The real problem with government is that it is upside down, backwards and too big. Government should be much smaller than it is now. Also, the focus and real power should be localized, not centralized in Washington or Albany. Finally, it should function from the bottom up, not from the top down. If government could be made to function like that, instead of how it currently functions, we could all be a lot better off and happier. Instead, almost everyone in America is frustrated and upset with all levels of government.

I have no doubt that there is a proper role for government. It should keep the peace, provide basic order, and protect us from foreign aggression. Most of the rest of life should be left to individuals, families and private groups like churches and civic organizations. Unfortunately, government has gotten totally out of control and now intrudes into almost every area of life. Think back over the past few years and consider some of the things that government has tried to dictate to us. We aren’t allowed to use outdoor wood furnaces. We can’t have bonfires or campfires. We are told when and where we can raise chickens and crops. Now we are being told that we have no choice about whether or not we must purchase health insurance. Notwithstanding the guarantees of the Constitution we are being told we can’t own or carry guns, and that we can’t pray in public or put religious symbols in public buildings. To add insult to injury we are then required to put up the money to pay for all of these intrusions into our lives. Who wants all of this “government intervention” anyway? I don’t, and I don’t personally know anyone who does. Would this happen if it was left up to local leaders?

Most government programs were well-intentioned, but ill-advised. They were intended to help solve perceived problems. Unfortunately they have made most of those problems worse, not better. Welfare and Medicaid are two notorious examples of programs gone awry. They get bigger and bigger every year. Despite spending billions of dollars on these programs the poverty and health problems have also become worse and worse. Perhaps local control wouldn’t work any better. But could we have done any worse a job than the experts in Washington and Albany? I don’t think so. The bloated bureaucracy has become self-sustaining and unresponsive. It has created a sub-class of society that is totally dependent upon the government. They have lost hope and all sense of personal responsibility. Each community should be allowed to analyze its own needs and devise its own solutions to its own problems. Solutions shouldn’t be dictated from above. They should spring from the local community. Good government should start with the people and work its way up.

Abraham Lincoln said that government should be “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Government officials in Washington and Albany need to learn this. Why should Albany set our speed limits? Do they really know what the speed limit in Wellsville, Cuba, Almond or Fillmore should be? I don’t think so. Local residents and local leaders should be able to decide that, and most other things. Local residents and local leaders should also decide how much money to raise and how to spend it. Albany should be limited to spending its own money, and a whole lot less of that.

In reality big government is destroying almost everything good about our communities and society. Most of life should be completely outside of the sphere of government. What it does need to do should be limited, and should be controlled locally, not at the State or federal level. Albany and Washington need to go on a fiscal diet. That is what I think government should be like. What do you think?

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