LaVarr Webb commented today in Utah Policy Daily on a great column by David Brooks at the New York Times called The Happiness Gap. Brooks was talking about the gap between how happy people are with their own lives and how optimistic they are about government. I think Brooks is right that people are beginning to see through the fallacy that government solutions can fix personal problems, or that one level of government can solve the problems in another level of government. The more we trust to the federal government the more apparent it is that the federal government is not equipped to solve problems created by poor state governments. The same logic holds true with each level of government – state government can’t solve county problems, county government can’t solve city problems, etc.
The thing that really got me was Webb’s concluding paragraph:
I’ve written many times that the job description of the federal government has gotten so immense that it’s impossible to accomplish, hence the deep cynicism about the federal government. The nation’s founders intended for the national government to focus on a few things and do them very well. We need a national resorting of the roles of the different levels of government. A smart presidential candidate would do well to pick up on the mood of the people. (emphasis mine)
Webb was right on except that his last sentence left one thing out – there is a presidential candidate who has picked up on this mood. Ron Paul’s campaign is based on the principle of resorting the roles of the different levels of government – primarily reducing the role of the federal government and allowing states to take their proper place in addressing more of the issues they face. Right now the federal government is doing so much that it can’t even adequately address those issues that are properly in the sphere of the federal government, like national security and immigration. So he may not have known it, but Webb just endorsed Ron Paul as a smart presidential candidate.