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What is the Proper Role of the Federal Government?

by Scott Rohter, October 2011

What is the proper role of the Federal Government?  Should it be the role of the Federal Government to fix everything and make everything right?  Some people obviously think that it is. Where does this notion come from, the notion that the Federal Government is some kind of big sugar daddy that is supposed to fix everything and make everything right?  Does it come from the United States Constitution? Of course it doesnt. It never has and it never will. The notion that our Federal Government is supposed to correct all the ills of society, comes from the monumental failure of our national educational system to fully understand and teach the true meaning of freedom and personal responsibility. It is also the result of empowering hundreds of thousands of faceless federal bureaucrats, to fix all of the unfortunate, lingering consequences of slavery more than one hundred years after it was abolished which has given rise to an entitlement mentality that is unsurpassed anywhere else in the world...

Freeing African American slaves without having the foresight to teach them the rights and responsibilities of free people, after having enslaved their fathers and grandfathers for over two hundred years, did not help matters any. After Abolition, America has only itself to blame for not helping these newly freed citizens to adjust to their new lives. We have only ourselves to point a finger at for not teaching millions of former slaves what it meant to be full fledged members of society. We have been rather stupid to assume that after 200 years of enslaving their parents and grandparents, that the children of four generations of Black slaves would just instinctively know how to fit into society. And we have been making matters much worse ever since them by overcompensating for our original shortsightedness. Instead of fixing anything, all of our efforts have only further exacerbated the original sin of slavery, and produced some very profound and unfortunate side effects. The most glaring example of a side effect is the demonstrable feeling of entitlement that is resident in the Black Community today. I guess to many Black Americans turn-around is fair play, but at what cost may I ask?

We are still victims of our past, and the chains of slavery in America are still dangling and resounding in our collective ears.  You can hear those chains every time that Al Sharpton opens his brazen mouth to speak, and tells us that we need a stronger Federal Government, or when Congresswoman Maxine Waters, D. (L.A.) points a finger at us again and tells us that the Federal Government should do this thing or that, or whenever the not so reverend Jessie Jackson, or the ACLU shake down another major American corporation for more money!  Few leaders of any significance who question the increasing role of the Federal government in our lives, are ever given a national podium from which to warn the American public about the harm caused by expanding the role of the Federal Government. The entitlement mentality is only one of a long list of factors that are responsible for bankrupting our country, both financially and morally!  Some of the other factors that are also contributing to America’s accelerating decline are:

  1. The deliberate debasing of our currency by the Federal Reserve Board
  2. Hollywood’s corrupting influence on our popular culture
  3. The pervasive influence of television in society
  4. Our national education system based in Washington, D.C, which is a national disgrace
  5. The failure of the Church to provide effective contemporary leaders, and role models in sufficient numbers to combat all of these other evil influences
  6. The corrupting influence of money in politics!
Please read my article Real Campaign Finance Reform that You Can Believe In.

But back to the subject at hand. Where does the idea come from, that the Federal Government is supposed to fix everything and make everything right? It used to be that when the Federal Government declared some place was a Federal Disaster Area, that it really was a disaster area. Now federal disaster relief is as common as rain, or a river that overflows its banks every season. Requests for Federal disaster assistance are as frequent as a big gust of wind, or an unusually strong ocean surf. It’s not just Washington politicians who are pandering for votes, that are to blame. The Governors of the several States are also fueling the problem with their myriad requests for Federal assistance. Everyone has lost perspective. The qualifications for Federal Disaster Relief Assistance have been downgraded to be almost meaningless today. Everybody acts like Federal money just grows on trees like ripe fruit that is just there for the taking.

Here are two recent examples of Federal government largesse in my own home state of Oregon. The big earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan back in March, 2011 was truly a national disaster of epic proportions for Japan, but there was no tsunami on the west coast of North America. Slightly higher than normal waves however did hit the small coastal town of Brookings, Oregon and they wiped out a small dock, and a little fishing pier. What happened in Brookings was not a national disaster on anybody's sizemometer, nevertheless our Democrat Governor blew it all out of proportion and he requested Federal Disaster Relief Assistance from Washington. To my surprise the little town of Brookings, Oregon was officially declared to be a Federal Disaster Area by President Obama, and then it qualified for taxpayer subsidized Federal Disaster Relief Assistance.

In my own County there was another great example of the ever expanding role of the Federal Government in our lives. Lane County Oregon is the covered bridge capitol of the world. Oregon’s early pioneers built these wooden wonders, and they are still one of our State's favorite tourist attractions, but because they are made out of wood, they need to have regular maintenance and repairs performed from time to time. Oregonians built these bridges ourselves, without any help from the Federal government, and we have maintained them for over sixty years without Washington's assistance. But apparently we just can't do it by ourselves anymore. 

One of our many historic covered bridges recently needed a new roof and a fresh coat of paint, and it had a slight little sag in the middle of the bridge that resulted from years from heavy use by logging companies. So the Lane County Board of Commissioners petitioned the Obama Administration for Federal assistance to perform the necessary repairs to the bridge. Through a Federal Highway Grant and other federal funding sources, the money to perform the necessary repairs to the bridge was secured, and the work to the bridge has been completed. Now to the best of my knowledge none of our current Lane County Commissioners are the immediate descendants of African slaves, so they should all understand the proper role of the Federal government. They should also know the rights and responsibilities of free people. In addition they should also  be aware of the fact that Washington is almost 17 trillion dollars in debt. So what is their excuse for having an entitlement mentality?


"The truth, the political truth, and nothing but the political truth.
A journalist has no better friend than the truth."
- Scott Rohter

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