Trump, possibly unbeknownst to him, is giving us every opportunity to take and create change in our government, but we might just be too short-sighted to take them.
Prior to the election, as all politicians do, he made promises. Drain the swamp. Build the wall. Make America great again.
I’ve been quiet here, watching what he’s actually been doing. I’ve been reading both sides of the ‘debate.’ I’ve found some common threads that We, the People, are failing to take advantage of.
Let’s go back to the 2016 campaign and election.
People were fed up, on both sides. There is no more crossing the aisle to find commonality. There is no more collaboration. Counteroffers are a thing of the past. Compromise is seen as weakness. Corruption is the sign of the times.
Go a bit further back for a good example: When the AHCA (Obamacare) was drafted, opponents of the project created exactly ZERO counteroffers, collaborative ideas, or anything that crossed the aisle to compromise and provide anything resembling a solution that is best for us. “It must be stopped at all costs,” they cried. They charged with a call of “No quarter” as they rushed into battle. They lost. Their opponents met their cry with their own, and offered no quarter. No compromise. No real solution
The corruption, on both sides put the Party and the needs of the bankrolls which support them in front of the needs of the citizenry. We, the people, were placed behind personal gain and re-election campaign funds.
The fault is all of theirs, shared equally. We, the people, were left with a plan that just managed to give a few people a health care benefit, at the expense of actual progress. This was done, of course, for the insurance companies, the group who would lose the most in a just and honest compromise that would cut at the profitability of insurance companies and provide the best option for We, the people.
Go back a little further, 2008. Financial crisis. Plans are drafted to use public funds to bail out private business.
Counteroffer? Not there.
Blame? Of course.
The controversial plan was proposed on Sept 20, 2008 and enacted on Oct 3. That isn’t even a single pay period for bi-weekly paychecks. That’s how fast those people were to make this decision.
Of course, it also led to some institutions giving huge amounts of that money, as bonuses, to their employees.
I know there are more examples than this, but the only point here is to show how corrupt the economic and political structures have become. There is no need for furthering this part of the discourse.
Now, let’s go back to the 2016 election.
One side promotes a candidate who is the epitome of political corruption: tomes have been written about this.
Another side promotes a candidate who is the epitome of economic corruption: again, tomes have been written about this.
The people, fed up with political corruption, want a change. Economic corruption wins the day, kind of.
So, where is the opportunity for us, for We, the People, to enact the changes?
Look at two key things:
He wants to drain the swamp.
“The swamp” is the political corruption, our elected officials. Our ballots are constantly full of corrupt officials who won’t leave because it’s too lucrative in the swamp and they can change the rules to match their desires because they have all the power centralized in their hands.
Every nomination was made that, on the surface, appears to keep the swamp operating at full capacity. By replacing the existing swamp with his own swamp, it shows the corruption that underlies the act.
Again, tomes have been written, so let’s look at a single instance in a bit more depth to try and appreciate what it could mean.
He picks an awful (to many citizens) candidate for the Secretary of Education. This candidate is given an almost-immediate approval after the confirmation hearings. Split, for upholding a look of “disapproval,” fairly evenly along party lines.
Let’s look at this whole Department of Education thing a little closer.
Federal spending on Education policy is a negative return on investment, they only provide a small portion of total school funding, yet mandate all of the legislative requirements for obtaining this money.
The table linked below shows what each state got from the feds for education in FY 2014. Look at Alabama, since it’s the first one. They received 221.5 million dollars from the federal government for K-12 education funding. That sounds like a lot, right? Well, to most of us, it is.
Education funding comes from 2 main sources, though. Let’s look at the other main source: State level funding. The state of Alabama’s approved budget for FY 2014 allocated 4 billion dollars for (K-12) education funding. Let’s write those numbers out long form:
|Total Federal funding||$221,560,638|
|Total State of Alabama funding||$3,998,609,672|
|Federal funding as a percentage of total funding||5.54%|
How about California, they get 1.7 billion dollars in federal funding, how does their table hold out?
|Total Federal funding||$1,690,050,477|
|Total State of California funding||76,616,000,000|
|Federal funding as a percentage of total funding||2.206%|
How about Texas, they get over a billion dollars too.
|Total Federal funding||$1,319,972,718|
|Total State of Texas funding||
|Federal funding as a percentage of total funding||7.05%|
Federal funding data taken from: https://ed.gov/about/overview/budget/history/sthistbypr14.pdf
State of Alabama funding data taken from: http://www.lfo.state.al.us/PDFs/FY2014Spreadsheets/ETF/ETF_FY_2014_AS_ENACTED.pdf
State of California funding data taken from: http://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/fr/eb/k12allfundsources14.asp
State of Texas funding data taken from: https://tea4avfawcett.tea.state.tx.us/Fsp/Reports/ReportSelection.aspx
Well, it appears that federal education spending doesn’t provide a significant amount at the state level.
Now, let’s look at the negative return on investment.
An individual state earmarks that money as part of their duty to provide educational opportunities to their citizens. The citizens of each individual state pay taxes specifically for it. The educational improvement of the citizens of the state is possibly greater for having that funding come from their taxes.
Let’s look at the Federal level. To get that 2%-7% of total funding.
In order to get that relative pittance, states must abide by federal mandates.
In order to provide that, the government must take money from a different area and allocate it to education, which is not mentioned in the constitution. This federal funding didn’t even start until 1965.
What does this mean?
This is actually vital, that’s why I went into such detail on it.
If, at the federal level, the Depart of Education proposes policies that states disagree with, or the citizens feel as though this is an unavoidable situation, this presents an opportunity to pressure our states to adopt their own policies that overwrite federal policies showing that the net loss is approximately 5% of total education funding, and providing States’ Rights: allowing states to choose their own legislation.
This makes the Federal Dept of Education irrelevant, fires the Sec of Education, and frees up money for other areas of the budget.
But We, the People are failing. We aren’t demanding this, instead we spend our time yelling about the merits of the Sec of Education. We live in fear of abandoning the large central government in much the same was as the corrupt swamp thrives on it.
We fear that, if we back out of federal education laws, individual states won’t have the budget, desire, or will, to continue offering education. This likely won’t happen. The constitution mandates that individual states provide public education.
We fear that, if we back out of federal education laws, individual states will fight for enrollment and population growth, so they can get more tax money. This is already happening. States fight very hard for new business development, and the growth it brings to their population and tax base.
We worry about charter school mandates. If we leave the federal plans, we can forget about all that and do what We, the People think is best. No more additional second guessing at a federal level.
We are seeing more corruption now than ever before. We are also seeing more political activity than any point in this country’s recent history.
If it isn’t Our long con, it’s could be theirs.
I don’t know if that’s his long con, and I don’t really care. We are dropping the ball on the chances we can make from what we are given.
Look at what happened immediately after he dropped out of the Paris climate agreement at the federal level, several states and cities immediately, and publicly, said they will support it. Undermine the federal mandates.
There are many other ways states are asserting their authority, one of which is marijuana legislation.
This is our long con: remove the power from the swamp. By the time those in the swamp realize they hold less power, power will have been transferred to the state level, where the swamp is less polluted with corruption. and where recall elections are more frequent.
We, the People, must take action to destroy the swamp, not just paying lip service to someone the idea of draining it.