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Food stamps and federalism: Why putting more control in the states’ hands is a great idea

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Food stamps and federalism Why putting more control in the states hands is a great idea

Getting Americans in poor financial situations help acquiring the basic need of food has been under the control of the federal government for decades. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as the food stamp program, has been been in a continuous state of increase even as the overall fiscal health of the nation has improved.

The USDA has released a promise to push the program towards a federalist solution. By giving more control over the delivery and administration of food stamps to the states, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue hopes to pull more people off the program and down the road to self-sufficiency.

“SNAP was created to provide people with the help they need to feed themselves and their families, but it was not intended to be a permanent lifestyle,” he said.

Details of the move have not been released, but the general theme of the pledge is to bring it in line with federalism. This is a great thing. Here are three reasons why:

Localizing welfare programs improves accountability

As with any federal program, the food stamp program is rife with corruption. Having the federal government dictate how states administer the program takes responsibility away from the states to monitor how it’s all handled.

One of the benefits of localizing government is making people responsible for their own actions. When messes are pushed over to DC for accountability, they can get lost in the mix. Localizing allows people closer to home to ask the tough questions. That’s not to say there’s no corruption in local or state governments, but it’s much easier to identify and sort out when the buck stops locally instead of getting pushed up to the federal level.

Let states innovate as the labs of government

SNAP was intended to be a stopgap solution, but history has proven it isn’t. More people join the food stamp program than leave it. Some of this is due to the direction the economy is going where higher prices of basic living expenses outpace lower end wages. Most of the problems can be attributed to lack of innovation.

The federal government is not known for innovation. It’s just too big.

By applying the basic tenets of federalism to allow states to be the laboratories of government they were intended to be from our founding, we can see a diverse mix of solutions attempted. As some fail, other states can learn from those lessons. As others succeed, policies can be adopted and improved upon based upon those successes. The goals of both the federal and state variations of the agencies should be to help those who need it now by getting them food and in the future by making them self-sufficient. Opening up innovation at the state level is the best way to achieve both goals. This leads us to the most glaring reason we need federalism applied to food stamp (and most other) programs…

DC doesn’t shrink anything, ever

We want fewer people on food stamps. This isn’t just for the sake of taxpayers. It’s for the sake of the Americans in need. There will always be some who prefer to game the system and be supported for their whole lives. There are others who have no choice. However, there are millions who can and should be able to get back on their feet. All they need is a little help.

Washington DC is incapable of this because it goes against the nature of our current federal government system. Until we elect true federalists to enough offices across America, we’re stuck with the Democrats and Democratlites (also known as the Republicans). Both parties have grown accustomed to keeping DC in a perpetual state of growth. For every positive move like this one, there are five more programs getting boosts for no good reason other than earning the current party in power some votes.

What the USDA is proposing is that rare opportunity when a federal agency is relinquishing power to the states. We should take the successes that come from the move and use them as shining examples of how the principles of federalism can be made to work better than the current big-government system that rules over just about everything in DC.

Christian, husband, father. EIC, NOQ Report. Co-Founder, the Federalist Party. Just a normal guy who will no longer sit around while the country heads in the wrong direction.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Don McCullen

    December 6, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    Democratlites can also be called JD, “Republicrates.” I actually like both terms than RINOs which conservative media popularized. Republicrates I like the best. Steve Deace came up with that one.

  2. Pingback: Federalism works best as a full-spectrum political philosophy

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Economy

House bill will rein in Trump’s abuse of trade powers

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As much of the nation focused yesterday on the Supreme Court and who Trump would nominate to fill the seat being vacated by Anthony Kennedy’s retirement, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) was busy working on a bill that would limit Trump’s authority to levy tariffs.

Under Gallagher’s bill, Congress would reclaim its constitutional authority by requiring the president to obtain congressional approval before levying tariffs “in the interest of national security.” This bill is in response to Trump abusing his power to levy tariffs under a provision in the law that allows him to do so on an emergency basis when national security is threatened.

Gallagher’s measure is a companion bill to a Senate measure co-sponsored by Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Mike Lee (R-UT) designed to “rein in the executive branch’s power to impose (tariffs)” and to empower Congress to “assert its Constitutional responsibility and lead on trade policy.”

The recessionary/depressionary consequences of Trump’s self-declared trade war are beginning to take their toll. US companies in various industries are making plans to move operations overseas to avoid the financial impact of tariffs while others are laying off employees due to skyrocketing prices on steel.

To be fair, tariffs haven’t been all bad, especially if your name is Trump.

Trump managed to leverage his tariff threats against China to haul in over $500 million to finance Trump golf courses and hotels in Indonesia and secure trademarks for his and Ivanka’s business interests in China. And Ivanka’s questionably ethical payday has continued as we have just learned that her clothing empire—exclusively manufactured in various Asian countries because MAGA™–is exempt from Daddy’s recent 25 percent tariff on $34 billion worth of imported Chinese goods.

It looks like Trump won’t be backing down anytime soon. It was last week that we learned that Trump is working on a bill he hopes Congress will consider that would shift ALL tariff power from the legislative branch to the executive branch. Known as the U.S. Fair and Reciprocal Trade Act (FART Act), Trump’s proposal would give him Emperor-like power to levy tariffs anywhere anytime and for any reason.

Would Congress ever pass such a law? Who knows?

