Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Apparently I'm a rightwing extremist now...

I’m self-employed…which means, I am one of those lucky people who has to calculate their own taxes and then send 4 big old fat checks a year to the federal government and 4 smaller checks a year to the state government. When I sent out my state taxes and federal taxes estimated payments this week it occurred to me that my check to the federal government was almost 10x that of the check sent to the state…and this just didn’t seem right…I mean, why are we sending all this money to the federal government, so that it can decide where and whom to appropriate it to? For some reason, this discrepancy never really bothered me before. But now it does…it really makes clear how much power the federal government wields over deciding how money gets spent in the individual states.

Every state is waiting for federal funds to come in on some project, so doesn’t it make sense to just say that every state needs that money that is being sent to DC…so why doesn’t it just remain in the state…and then local voters can have more of an effect on how the money gets spent, instead of having to vote to send some senators to Washington to beg to get their money sent back to their own state?

But according to this article, that makes me a radical on the right.

The Department of Homeland Security is warning law enforcement officials about a rise in "rightwing extremist activity," saying the economic recession, the election of America's first black president and the return of a few disgruntled war veterans could swell the ranks of white-power militias.

A footnote attached to the report by the Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines "rightwing extremism in the United States" as including not just racist or hate groups, but also groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority.

Part of me also believes that local government might actually like the fact that the federal government controls the purse strings, because when the local voters complain about not getting the infrastructure and program improvements they think are necessary, local officials can just nod their head in sympathy and say: “yeah, but it’s the boys in Washington…we can’t do anything about it.” And then the boys in Washington can turn around and say: “yes, we understand your plight, but there are others in more need than yourself. Sorry.” And there is no way for anyone to really check up on this. You can’t “follow the money” in Washington.

I think it would make for a more responsible local government and an overall more efficiently running country if money that was to be disbursed to the individual states, didn’t have to flow through Washington first, just to make it back to the states it came from…

But hey, I guess I better watch what I say, such thoughts are apparently deemed radical nowadays.


Blogger airforcewife said...

Unfortunately, just in my experience, people don't take the "it's Washington" excuse very well. Instead they just vote in more bonds that will have to be paid for in 20 years and lead to municipalities losing their credit ratings.

I think Washington likes holding the purse strings (and to be honest, who wouldn't?) because it allows them to pass what basically amount to unfunded or underfunded mandates that apply to everyone (even though unfunded mandates are supposed to be illegal). For instance, remember when they correlated road repair monies with speed limits of 55? Roads are supposed to meet basic safety standards and be repaired by the locals. If you let people drive 60 instead of 55, you were SOL. The feds still collected your tax dollars, they just didn't give them back. And they weren't earning interest, and you couldn't get them back in the future.

School monies that are dispatched from the upper governments (states as well as feds) often carry riders that a certain percentage of the money has to be used for some ridiculous program that won't teach the kids anything anyway. It doesn't matter if the kids science books are factually incorrect - they look pretty and they are published on recycled paper which was the big requirement to be fulfilled.

I could go on and on. Forever. Really.

5:49 PM  

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