The federal government has evolved into an entity the Founding Fathers would hardly recognize, and certainly not endorse.
Democrats, liberals, Republicans and conservatives can’t agree on much these days, but there is growing consensus on at least one point: we are at a stalemate, and the system appears broken. Not since the days immediately preceding the Civil War has Washington been so incapable of working towards common goals.
Government has become far too removed from the people. The problems, however, are not insurmountable. America isn’t a sinking ship; it’s merely a vessel that has gone off-course. There’s nothing that a philosophical GPS couldn’t fix.
First on the list: Make federal agencies accountable to the people. The machinery of the various federal departments and agencies has grown increasingly beyond the input of the citizenry, despite the fact that these organizations have more direct, day-to-day impact on the lives of the people than elected officials or even the courts have.
Laws are passed in public, with coverage in the media and public debate. But frequently, regulations structuring how those laws are enforced are adopted with minimal public oversight. Even worse, on occasion, they go beyond the law and impose restrictions that supporters of the legislation upon which they are based never intended. Individuals can find themselves subject to fines or even imprisonment based on harsh rules that, aside from obscure mentions in the Federal Register, are implemented beyond the scrutiny of everyone except bureaucrats and lobbyists. During the past four years, oppressive—and frequently incorrect—actions by departments such as the Environmental Protection Agency have become an increasing problem.
Washington’s regulations have created an alternative and largely unaccountable system of governance.
To bring these behemoths under control, an independent national ombudsman’s office, with an executive and staff appointed by state governors should be established. As the powers of the Executive Branch and the agencies under its control continue to grow far beyond the intent of our Founders and the outline of the Constitution, the citizenry need increased protection. The numerous scandals of late, including the IRS maltreatment of the White House’s political opposition, the refusal of the Justice Department to prosecute clear cases of electoral abuse, and the harassment of journalists by the NSA are all symptomatic of this crisis.
A national ombudsman that is answerable to governors and not beltway politicians, with full powers of investigation and subpoena, could effectively address this.
Another area that should be explored is whether the arcane rules of the legislative branch regarding seniority are preventing the implementation of new ideas, and reducing the equality of representation from states or districts with relatively newly elected Senators and Representatives.
A key reason Washington has become too powerful is its spending. Through the power of the purse, it reduces all other influences into insignificance.
Elected officials have demonstrated, time and again, a clear inability to cure themselves of their spending addiction—and it’s getting worse. The current White House has spent more in the past four years than its predecessor spent in eight. Since Washington can’t regulate itself, a balanced budget amendment must be enacted to do it for them.
The impending national bankruptcy must be addressed. Despite taking in more revenue than ever, the federal government has descended into virtual insolvency, with $17 trillion in debt /and an estimated additional $800 billion deficit this year.
For all that spending, there is little that has been gained, other than enhancing the overwhelming influence of the federal government. Poverty remains unaffected by the 41% increase in entitlement spending over the past four years. Unemployment rates remain at crisis levels. The economy is struggling. Our military is underfunded, and our infrastructure is crumbling.
The only priority appears to be getting the politicians who appropriated those dollars re-elected. Usagovpolicy.com That is why it is not surprising that programs like Obamacare enthusiastically include voter registration requests in their information offerings.
As a result of this unrestrained spending, Washington exerts ever greater power over the people and the states, in defiance of the Constitution. That must be stopped.
Before any course correction can take place, a vital step must be taken: the primacy of the Constitution must be restored. Far too often, all three branches of the U.S. government have treated that document—the supreme law of the land—more as a suggestion than as the central governing document of the land. Without that unifying structure, only chaos can reign.
Abraham Lincoln, desperately trying to preserve the Union several years before the outbreak of war, stressed: “Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties... We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”
With the precepts of America’s supreme law in mind, accountable and efficient government can be restored. America’s government needs to be wrested away from the politicians and power brokers and restored to the people.