For far too long, those who want to shrink the federal government have been focused on the ineffectual arguments that individual programs are immoral, illegal, and/or unconstitutional. Despite decades of making these arguments, the scope of the federal government continues to increase as they fail to gain traction with the greater public. It is a much more effective argument to instead attack the efficacy (or lack thereof) of federal programs. It is a much easier argument to conclusively prove and appeals to our collective sense of local is better. It also does not proscribe state and/or local governments from considering such programs should their citizens so choose it.
As far back as I can remember, I’ve been a fan of libertarianism. I generally like government to take as light as hand as is necessary to get things done. I’m also a fan of government decisions being made as close as possible to those being affected. This ensures that bad decisions are contained and many potential good solutions can be tried and tweaked. I think these two ideologies go hand-in-hand, but it seems that all too many, at least in practice, disagree.
I’m a big fan of local control for practical reasons. You often get elected officials that are much more responsive and in-tune with the needs of their constituents. Bad decisions are contained to a much smaller effective area and experimentation with good ideas leads to more of them. When elected leaders fail to make good decisions or respond to the needs of the people, the “throttle factor” is often much better with your city council member than a state or federal representative.
We’ve seen this play out on the federal level for decades now. Bad decisions made at that level affect everyone rather than just a limited subset of the populace. The all-or-nothing gamesmanship often leads to contradictory laws and policies that are confusing and keep either from actually prevailing. Our state legislature often rails upon these failings, but now they’re turning around and doing the exact same thing to the cities and counties.
I’ve already covered my requirements of someone running for federal office. In a lot of ways, managing a state can be even more complex than handling federal issues. Many problems tackled by the legislature are often based around narrowly-defined groups of people that cross political and sometimes geographic boundaries. It also requires more discipline since going into massive debt isn’t on the table as an option. Here’s what I expect out of anyone running for state office.