- The states are sitting ducks, and therefore defenseless against an onslaught of laws and regulations coming from the elected officials and bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.
- Our problem is not in Nebraska, it’s in Washington, D.C.
- State level officials and bureaucrats are opposed to the imposition of federal programs on state and local governments.
*States have largely given away state sovereignty.*Why? It’s very simple… Politicians and bureaucrats want federal dollars. Why? Again, very simple…
- Politicians benefit politically, bureaucrats justify their existence
- Makes budget “balancing” easier, puts off difficult decisions about making cuts
Federal Aid to States 1981 – 2009, in billions of dollars:
Compare the Aid to States chart, above, to the Public Debt chart, below, for the same period, both in billions of dollars:
- Lobbyists and big-government advocates are focused and organized at the state and local levels
- Most Americans are focused on the federal government, not their state government
- Too many people simply want “goodies” from government
The Welfare States… While there are far more welfare programs at the federal level, one of the reasons spending is out of control is because the states have increasingly needed bailout out from their own overspending. It’s become quite clear that the February 2009 Stimulus bill was not at all about stimulating the economy. Among the short list of things it was in fact, about, was a bailout for state governments. Cut everything! (Except the stuff *I* like) There are a number of “sacred cows” in Nebraska (and assuredly everywhere else) that people don’t want to touch. Some of these very programs were the direct reason why we have taken in hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds. At the top of that list are the K-12 and Secondary education budgets, the defined benefits retirement plan for state employees, and the “Cadillac” Medicaid program we offer. It seems that everyone has at least one “sacred cow”, some people, many. And that seems to be the root of the problem; people like to talk about cutting, until it’s their cow(s) on the chopping block. In some ways, our elected officials at the state level are simply carrying out policies that reflect the wishes of the people within the state. At the very least might be said that they are trying to keep everyone happy. And if it is a fact that almost everyone wants or believes they are “entitled to” something from government, then growth of government is (and has been, quite obviously) the natural result. If the entitlement mentality persists and politicians do nothing but say “yes”, we will all learn, in the not-too-distant-future, what that now over-used word “unsustainable” really means. Taking all of the above into account, ARE state level officials and bureaucrats opposed to the “imposition” of federal programs?
This is not the first article we’ve written on this topic
- Part 1, Nullification NOT the Answer for Health Care (or anything else), is an overview of the series. I explain that I’ve changed my mind about nullification, give a brief list of reasons, each of which would be explained in future articles. Reason 1: Nullification does not work, explained through two examples; Part 2: History Has Proven Nullification a Failure – Just Look at REAL ID and Part 3: Nullification Measures Not Stopping Health Care Implementation (Think Idaho). This article, Part 4, and the next, explain Reason 2: A belief in a number of erroneous concepts is required. Still to come: Reason 3: Pursuing this avenue prohibits focus on truly effective solutions and Reason 4: Nullification is neither right nor constitutional. ↩
- A recent example of an elected official listing expenditures as accomplishment: In his book Decision Points, former President George W. Bush, repeatedly details how he measured the accomplishments of programs. It is my assessment, in fact, having read through page 409 of the 480 page book, that former President Bush was myopically focused on numbers. If numbers were trees, the President couldn’t see the forest. ↩
- Base-line budgeting is the idea that spending for each future budget starts at the level spent previously and almost always automatically means that more money will be spent above that base line figure. In other words, a base-line budgeting mentality means spending will always increase. All projections are built on this concept, including expectations that revenues (i.e. taxation) will stay at current levels. ↩
- Use-it-or-lose-it means that a department or agency must spend all the money budgeted or funding will be cut. ↩
- The Aid to States chart was obtained from the most recent report on federal aid to states, from the US Census Bureau. Note that the chart cannot include all of the Stimulus (ARRA, starting in February 2009) funds disbursed, since there have been multiple distribution periods, not all of which occurred in 2009. Issued in August of 2010, the report lists many such other charts and graphs, and a number of breakdowns of federal dollars sent to the states per capita, by department / agency, and in other formats. The document can be viewed online and/or downloaded and printed by visiting my Scribd account by clicking HERE. Alternatively, it can be downloaded from the Census Bureau site by clicking HERE (archived link). The “Gross Public Debt” chart was obtained from USGovernmentSpending.com, which provides many tools and resources to work with figures provided by the federal government. The tool I used provides the ability to create a chart with a particular date range. ↩
- It seems to me if someone giving testimony is not a lobbyist, director of a large organization, or owner of a business of some size, they’re not taken very seriously. This indicates elitism and familiarity among all the parties; constituents / taxpayers are not only “not qualified” but they are outsiders. ↩