Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Essential revolution: fight corruption

Jerry Stratton, December 22, 2014

No amount of money can corrupt you into exercising a power you do not have. I cannot bribe you into repealing the law of gravity just for your friends. The only way we can have an incorruptible government is by taking away those powers that invite corruption.

But if Republicans are to reduce the size of government, they have to strike at the systems that keep government growing. They need to stop the federal government from bypassing the states; they need to reverse the concentration of pro-government industry in small areas, and they need to end the practice of government-run schools teaching children to love government.

The latter, especially, is easily converted to teaching devotion to a particular ruler, as we’ve seen sporadically in elementary schools over the last six years. But this can also be sold to liberals who are afraid of the religious right taking over government schools. If there are no government schools, the religious right have nothing to take over.

The best solutions follow from allowing states to work out competing solutions. Let states end prohibition; just get out of their way. Let states experiment with better school systems; just get out of their way. Let states devise better health insurance mechanisms; just get out of their way.

But besides fighting corruption at its source, it’s important that there be consequences for corruption. That means holding the IRS responsible for their anti-democratic policies of the last four years. It means cutting their power so that they don’t have the power to be corrupt.

It means holding the VA responsible for their deadly anti-veteran policies—and perhaps create a mechanism for veterans to bypass the VA. Take away the benefits of corruption and corruption will naturally be reduced—or the VA itself will become superfluous because no veteran will use them.

Some reforms are easy. Some are arguably easy. Voters across demographic lines support vote integrity; it is pretty much only politicians who oppose it. And all the federal government has to do is get itself out of the way of states, since states handle elections.

And there are very specific proposals with wide support that can show people what federalism can do for them:

  • Allow states to opt out of any federal marijuana laws.
  • Allow states to opt out of any federal health insurance laws.
  • Allow citizens to opt in to any state’s health insurance laws by purchasing insurance across state lines.
  • If sales taxes must be collected on sales that cross state lines1, then enact sales taxes by seller location, so that states maintain the ability to regulate the businesses within their borders, and sales taxes remain low.

There are other, more difficult, reforms that the media will oppose but that ought to gain public support if somehow explained outside of the pro-government media. For example, it is long past time we switched to zero-based budgeting. The notion that lowering the rate of increase is the same as slashing funding is deadly to an economy. It assures continually increasing taxes and/or debt.

Treat the economy well. It was given you from your fathers in trust to your children.

In response to Essential Revolution: The Return of the Republicans: The crime of the day is when you do it again.

  1. Often called an Internet sales tax, though the issue has existed for as long as there has been a Sears catalog.

  1. Lasting reform ->