The focus of most of my research over the past several years has been in the field of federalism—the governance of the nation based on separation of powers and checks and balances. Over the past 50 years or so, we have seen the balance of power shift dramatically toward the central government. Within the last decade, the shift has been even more dramatic. The reasons for this perversion of original intent are many, but we can pin one of the roses on the dissolution of the bonds between We, The People and those we elect to represent us at the national level (House and Senate). Special interests and issue politics have contributed to this erosion of those bonds. Anymore, the states and the people who live in those several states are nothing more or less than another interest group. Witness the behavior of most state governments when the elites at the national level dangle grant funding in front of bureaucrats who see the perpetuation of dumb, divisive and wholly ineffective federal programs as job security. One has to wonder where in the world the Tenth Amendment might be.
In the most recent federal budget year (that’s right, they don’t have a budget this year), more than $550 Billion found its way into some form of intergovernmental transfer. This money, hard earned tax dollars contributed by hard working citizens, usually comes to the state and local governments in the form of grants. Grants are alright, I suppose, but of the 1000 grants that are in existence today, all but 17 come with incredible strings attached. Some come as one time grants, thus leaving state and local elected officials to come up with ways to cover the new shortfalls that will be forthcoming. Take a look at the most recent teacher union bailout that, among other things, will go away in two years and requires state governments not to lower budgeting for education in the state. What must the governor be thinking, knowing full well that in two years, he will have to go to the legislature and ask for some form of tax increase to cover his inability to see these grant things for what they really are. Think about the funding mess caused by No Child Left Behind and, thanks to the Democrat party, the horrendous increase in Medicaid obligations that are looming on the horizon. Where is the state to get the money to cover the state’s obligation? Hmmm. I am betting all Iowans will have to pay higher taxes.
In recent months, the governors of Minnesota, Texas and Virginia have let the President, Pelosi and Reid know that they do not work for them. These governors have told the national government to keep grant funding and to stay out of their respective state’s business. What a concept.
Iowa, in fixing a mistake made four years ago, will likely elect a governor that seems to have a clue about the state and what needs to be done. Changing the occupants of the mansion will not fix what really needs to be changed in Iowa. The governor, particularly if Republicans and Independents put Terry Branstad back in the governor’s chair, will continue to be frustrated unless a lot of folks step into that polling booth and sweep out all the old cronies who have gotten way too comfortable living off the state. Of particular concern is the need to change the Attorney General and the Secretary of State. A new, fresh, focused and conservative Attorney General will move immediately to put Iowa on the docket as a state fully resistant to the imposition of unconstitutional mandates from the national government. The current administration is unwilling to protect the people of Iowa, so on that offense alone, they ought to be sent packing. Further, changing the Secretary of State will raise confidence in our electoral processes. Right now, there are too many questions about the system and fraud is far too easily perpetrated. Making sure that Iowans have their votes count is job one for the next Secretary of State.
The next order of business is to give the new governor legislative caucuses that will support his administration. If Republicans do not do everything possible to regain majorities in the House and Senate of the Iowa legislature, the current Democrat leadership will continue to control the legislative agenda and Iowans will have to contend with Fair Share, Project Labor Agreements, expansion of state government, overspending and more corruption. Gaining a majority in just one chamber can have a dramatic impact on the ability of the governor to respond to the needs of Iowans in a sane and responsible manner.
Regardless of who might get elected this year in the State of Iowa, those individuals will have to have courage to make the hard decisions that will bring long term security to the state. If nothing changes, our new governor will be nearly powerless to retain, let alone attract, business to the state. Our young people, educated in the state, will seek their fortunes elsewhere. Those that have raised their families in the state and are now freer to move will likely take their wealth with them to states that have more respect for the hard work of its citizens. Is it any wonder why Texas has had an increase in jobs during the recent economic unpleasantness?
With just a little over four weeks to go to the election, there should be only one question remaining to be answered—Have I done all I can to make sure Iowa is secure and sustainable for generations to come? As the old Irish cop asked of Eliot Ness in The Untouchables, “What are you willing to do?” Every Republican in Iowa needs to answer that question with the response, “All I possibly can.” Vote on November 2.
Finally, I want to thank Craig Robinson for allowing me to write for The Iowa Republican. It is an honor of the highest order. I hope readers find my thoughts and musing interesting and provocative. That will be my intent.
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