Monday, December 8, 2014

A Lot More Federalism, Please!

Randal O'Toole of the Cato Institute wrote an important blog post last week in which he suggests that a revival of support for federalism in the United States is discernable and growing.  He further argues that this trend provides important opportunities for the GOP to redirect the political debate in this country.  He sets the context in the opening paragraphs:
In “Public Attitudes toward Federalism,” John Samples and Emily Ekins review decades of polling data to discern views on federal policymaking vs. state/local policymaking. They find strong support for state/local primacy in many policy areas, including education, housing, transportation, welfare, and health care.
The authors find that Americans have become more strongly in favor of state/local control—as opposed to federal control—since the 1970s. For example, when asked whether “major decisions” about housing policy ought to be made at the federal level or state/local level, just 18 percent favor federal today compared to 28 percent four decades ago.
The political opening here is obvious: reformers on Capitol Hill should push to reduce the federal role—by cutting spending and regulations—in those areas where the public has a clear preference for state/local primacy. From constitutional and good governance perspectives, many federal agencies and programs ought to be eliminated, but the Samples/Ekins study indicates areas that reformers should target first.
You can read this important article by clicking here.  And by the way, don't be deceived by the term "federalism": it most emphatically does not mean more federal government power and control; it actually means the opposite.