In a time where we see an ever-expanding and overbearing federal government, citizens and states are now saying enough is enough, and rightly so. Governors and Statehouses across the country are now fighting back in an effort to regain control of their states from Washington, D.C. Over the last decade, we have seen significant changes to how states can run themselves. Education, healthcare, welfare, the Environmental Protection Agency and many more now have federal fingerprints all over them. Over 3 million bureaucrats sit in D.C. collecting paychecks to run these failed programs.
In 2006, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney worked with an overwhelmingly democratic Statehouse to tackle the problem of health insurance for the state’s 8 percent who were uninsured. Together, Romney and the state house created a plan that would not raise taxes or premiums on their citizens. In fact it didn’t change the other 92 percent’s current insurance at all. Under that plan, if someone wanted to keep his or her doctor, her or she could. The key aspect of the plan was choice. Unlike many of the programs that have recently come out of D.C., Massachusetts residents were able to have a say in who provided them with coverage. Healthcare companies should be competing against each other for your business anyway, but that’s a topic for another column. Ultimately, the plan was successful because of its specificity to the state. Just because the plan worked in Massachusetts doesn’t mean it would necessarily solve a similar problem in a state like Indiana, Mississippi or even in neighboring New Hampshire. Each state needs figure out how to solve healthcare problems and cover their citizens the way they want. A single man in his late twenties does not need the same health care coverage as a family of seven with a chronically ill child. After the state figures out how they will take care of their residents, it should then be up to the consumers to choose what he or she needs.
We have also seen failed education standards being rolled out of D.C recently. No Child Left Behind and Common Core have set standards that simply do not work for our children. Public schools are failing, and D.C. can’t be responsible for fixing them. States and, more specifically communities, know what is best for their schools. This also shows us the importance of charter and private school vouchers for those stuck in a failing public school system. The states, of course, would determine who’s eligible for the program. Nevada recently passed an education savings account for parents. So, if a parent feels his or her son or child is not receiving an adequate education, the parent(s) can pull the child out of the public school. Then, the parent(s) receive a prepaid debit card with the amount of money the state pays for that child on average in a public school. The card could be used for homeschool supplies, books or tuition towards a private school. This is an innovative way to get Washington bureaucrats out of our schools while simultaneously improving them.
States were meant to compete with one another, not to have a one-size-fits-all policy. So, let Vermont be Vermont and let Texas be Texas. Let’s see where people flood for their chance at the American dream. It’s a free country, and the 10th amendment allows states to make their own policies not granted to the federal government. Let’s see our schools, environment and economy improve through competition, not through generic policies generated in D.C.
Peter Hinman is a senior majoring in political science.