Gastonia, NC Correspondent-Pork barrel spending is one of the biggest problems the federal government has, with individual lawmakers making sure that projects funded by Uncle Sam get awarded to their districts to provide some government gravy for the folks back home. Can you imagine how many times over this problem would be multiplied if the workings of our government were to decentralize? We’d end up with the Department of the Navy in landlocked Iowa, and the Department of Agriculture in Alaska. That sounds ludicrous, but I could come up with examples of pork barrel projects that made far less sense.
One argument FOR decentralizing government is that as we are now, with all the eggs in the D.C. basket, we are far more vulnerable to a massive nuclear attack. One or two well-placed warheads could leave the heart of our government a pile of smoking, melted ruins. However, in today’s world, the threat from such a Cold War-style attack is negligible. The countries still capable of launching such a strike have little to no interest in doing so. Even Putin at his most megalomaniacal wouldn’t think of pushing the button to try and get a leg up on the United States.
The threat is far greater from lone wolves and small bands of terrorists, armed to the teeth and trained online by ISIS and other fomenters of malcontent. With this sort of threat, it’s actually easier to protect one area than many. Keep a tight cordon on Washington, D.C., keep the surveillance cameras manned, the rooftops occupied and the ears on the street active, and it’s a lot more simple to protect our single government enclave. If we scatter the major portions of government around the country, incidents like the Oklahoma City truck bombing will be far more likely…and just as difficult to prevent.
Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-The federal government would operate more efficiently if it were decentralized and portions of its operations moved to other parts of the country. With the proximity of power removed from Washington, full authority and control would be diminished from the beltway hub and places like California, New York and Washington as they would be unable to wield the influence they do in what happens in the rest of the country.
If other states were allowed to have influence in the operation of the federal government agencies, there would be more of a view that the states should have a rightful place in the operation of the federal government. Showing Americans that there is more than one place to direct and legislate from sends a message that the government can be handled from a number of different areas as it can from the District of Columbia. Though a decentralization of power might take legislation, it could be done fairly quickly and effectively.
With “draining the swamp” being one of the priorities of the Trump administration, a partial transfer of power from the Washington base of operations would certainly be one way to accomplish the drain, plus diminish the power of Washington. Leaving the beltway and governing from a different area would further delegitimize the control of Washington and would more than emphasize how corrupt Washington has become. Also, if the president were positioned to be in different places for key House or Senate races, he certainly would have influence being in the vicinity of the stomping grounds of any candidate. If the president were to move throughout the country during his term in office, he would definitely be able to emphasize that he is for all Americans.
Movement of federal agencies to different parts of the country would help disperse federal power as would the federal circuit court, the Court of Appeals for the District and even the Supreme Court. Holding court sessions in other parts of the country, particularly those in flyover country would certainly be of benefit in decentralizing judicial control and influence from the beltway. Supreme Court judges would also be more likely to retire and the left would not be able to rely on their decisions for bolstering their own agenda.
The House Speaker and Senate Majority Leader could certainly have more effect if they left the Washington area and were accountable to the American people rather than to other Washington elites. Representatives and senators could do so as well. If they stayed in their respective states a certain amount of time during a session, they could accomplish a lot more as well as meet with constituents and help solve state issues rather than constantly being embroiled in the politics and lobbying efforts at the federal level.
A good number of Congressmen and women could have little to say about relocating to their own regions and states if they realized that they needed the perspective of those in Middle America, plus the relocation of federal agencies with highly paid federal jobs would be of benefit to their own states as well.
With leftists and the media believing that nothing exists outside of Washington, D.C., along with their power player friends and contacts, they would soon find themselves disconnected from their comrades in arms if they were forced to work and report outside of the beltway. Then they would have to become involved with real Americans in small towns and cities and understand what the definitive issues were with Americans.
If the government was decentralized from Washington, D.C. and its operations moved to other parts of the country, it would be a practical and common sense change as well as a viable political defense for keeping the left off balance and connecting with Americans. If draining the swamp was coupled with leaving the swamp, the federal government could be returned to the people.
Owatonna, MN Correspondent– There are two types of decentralized government. One is decentralizing by giving more power to state and local government and diminishing the federal government’s role. The other is spreading the existing government out from its centralized location, Washington, D.C.
The first type of decentralization would improve the federal government’s efficiency because it would be required to do fewer tasks, have fewer responsibilities, and offer fewer services.
The second option, the topic of this discussion, will not likely result in major efficiency gains. A big reason would be the propensity for government employees to use taxpayer dollars with little regard for cost. Spending other people’s money with no regard to cost is too tempting for anyone, particularly government employees. Long distance travel from one branch to another would dramatically increase despite the easy access to video conferencing, email, Skype, and other forms of remote communication. Hotel, airfare, car rental, and meal costs would rise significantly. Long travel times would decrease productivity.
Time zone differences between the coasts would also diminish efficiency. Problems that arise late in the day on the West Coast which require assistance from an East Coast office might need to be delayed until the next business day.
Some cost savings might be realized by leasing office space in areas that are less expensive than D.C., but those savings would probably be offset by a greater number of smaller offices being leased for more total dollars.
Personnel shuffling via promotions, retirements, firing, and the normal changes that occur as each new administration comes to power would cost more. Also, some areas with smaller, less capable labor pools might be forced to pay more salary for certain jobs than those jobs would cost in D.C. because a career bureaucrat might not want to move to a rural or less desirable location than the East Coast.
There might be some positives that come from decentralization like easier access to government services by those far from Washington. However, with the ease of electronic communication, few people would take the time to go to a local office if they could save even five minutes of driving time and call that office instead.
Downsize government to make it more efficient, but don’t decentralize it. The unintended consequences of doing so would make the federal government less efficient.