A few weeks ago, the Senate Finance Committee grilled Commerce Secretary Wilber Ross over Trump’s trade-war strategy in light of the administration’s kid-gloves handling of China and of retaliatory tariffs against the US by Canada, China, Mexico, and the EU. It’s tempting to get excited when Republicans get fired up and appear to be doing their job, unfortunately Mitch McConnell always shows up to throw water on the flames, turning the excitement into ashes.

As the election draws near and with the GOP officially rebranded as the Party of Trump, I find little reason to hope that efforts to rein in Trump’s abuse of power will succeed.

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

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Economy

Emperor Palpatine would love Trump’s U.S. FART Act

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Ever since Trump officially launched his self-declared trade war earlier this year, countries around the world have been lining up to retaliate against his arbitrary use of tariffs—the Senate Finance Committee recently called it “knee-jerk impulses”—in his pursuit to advance his anti-free trade, protectionist agenda.

In January, Trump lobbed the first economy-killing grenade when he imposed tariffs on imported solar panels and residential washing machines. Weeks later Trump launched a second round of attacks with across-the-board tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum.

Following the second round of attacks, Trump’s trade advisor Peter Navarro appeared on FOX Business Network to assure America that Trump knew what he was doing and that fears of a trade war were misplaced because no country would dare retaliate for Trump’s tariffs.

Obviously, with retaliatory tariffs being leveled by Canada, China, Mexico, and the EU, Navarro was not only wrong in his conclusion, but we now find ourselves in the throes of a trade war, with casualties here at home such as we witnessed recently with Harley Davidson’s announcement to move some production overseas to avoid tariffs.

Additionally, the price of steel has doubled, causing layoffs and possible business closures for smaller businesses. For example, last week Mid-Continent Nail announced layoffs for 60 of its 500 employees and may be forced to relocate to Mexico to survive Trump’s trade war.

But don’t worry. Trade wars are “good” and “easy to win.”

Already guilty of abusing his authority to level tariffs—he can only do so as a matter of national security—and in true “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” fashion, Trump is working on a bill he hopes Congress will consider that would shift tariff powers from the legislative branch to the executive branch.

The U.S. Fair and Reciprocal Trade Act would give the president power to level tariffs anywhere, anytime, and for any reason. Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci refers to Trump’s proposal acrostically, calling it the U.S. FART Act because it “stinks.”

Personally, I think a better nickname for it is the Emperor Palpatine Act because it gives Trump…

I would like to believe, as the editorial board of National Review does, that Congress would never consider surrendering its Article 1, Section 8 power to “lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imports, and Excises” to any president, especially Trump. But when you consider that they already allow Trump to abuse his authority to impose tariffs—national security, remember?—not to mention that efforts to rein him in have been shot down by Mitch McConnell and other Republicans sold out to Trumpism, I’m not so sure FART wouldn’t fly if given its wings.

Case in point: We need only remember how Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) successfully led the charge to surrender the Senate’s Constitutional authority to approve treaties to Obama during the Iran deal to know just how feckless Republicans can be when dealing with unpopular issues.

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and FacebookSubscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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Economy

What do Democrats and Obamacare have in common with Republicans and tax cuts?

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During the Obama administration, the most obvious example of the disastrous consequences of making laws in this fashion is Obamacare—legislation negotiated behind closed doors and so full of special interests that Nancy Pelosi famously stated that Congress had to pass the bill before we could find out what was in it. Obama also provided cover for Obamacare before and after its passage with his now-famous repeated lie: “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”

Trump and the GOP have created an Obamacare moment of their own with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).

Like Obamacare, TCJA was so massive and contained so many special interest considerations—mostly to corporations and donors—that it was hammered out behind closed doors, and under McConnell’s Pelosi-inspired instructions, TCJA could not be read by Senators until after it passed the Senate. And just like Obama before him with Obamacare, Trump kept the details of the tax cut plan hidden while spreading the lie that it would provide “the biggest tax cuts in history.”

The folks at InfoWars.com said that Trump’s promise had an Obama-esque “if you like your money, you can keep your money” ring to it.

The similarities between Obamacare the Trump tax cuts don’t end there. In the same way that much of the damage from Obamacare wasn’t known until after it became law, the damage from Trump’s tax cuts are now being revealed.

A previously unnoticed change to the tax code included in the TCJA has been discovered that imposes newly created taxes on churches, synagogues, and other non-profit organizations of 21 percent on employee benefits like meals and parking, forcing these organizations, regardless of size, to pay taxes for the first time ever. This is a costly burden when you consider that many nonprofit organizations operate with small and/or volunteer staff.

Rep. Michael Conaway (R-TX), who is apparently one of those who didn’t read TCJA before voting for it, is trying to fix this “oops” moment, but House Ways and Means Chairman and Trump loyalist Kevin Brady (R-TX) is defending the stealth-like tax grab because it will provide “parity”—GOP-speak for fairness—regarding taxing employee compensation.

Parity has nothing to do with it. From day one, Republicans targeted charitable deductions as a source of income to offset the massive tax breaks they were giving big business and special interests. Failing to get as much as they had hoped from adjusting deductions, the GOP went after the recipients of those donations.

This is why the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was created behind closed doors, why nobody could read it before voting, and why Trump lied to protect it. It’s also a sign that our great Republic is quickly approaching its end.

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and FacebookSubscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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