The role of government is not a complex issue

December 6, 2013

In response to Don Flood’s column of Nov. 26:

We are fighting a great political battle about the size and role of government. But concluding that Republicans want only to limit government is foolish. First off, you give the wrong impression (perhaps, knowingly?) when you fail to mention “federal government.” There is no intention of being against all government; the Tea Party is not anarchist. Secondly, both Democrats and Republicans are dancing away from the idea of limited federal government, and toward a socialist European-type government. They have been doing so at least since LBJ’s Great Society of 1964 and 65; almost 50 years.

The Republican Party, like the Democratic Party, has many progressives in its leadership, as well as a good number of “go along to get along” politicians who are more concerned about re-election, benefits and pensions than the good of the country. The Tea Party comprises only a small but vocal and active contingent of the Republican Party. Tea Partiers refer to the non-Tea Partiers in the Republican Party as establishment Republicans. The establishment is often seen as “Democrat-lite” or “moderates,” and they in turn are upset with the Tea Party upstarts.

Mr. Flood argues that limited government isn’t the whole story, and that conservatives back away from limiting government if their benefits are at risk. He doesn’t hear any howls of protest from conservatives on the bay side who will benefit from a $40 million restoration from the feds. He concedes that this is human nature. But the way he frames this issue implies that only Tea Party conservatives are disingenuous. He deduces from seeing many Romney signs on the bayside, that many of them are proud Tea Partiers, and concludes moderate conservatives are an endangered species. Forgive me if I question Don’s powers of deduction and political observation.

Mitt Romney was an establishment candidate, and a moderate conservative. He was not loved by the Tea Party, although many supported him in the general election. He was the governor of Massachusetts when Romneycare was passed; and this weakened his opposition to Obamacare, the biggest issue on the Republican side. Many independents and moderates supported him as the lesser of two evils, despite the media’s prejudice. Many Republicans chose not to vote.

It is true that Tea Party conservatives hate the federal government intervening in state and local affairs, and wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars. Shouldn’t we all? No one in Washington, D.C. knows how better to spend local tax dollars than the local people and governments of Delaware. The federal government has enumerated powers defined in the Constitution, and has little or no authority to collect state taxes, and then offer some of that money back to the states with strings attached, as bribes to get states to follow a federal agenda. In this case, if Delaware has a tourist industry valued at $7B along its shores, both the industry and the state should be investing in protecting that industry from any and all dangers it may face. That $40 million is less than a half percent of the $7 billion. Delawareans should have decided if this project was worthy, or simply putting off the inevitable, and thus a waste of money. They should then have appropriated, distributed and spent the funds as best the locals see fit, and not sent it off to the feds for the central planners at the EPA or in D.C. to decide how and where to spend it.

“When it comes to the beaches - and yes, even the Atlantic beaches - we’ll still need to have some very difficult discussions about the role of government”. Discussions about the role of state and local government, and not federal government in local matters!

Armand Carreau

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