Five Simple Steps SeriesOpinionPolitics

Five Simple Steps to “Drain the Swamp” & Restore Government Integrity

We the people need to hold our elected officials accountable, remove rogue elements, and restore fiscal accountability.

Now that I’ve had a chance to get monetary and financial market reforms out of my systems, let me get back to what I perceive are the critical governmental and political reforms necessary to restore our nation.

Make no mistake, draining the swamp will be a painful process, because everyone will (potentially) be required to sacrifice on behalf of the greater good. The cuts necessary for true reform will impact Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, welfare and unemployment benefits (state-level reforms), education, government grants, and the list goes on. But, those cuts will be necessary if we are going to see real change.

So, let’s start the conversation by holding our representatives accountable.

First, we need to create mechanisms to hold our elected officials accountable. If they were elected based on campaign promises, they need to be held accountable based on those promises. If they deviate, they either (1) need to make a cogent case that persuades the views of their electorate, or (2) should be removed from office. THEY REPRESENT THE PEOPLE!

I don’t know how to construct the mechanism for removal, because it would be different than what I recommended for judicial review, but we need to have some concrete form of accountability outside of elections, because too much damage can be done before the end of their term.

Second, we need concrete fiscal accountability in government. No more missed budget deadlines or continuing resolutions to keep the lights on. We need a Constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget; one with complete transparency, not the farcical, quasi-reporting we have now.

A balanced budget amendment should not only include a deadline for the approval of a budget, but a requirement that all government contracts and expenditures are in line with private-sector, free-market pricing. Waste and fraud should be punishable by termination and/or imprisonment.

Third, President Trump is doing an excellent job of eliminating regulations, but I say we take it a step further. We should dismantle every agency or department that doesn’t have explicit Constitutional authority so we can truly place the power of those rogue agencies back in the hands of the states (where appropriate), or more importantly, returned to the people from whom the government is supposed to derive its powers.

Fourth, for those agencies that do have Constitutional legitimacy (very few), all the overlap should be consolidated to remove redundancy and ensure efficiency. I’ll speak about this in greater detail when I address national defense in a subsequent post, but for this post, if we are going to allow the government to be a guarantor – we shouldn’t, but if we do – we should consolidate every agency into one: Fanny, Freddie, Sally, FDIC, PBGC, etc.

Fifth, we should end the government’s role as benefactor (i.e. wealth redistribution).

First and foremost in this regard, we need to end government grants. Every. Single. One. Yes, that will be painful, but it is not the role of government to take from the rich and give to the poor. Sorry, it’s not.

This step would also require the restructuring of Medicaid, tax credits, earned income credits, etc. on the federal level, but also welfare, WIC, etc. on that state level.

It’s not that I don’t have sympathy for the less fortunate. I have been less fortunate. It’s simply not the role of government to meet everyone’s needs.

Even programs viewed as social insurance (i.e. Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment) need to be restructured. People pay into those systems so the actuaries responsible for accurate cost/benefit analysis should be held accountable for cost-effective systems that are responsive and flexible enough to remain solvent.

Although many of our founding fathers cautioned about the potential excesses of government, I think Ben Franklin addressed this particular issue best:

“To relieve the misfortunes of our fellow creatures is concurring with the Deity; it is godlike; but, if we provide encouragement for laziness, and supports for folly, may we not be found fighting against the order of God and Nature, which perhaps has appointed want and misery as the proper punishment for, and cautions against, as well as necessary consequences of, idleness and extravagance? Whenever we attempt to amend the scheme of Providence, and to interfere with the government of the world, we had need be very circumspect, lest we do more harm than good.”

In my opinion, meeting the needs of the less fortunate should always remain the duty of community service and charity, starting with family first. If the family is unable, then the community can rally around the truly needy with support. Those who aren’t truly needy need to fend for themselves.

When we allow the government to assume that role, we abdicate our personal responsibility.

For followers of Christ, this is an essential point of responsibility, because we are (individually) issued a charge to care for the widow, orphan, and truly needy. It is one of the ways we are an example of God’s love for mankind, and an essential means of sharing the truth of that love with people who otherwise may never darken the door of a church and who also may be outside our sphere of influence. If we pass that responsibility to the government, we eliminate our opportunity to reach a soul with the truth of the Gospel.

These are just a few of my ideas. To help further the discussion, what say you?

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