference briefing hosted by Jonathan Greenberg, Vice President of External Relations, as one of thirty Liberty Foundation free-market think tank partners who share the same goal of advancing state-solutions to nationwide problems facing state legislators and governors through Competitive Federalism.
Michael Carnuccio, president of Opportunity Ohio, presented the special IPI briefing based on a report released in March of this year by Mathew Mayer, president of Opportunity Ohio, titled: "Competitive Federalism: Leveraging the Constitution to Rebuild America." With the release of Mayer's March report the Liberty Foundation was launched.
Laid out in Mayer's report is that the "federal government has far more control over states and individuals than the Founders intended." Furthermore: "To rebalance the powers and honor our constitutional heritage, Americans should embrace Competitive Federalism. . . that allows states to complete with each other over a broad range of issues to provide citizens with the best value goods and services at the lowest costs."
Not to be confused with federalism proposals, Competitive Federalism involves more than just rejecting a specific law. It requires the full decentralization of issues properly controlled by the states.
In describing the chain of events which led to the concept of Competitive Federalism, Mayer's report notes: "Over the last forty years several efforts were made to reduce the power of the federal government, but the centralized behemoth of the federal government won every time. Efforts made by President Richard Nixon in 1972; President Ronald Reagan in 198l; and Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1994 ultimately failed because the system fights even the strongest reform efforts."
Further noted was that the shift of the government to the control of Washington, D.C. had its roots in the passage of the16th Amendment in 1913, which gave the federal government the ability to siphon more money from the states through the federal income tax. It was also in 1913 when the 17th Amendment changed U.S. Senate elections to the popular vote, sharply undercutting state legislators' influence.
This shift of government was in direct contrast to what was espoused by our Founding Fathers. They fostered American Exceptionalism by encouraging competition among the states and between the states and the federal government, so failure in one state couldn't doom the entire country. Likewise, successes in states could be adopted and tailored to meet the needs of other states. As such complex problems could be solved through a process of states learning from one another, with further building possible through lessons conveyed from the state laboratories of competition.
Carnuccio, in line with Matthew Mayer's March, 2013 report, referenced three different issues where the principles of competitive federalism should be applied; that is, pulling public policy out of federal control and returning them to the states and the people: Medicaid, education and transportation. Our Constitution never meant for the federal government to be in charge of the before stated three issues.
Consider 2010 when the American people sent $2.331 trillion to the federal government. In return the federal government sent only $564 billion of that back to the states for spending on Medicaid, education and transportation.
Zeroing in on ObamaCare, Carnuccio called it "government control that has gone amok." Through ObamaCare the government is attempting to control 1/6 of our nation's economy. It is being forced upon the states for the states to implement. If states don't elect to implement, the government will come in and do so. 34 states have rejected some piece of the ObamaCare legislation.
In discussing education, Carnuccio intoned how it would be much better if education spending were left to the states, with an additional push to move more decision making to the local level where parents have school choice options for their children.
In 2010 more than $75 billion was allotted for transportation projects around the county, but 35 cents of every federal transportation dollar was siphoned off for other purposes.
According to Carnuccio, tearing down the wall of a gargantuan federal government means not only electing the right people, but making sure the people elected to office do the right things.
As with gardening, it is important to till the soil every day so when the rain comes the crops will be able to flourish.
This analogy is applicable to Illinois where the state is losing out on competitive enterprise. Other states are willing to take more risks and make more adjustments, while Illinois is standing still. Over the past several years Illinois has been steadily losing population, businesses and wealth to other states.
Here in Illinois the attitude for fairness must change where fairness is seen in terms of an equal outcome. If properly applied, Americans only have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These rights are not automatically given without responsibility on the part of every American to do what is necessary to achieve these rights.
Alexander Hamilton envisioned economic competition and variation in states as a blessing. The nationalization of our lives over the past 150 years has enabled an anti-competitive mentality. Here in Illinois the liberal/progressives who control Illinois abhor competition and seek to mandate equality of outcomes in both our private and public lives.
Competitive Federalism can help rebuild America. Despite different issues in every state, most Americans do understand competition.
How long will it take Illinoisans to realize what is happening to their state and to adjust accordingly away from the stifling liberal/progressive ideology of those who govern Illinois and control both houses of the General Assembly in Springfield, to a process of policy-making that will diffuse the influence of the federal government as defined in our Constitution, so Illinois can be competitive with other states by offering a calling card that speaks of growth and prosperity?
A recently published must read book by radio host Mark Levin, The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic, ties right in with the Illinois Policy Institute Competitive Federalism event. Levin's thesis is that the balance of power between the three branches of the federal government, the states, and the American people has been distorted beyond the ability of conventional politics to repair.
Levin presents 10 Liberty Amendments which reinforce the original intent of the Constitution, why each amendment is justified, and further traces each amendment back to its Founders.
Most importantly, Levin's book points the way for the American people to have a say on all the things we've been told we don't get a chance to vote on any more.
Levin's strategy begs to be adopted if our nation has a chance to reverse the continuing erosion of our freedoms and liberty before government becomes all powerful to wrest control over all aspects of our lives.