South Dakota is different than New York.

Duh, right?

So why would we expect New York coronavirus policies to be appropriate for South Dakota? And vice versa, for that matter, too.

But when all government flows from Washington D.C., that’s exactly what we get – one-size-fits-all policy dictated from on high that may or may not be effective in a given region.

Usually not.

The Tenth Amendment has suddenly become all the rage in some circles after President Trump claimed to have “total authority.” Of course, he doesn’t. The federal government can only exercise delegated powers. Running quarantines and shutting down businesses for a virus is not among those powers. That means the authority remains with the states and the people.

I’m pleased that Trump didn’t push his fake total authority and left the decision-making power where it belongs – with the governors.

But it’s not just about political theory. I am a believer in decentralization for practical reasons — Because Wyoming is different than Florida.

The founding generation understood this. It’s precisely why they didn’t create a strong central government. It’s why, in the words of James Madison, the powers of the federal government are “few and defined” and those remaining with the states and the people are “numerous and indefinite.”

Thomas Jefferson warned us about the danger of consolidating all power in a single, central government.

“Our country is too large to have all its affairs directed by a single government. public servants at such a distance, & from under the eye of their constituents, will, from the circumstance of distance, be unable to administer & overlook all the details necessary for the good government of the citizen; and the same circumstance by rendering detection impossible to their constituents, will invite the public agents to corruption, plunder & waste.” 

Corruption, plunder and waste. That’s exactly what we’ve gotten with the consolidation of government, centered in Washington D.C.

This is why I wrote a book about the Constitution. If we followed its structure, we’d be a lot better off. The bastardized government we have today is demonstrably awful. You can learn more about why the founding generation created the government structure it did in my book, Constitution  – Owner’s Manual: The Real Constitution the Politicians Don’t Want You to Know About. Grab a copy and give it to a friend or even better, a state legislator!

Mike Maharrey

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