I love the fact that there is so much heated debate over health care and other issues during the last month. As government teacher it gives me lots of discussion fodder for my classes. The current debate is the oldest and longest debate in American Government and Politics. The eternal debate of American politics revolves always around this question: How much power should the federal government possess? This debate goes back the Federalist and Anti-Federalists. It even goes back to the Declaration of Independence.
The United State government is granted only specific powers as defined in the U.S. Constitution. Health Care is not a national issue for national legislation and enforcement. Education is not a national issue for national legislation and enforcement. You want to see what powers the Congress has, look at Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. Those are its powers. Any other power belongs to the state as defined by the 9th and 10th Amendments.
The President and Congress should take these national issues and have a good debate on them among the American people. Bring together people from both and all sides of a particular issue. They sit down and talk about solutions and options. The government then presents these options to the states to choose for themselves. Provide a national debate on issues but look to locals to enact solutions that will work for them. Here is an example.
I totally agree with President Obama on some issues regarding education. He mentioned shortly after his election that our schools need to go longer in days or hours. Also he mentioned he supported merit pay for teachers (Read my past blog on that to see how I stand on that issue). Great, but there should be no national mandate of this issue. It is a state and local issue as it is not granted specifically in the U.S. Constitution. The President should sit down the the teacher’s unions, superintendents, teachers, parents, and student to come up with solutions and options. Then present them all to the states and say here are some options we came up with. Let the states choose these options or come up with their own.
Another example: health care/insurance. The President should sit down with the insurance companies, doctors, nurses, and all other people. Come up with lots of different solutions and options. Then leave it to the states to implement the reforms.
Lead a national debate, but leave it to the locals to solve the problems. They know their communities and situations better than those who rule 3,000 miles away. No national solution will fit for all local situations. Let the free market work, so that those states and communities that are successful will see people choose to move their and take advantage of their solutions and therefore be more success.
That will be my mantra: National Debate, Local Solutions