What the Debate Taught Me

Tonight, I managed to watch the third presidential debate live.  I didn’t have to DVR it to watch it later.  This gave me the opportunity to watch it without the bias of reading about it first.

After all the back and forth between Obama and McCain, I realized one thing:  Americans want the Federal Government to do EVERYTHING for them.

There is a sense of entitlement that the government will provide health care, defend them from enemies, create jobs, educate their for their children, provide welfare, and make moral decisions for them.  Of course, all of this comes with lowering taxes.

As Americans, we all agree to the list above.  It is part of our core values.

There is one question we have to ask:  Is the Government the best organization to do this?  I don’t think it is.

How can roughly 700 people in Washington decide what is best for your local elementary school?  How do they decide where to allocate their resources?  Also, since they are spending taxpayer money, they are not going to find the best product for the best price.  If you or I were shopping for health coverage or schooling, we would research and find the best price for whatever fits our needs.  The government has no incentive to do this since they are just spending a pool of money.

So, instead of watching a debate about healthcare and education provided by the Federal Government, we should be debating if the Feds should be involved anyway.  Instead of arguing about a $100 a month tax break, why not argue if the income tax is necessary at all.  Not once did the candidates mention the huge unfunded burdens that Social Security and Medicare are going to become.

I’m not saying that we should abolish the Federal Government.  I just think we need to rethink what it’s role should be.  I also don’t believe in no taxes.  I think that our taxes should be paid locally, and not to a central government.

Imagine, instead of having 6% of your paycheck going to Social Security and Medicare, it could be going to an optional retirement savings account with pre-tax dollars.  Of course, there would need to be a transistion period to help fund those on Social Security, but eventually, the system could be replaced with a much more efficient one.  Your money could be stored in treasury bills or other very safe investments.  Also, since it’s optional, you would be able to stop funding your account if times got tough.

Also, why does part of our income tax go to the Department of Education?  How do politicians and bureaucrats in Washington know what’s best for your local school?  Why not have a tax that goes to schools in your area?  Also, since it will be local, there will be less waste and naturally, more oversight.  I don’t want people sitting there second guessing our local officials, but at least there would be dialogue.  Now, it is a huge Federal department where are schools are just numbers.

Probably the only part of the Federal Government that is really needed is our military.  However, it is not needed in the capacity it is used now.  We need to bring our troops home.  Not just from Iraq, but from all 150 countries they are in.  Part of the troops can be deployed to protect our borders and really make us safer.  Others can be put into reserve status or be retrained for new jobs.  This will save us billions of dollars a year.

While these proposals aren’t really that thought out, it is just a starting point to really think about the role of our government.  Americans have this sense of entitlement for their welfare.  It’s time to take control and start showing some initiative.  We need to use our imaginations and come up with real ideas of change, not just tweak the existing big government mentality we have.

I’m not saying putting these decisions in the hands of local governments will solve all of our problems.  I do think though, that it will help improve efficiency and put our tax dollars to the best use.  Who do you think knows what your community needs more – politicians in Washington?  Or people in your neighborhood?

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