Friday, October 18, 2013

What Should Government Look Like?

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

- Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America (emphasis added)

So let's take each of the words/phrases in bold above and see what government should look like.

1. Perfect Union - A union is a coming together. This means that we should be unified. Government has a responsibility to unite the country. This doesn't mean we agree on everything, it doesn't mean we shouldn't debate. It does mean that we should work together. It does mean that we should be respectful of others and not resort to childish tactics such as name calling and bullying. If our government cannot unite us, then we need new representatives.

2. Domestic Tranquility - To me this means that we should be able to live our lives without fear of upheaval. That in general we should expect that we can go about our daily business without being wrongfully impeded. This means that we need to have a set of laws that protect us and help to deter wrong behavior. It also means that the laws that are created need to be enforced in a manner that is just but yet showing mercy where warranted. Now I know that's a simplistic thing to say, but sometimes the Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) method is the best.

3. Common Defense - Do we have enemies? Are there people who want what we have? Yes to both counts. Therefore we need to have the ability to defend ourselves. This means a military. This does NOT mean we have to involve ourselves everywhere and anywhere. We need to be smart and understand what areas we need to focus on to ensure our safety. This also includes funds to foreign nations when it is deemed that without said funds our safety will be compromised. Notice I said "will" and not "could", these are different. "Will" implies that we have the necessary data to back it up. "Could" implies that the data we have is fuzzy and that there is a chance.

4. General Welfare - To me this means that we need certain laws to keep things in check. Our government today is based on checks and balances. We need to do the same with laws that apply to the private sector. This does mean regulations on certain things. It also means we should have the ability to "audit" certain areas to ensure that in general things are going well. Audit does not mean run however. It means that there are certain standards that apply to areas (say education for example) that must be met. Auditing allows for improvement as well as demonstration of what works and what doesn't. This also allows for certain freedoms from a States Rights standpoint. There are several areas in our lives where we would benefit from this "auditing" instead of having a Federal agency "run" the area.

5. Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity - This means that we are a people who are free. Free to become who we want to become. Free from oppression. Free from financial burdens. Free so that our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and so on will have the same freedoms. Government is there to ensure that burdens are as light as possible and removed where not needed. Government should NOT create unnecessary burdens and should get out of the way as much as possible.

At the end of the day if the government can provide these five things it should be:
  • Right sized - Not too big, not too small
  • Efficient
  • Trusted
  • Helping, not impeding
  • Financially responsible - after all it is the citizens money it is dealing with
  • Civil
To me, it currently does not meet this test. It can, but there are changes that need to be made. That can be done, but only if we hold true to the framework setup by our forefathers.

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