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What about the states?

March 22, 2010

The House just passed a “monumental” health-care reform bill (which would be more appropriately referred to as a health-insurance reform bill). While I am not against the intentions of the bill – to reduce the costly impact of health care on average Americans, many of whom cannot currently afford it – I am against the direction this bill is taking us towards an ever-larger federal government.

Perhaps it is because I’ve had the good fortune of living in so many different parts of this great nation that I see the danger in federally prescribed formulas for such sensitive issues as health care and education. Perhaps others don’t realize how incredibly diverse our country is, how the culture in Montana is vastly different from the culture in Pennsylvania, and how the culture in rural PA is vastly different from the culture in inner-city PA, which is vastly different from that of central city PA and suburban PA. Different cultures carry within them different desires and different needs, which most certainly require different solutions.

I would like to see the federal government hand more responsibility (and more tax dollars) back to the states, where people are closer to their representatives and where their representatives are closer to the culture of their constituents. States can protect their citizens just as well – if not better – than the federal government. They have constitutions, they have legislative power. And among the 50 states, there is great diversity, which means that a great number of solutions could be invented to address certain problems, solutions which the states could experiment with, tweak, and share with one another, affording greater opportunity for eventual success than the federal government could ever hope to achieve by formulating blanket solutions for the entire country. I don’t want to be told what to do by someone in Washington, D.C., especially when I’m living in southeastern Montana. The two places have almost nothing in common, and while the intentions of our legislators may be good, they are also more than likely misguided.

I am reminded of a poster I downloaded from the Internet featuring a picture of the U.S. Capitol building. Under the photo, a caption reads, “Government: If you think the problems we create are bad, just wait until you see our solutions.” Granted, our country is much better off than many others in the world, so our federal government can’t really be that bad – but I think our country could be so much better if federal control didn’t stifle so much local creativity. Certainly the federal government has a part to play, and knowing exactly where to draw the line is difficult, but I’m pretty confident that at this point in history, we’ve stepped too far towards centralization and I would like for us to take a step back.

By the way, if you’ve never read the Federalist Papers, check them out. They’re a fascinating read that gives great insight into what our founding fathers had in mind for this country.

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