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Monday, February 27, 2017

Trump, the anti-federalist

President Trump does not come off as a Think Tank Conservative, but on Sunday night he made the most profound statement against a strong central government that I have heard a president make.
And states are different and people are different.
President Trump meant onne size does not fit all, as women who may remember from wearing pantyhose.

He said that to the nation's governors at the annual White House ball in their honor. The subject was health care insurance (often mistaken for health care) but it applies to everything else.

President Trump's solution is to leave it up to the states, because each state is different.

We now call this federalism, but the real argument against a strong, central government was made by the anti-federalists who opposed adoption of the Constitution. They feared that someday there would be a government in the nation's capital that would dictate to the people how to live their lives.

One hundred forty-four years after ratification of the Constitution, their fears became real with the election of Franklin Roosevelt, whose administration micro-managed the economy (and therefore the lives of the people) all the way down to how much a dry cleaner could charge, or how much money a laborer must be paid.

The Supreme Court later gave us brief reprieve from price controls but Truman and Nixon imposed them -- again briefly. Minimum wage is a fact of life, now touted as a "right."

President Trump is the first mainstream presidential nominee I can recall who said the federal government should not do that. He would leave it up to the state.

The argument against ratification of the Constitution was made by such luminaries as Samuel Adams, George Mason, James Monroe, and Thomas Jefferson.

At the Virginia convention to ratify the new Constitution in 1788, Patrick Henry asked:
“We the People? Who authorized them to speak the language of ‘We the People,’ instead of ‘We the States’?”
This was not a rhetorical question. The elitists wrote a document to become the law of the land without the consent of the governed. You could see the problem.

The federalists papered this over with a Bill of Rights, but then created a judiciary to interpret the Bill of Rights with the fidelity of Lewis Carroll's Humpty Dumpty:
When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.
Indeed, limited government conservatives now call themselves federalists.

But the word we seek is anti-federalist. Two became president -- Jefferson and Monroe -- and both governed quite well by sticking to national matters.

Jefferson doubled the nation's size and Monroe president over a great period of economic growth which had nothing to do with him, which is to his credit in much the same way the laissez-faire governance of Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge deserved credit for the Roaring '20s.

Then you got a big government Republican -- Hoover -- and boom, welcome to the Great Depression.

So now we have Trump as president, and he promised the same to the nation's governors.

Via Breitbart, President Trump on Sunday:
We’re going to give you back a lot of the powers that have been taken away from states and great people and great governors, and you can control it better than the federal government because you’re right on top of it.
He expressed confidence in governors and local officials:
They know the best how to spend their dollars and how to take care of the people within each state. And states are different and people are different. So the governors are going to have a lot more decision-making ability than they have right now.
There is a mathematical formulation that I want readers to consider. If at the local level, is a two in three chance the county government would get it right, and a three in four chance that the state would get it right, and a nine in ten chance that Congress would get it right, which is the best bet?

Not Congress. Because if a county gets it wrong, that only hurts a county. And if a state gets it wrong that only hurts a state. But when Congress gets it wrong, that hurts everyone.

You can always move to another county or another state.

But there is only one United States of America.

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"Trump the Establishment" is already available in paperback.

This is the sequel to "Trump the Press," which covered the nomination. The original -- "Trump the Press" -- is available on Kindle, or in paperback on Create Space.

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  1. Teh Dems, of course, want to run everything from DC.

    1. Over any transmission distance, AC is definitely the way to go.

  2. Hope he remembers that about Marijuana.

    1. because that's the no. 1 priority. lol

  3. Most interesting time in our history. Most people don't realize that Hamilton, not Washington and Madison was the father of our country and our constitution. Not having the constitution would have meant repudiating the war debt and conflict between the states. Hamilton was the only founding father who had given a great deal of thought to the debt, having read up on the problem extensively during the war. Whenever anyone questioned someone about the debt they were always referred to Hamilton. He was also the one who wrote about both the concepts of judicial review and the court being the weakest branch of the government. His concept of review ended up being preserved by John Marshall.
    Could things have turned out differently? Albert Galatin was assigned the task by Jefferson of dismantling the monetary scheme of Hamilton. After reviewing it in detail, he came back and told his president that it was so well-oiled and entwined with the function of the government that doing so would undo the government itself. Jackson needed up undoing the Bank of the United States. There was a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth by the money men, but Jackson was reelected and we got an informal Suffolk system that oversaw tremendous economic growth for a century. The money men got their recentralization with the federal reserve and we have had nothing but bubbles followed by recessions and now stagnation brought about by eternally low interest rates (yes).
    It's time for the pendulum to swing away from centralization again. Nothing is without cost, but the centralized have had the stage for too long. They need to die or go away for a good fifty years.

    1. And I agree that the Fed deserves a scaling back. Janet Yellen should not be the most powerful woman on Earth

    2. I think the trick is to do the paradoxical. Leave the fed intact, but repeal the legal tender acts while the dollar is strong. The govt can still pay its debts in dollars and the fed policy will require the dollar to remain strong. If they do otherwise people start preferring another currency. Let Gresham's law rule, not Yellen's.

  4. "I fear the mob", Jefferson wrote.

    Wiser heads prevailed.