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Issue 12 - January 2024

By Steven Thayn  Former Idaho State Senator / Republican District 14 Chairman

How to Deconstruct Socialism in America

Many assert government has grown too large; even out of control. Yet, not one clear, workable plan has emerged from all this rhetoric. Thousands of politicians for decades have pronounced a vital need to reduce government’s role without creating a single concrete, coherent, effective plan to do so. 

The best the pundits, talk show hosts, politicians, and political think tanks have come up with is tax cuts. As important as tax cuts are, they fall short. Voter demand for government services must also be reduced for government to shrink. Tax cuts have indirectly fueled government by growing the economy which provides more tax revenue. 

Tax cuts are only one side of the ledger. A new approach that reduces public demand for government services is required. The lack of a holistic plan has left conservatives around the world mired in frustration.

How Does Government Grow?

If we are going to reverse the socialist state, we must understand how government grows. Government grows by taking responsibility from the family and centralizing it in the state.[i]   Have you ever wondered why totalitarian states such as communist Russia or Nazis Germany demanded loyalty to the state and did everything possible to break the bonds between parent and child and reforge them with the state? It is because the family is the ultimate check on the power of the state. Limited government is only possible with strong families; yet, most conservatives have a passive view of the family and do not see it as a vibrant, critical component of limited government.   

Look at the numbers. In 1900 in the USA, the combined federal, state, and local tax burden was less than 8 percent of the GDP[ii]. In 2023, the combined tax burden is over 36 percent of the GDP which is less that Communist China. This is a shocking 450 percent growth. Where has the majority of this growth taken place? 

i If the state become responsible for a service like health care, education, or poverty, it creates a reason to raise taxes. 

ii Federal 3.22%, state .81%, and local 3.78% of the GDP in 1900.

The answer is the growth of federal programs that replace the family. The 20th century could rightly be called the anti-family century.   

In 1900, none of the following programs existed that make up 60 percent of the federal budget.

·        no welfare programs

·        no Social Security programs

·        no housing programs

·        no Medicare

·        no Medicaid

·        no spending on public education

·        no student loans etc. etc.


Colonial America and the State

Another way to look at the decline of the American family is to compare the list of responsibilities colonial families were forced to accept which included providing their own food and shelter, their own medical care. and for providing their own education. Welfare programs, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or public education did not exist. The lack of government programs empowered the family unit. This was a blessing even though it was difficult. The combination of Christian faith, free market economics, limited government, and strong families resulted in a rapid improvement in standard of living for all Americans once slavery was abolished. 

However, as the economy improved and wealth increased, the state began to grow by taking responsibilities and resources from the family. The first major step began in the 1850s in Massachusetts when the state usurped the parental right to choose the curriculum.

Power transfer from families to the state gained momentum in the 1930s when the federal government instituted massive government poverty programs and again accelerated in the 1960s with the war on poverty. Obamacare continued this process when it commandeered 18 percent of the economy and placed it in the hands of the federal bureaucracy.

The evidence is clear if you want to see it. Government has grown by weakening the power of the family unit. The evidence is also clear that government programs are much more expensive than the same efforts performed by family units using their own funds. 

Federal and state governments have been seducing families to give up their power and responsibilities for over 100 years. Fortunately, not all families have fallen for the seduction and have retained their responsibilities. Responsible families that work and provide for their own income, housing, food, etc. are thriving while families that have given up their power and responsibility are struggling and more likely to live in poverty, commit crimes, live in government housing, experience poorer health, and their children often struggle in school.  Government programs to “help” the family has been a con game, providing an excuse to grow government. American’s charitable inclinations have been used against us. The effort to replace the family with the state has failed. It is time we acknowledge this fact.

In the 1930s, when the economy was in shambles, America had a choice. We could have focused on rebuilding family capacity. We did not. We decided to build the apparatus of the state to take care of people. This is a root problem with America today. We need to reverse that decision.  

Rebuild the Family

If you agree with the premise that the state has grown at the expense of the family, then it stands to reason that we should reverse engineer this slide to socialism by creating legal structures that transfers power, responsibility, and resources back to willing families. Strong families don’t need government programs.   

However, the family cannot be rebuilt by simply passing a law. No parent can be forced to be responsible through legalism. Freedom cannot be given. It is gained by accepting family responsibilities. Freedom is a choice while the socialist collective is imposed through force. 

The role of government, in the coming era of transferring power and responsibility back to the family, is to create legal structures in areas of education, health care, and poverty to transfer responsibility back to the family. These legal structures will allow families reclaim their responsibilities, ordained by God, which will allow them to leave the collective with its standardization and inflexibility. Families can, then, create and innovative.   

According to this theory, increase the number of strong families and the need for government programs will decrease. In other words, first rebuild the family and then reduce the state. This two-stage approach to regain limited government is in contrast to traditional conservative strategy which tries to repeal big government programs first and then hopes families will reemerge after the fact. The cut-first approach seldom works and lack political support.

Where to Start the Deconstruction Process

Let’s begin where the attack on the family began by allowing parents to choose the curriculum for their children. I have written an article about how micro schools can accomplish this goal which was published by the American Enterprise Institute. The concept is simple. Let parents have access to up to 50 percent of public funding per student to set up micro schools controlled by parents. 


A bill has been written that will be introduced in the 2024 Idaho legislative session designed to set up the legal structure necessary to begin the process of letting parents choose the curriculum they want for their own children for grades kindergarten through 8th grade. 

Excellent home school curriculum is available that teaches math, history, science, language, and other subjects in an engaging, family-friendly, pro-limited government way.  Many struggling students thrive in a smaller setting and the improved curriculum will better prepare the next generation for limited government. 

If you want to know more about how you can help or how you can start a micro school today or to learn more about the bill, call or text 208 365-8656.

For more information email Senator Thayn at [email protected]

© Copyright 2024 Steven Thayn All rights reserved.