Mike Kueber's Blog

August 25, 2012

Romney’s new federalism

Filed under: Economics,Issues,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 12:53 pm
Tags: ,

The NY Times in a recent editorial complained that Mitt Romney wants to delegate too many functions to state government.  Although the Times’ complaint initially argued that some of the functions were national in scope (energy policy), the thrust of its argument is that some states (i.e., red states) don’t care as much about its poor as do other states (i.e., blue states), and thus the red states can’t be trusted with functions such as health care for the poor, food stamps, unemployment insurance, and immigration controls:

  • Don’t be fooled by his claims that states can perform these vital functions ‘more efficiently’ than Washington. They can’t. Battered by the downturn, states can barely perform the core functions they have. They have been laying off teachers and school personnel by the tens of thousands, cutting services to the poor past the bone and falling far behind on needed public works.”
  • “Mr. Romney is really saying that education and safety-net programs are so low on his priority list that he doesn’t care what states do with them. If a blue state wants to pay for an adequate Medicaid and food stamp program, it is free to do so. But many red states care more about low taxes, and will not pay a price, no matter how much residents suffer. Many states are likely to compete in a race to the bottom to drive the poor into other states with governments that have a more enlightened sense of their role.”

Isn’t it great that the Times cares more about Mississippi’s poor than does Mississippi?  The Times editorial concludes by asserting that, “Mr. Romney wants to put these programs on the backs of state governments he knows cannot handle the load, then reduce the resources they have now.  That may thrill a few die-hard opponents of government, but it could have disastrous consequences.”

Of course, the Times fails to acknowledge that the federal government is able to handle its current load only by taking on an insane amount of debt.  By contrast, the states are required to balance their budgets, and this forces them to restrain their spending.  Tell me who is responsible. 

Romney’s new federalism makes perfect economic sense.  There is nothing wrong with the states competing against each other to operate with maximum efficiency.  Although the Times would prefer to protect welfare states from competition, just as unions wages were protected from competition for many years, such protection is no longer possible.  As Thomas Friedman pointed out, The World Is Flat and profligate spenders are no longer viable.



  1. :}

    Comment by Bob Bevard — August 25, 2012 @ 6:30 pm | Reply

  2. Hello maybe, this is DOG EH

    Comment by MATE — September 19, 2012 @ 8:55 am | Reply

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