Jeff Jacoby brought up an interesting point in an article that he wrote this morning. In the article he writes the answer that you didn’t hear in this year’s debates but SHOULD have at least one time or another.
Call me a cranky libertarian conservative, but just once I would like to hear a candidate for president answer a question by saying, “Sorry, the Constitution limits the role of the federal government — the issue you’re asking about is one for the states or the private sector, not Washington.”
So many of the recent elections have been about how the federal government is going to solve all of our problems. It’s almost as if the discussion of if the government SHOULD be involved has now gone by the wayside by the two major parties.
Of course, that’s part of the problem. The two major parties are not concerned about what the limits of the federal government are as detailed by the US Constitution. Why even that there are any limits on the government by the US Constitution are facts that I dare say the Republicans (civil rights abuses) and Democrats (overreaching provider) would be shocked to find out.
No, now they assert that the only way that these problems can and should be solved are by the federal government. And just as luck would have it, both parties have someone who at the ready to provide to you those solutions. All you need to do is turn over your self-reliance and neighborhood accountability to them and all will be well with the world.
As has been detailed over and over again other places, the major problem we have in education for the past forty years has been that the federal government did get involved, something that was limited to them by the US Constitution and simply ignored by most people in Washington, DC. They even created a cabinet post to originally oversee the running of the state and local education authorities, but over time it has grown into a mindless bureaucracy that needs more and more money going each year to feed it’s own growth while teacher’s salaries drop, education levels spiral and more and more people pulling their children from public schools into private institutions.
The problem is, MORE federal government involvement in the school system is not the answer, we need less. We need to give the local and state authorities the ability to teach the children in more innovative ways. We need to provide a way for them to deal with problem children. We need to give them ability to try new things, be responsive and quickly make adjustments as they see fit.
While the decisions are left in Washington, DC to make, however, there can be none of that. Our children’s education becomes a political football, used in power grab games between the two warring parties who are running the show. And it is more profitable in the politics game to leave a problem broken enough that the ones who want and need it fixed will have to come to you. All you need to do is convince the stakeholders that you are better equipped to fix it than your opponent, the key benefit to a duopoly instead of a multi-party system. No longer do you have to say “I can fix it” just that “My opponent can’t”.
The end result, nothing gets done. At least, nothing gets done by the federal government. Instead, people get tired of waiting for a solution and come up with one of their own and implement behind the scenes. For example, back to our situation with education, most people just move their children to private schools or home school. At least, the ones who can afford to can. The ones who can’t afford to keep shipping their children off to public schools, at the cost of wealthier children being educated better than the poorer children. And since education, along with hard work, is the greatest factor in being able to build wealth in your life.
Maybe someday, not in the distant future, the unspoken answer to the debate questions that should be provided will be. Will anyone hear it?