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Issue 6 February 2022

Americans love limited government, so the continued growth of government frustrates American voters. The truth is conservatives are at a disadvantage when it comes to the three most expensive issues facing America: education, health care, and poverty. 

Reframing the Political Landscape

When discussing these issues almost everyone assumes government is the answer.

This seems reasonable but it is not working. Without a workable alternative, the big-government approach is tried repeatedly even though government solutions to education, health care, and poverty are not delivering positive outcomes.

Republicans do well when addressing taxes, the economy, use of natural resources, and regulation because they are using limited government principles of production and free market economics.  Republicans struggle when addressing education and poverty because they are not using limited government arguments.

Empowering families is the key limited government argument to address education, health care, and poverty. We must recognize that these three issues are all family issues. The family can solve these issues quicker, better, and more economically than can government. The best way to deal with them is by building the capacity of the family rather than build the capacity of the state.

Reality seems to indicate that economically, independent family units are the essence of limited government.

This is the vision I call taking Idaho to the next level. I foresee the day when conservatives and Republicans debated different ways of empowering families so families can solve their own problems.

How did America get off track?

How important is the family? All the significant leaders of communism, fascism, progressivism, and Nazism have seen the family as an impediment to state growth.

Karl Marx, “The education of all children, from the moment they can get along without a mother’s care, shall be in state institutions.”

Marx, “There is no greater stupidity than for people…to marry and so surrender themselves to the small miseries of domestic and private life.”

Vladimir Lenin, “Give me your four-year olds and within a generation I will build a socialist state.”

"The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation." ~ Adolf Hitler

Abolition of the family! Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists.” ~ Karl Marx

If the enemies of limited government see the danger a strong family culture poses to the growth of the state, it would seem reasonable that we should wonder why. Could it be that empowering and increasing the number of functional families is the key to limited government? How have we been blinded to this reality?  

The American political system has gradually replaced limited government principles with socialistic, big-government assumptions. All big-government supporters centralize responsibility in the state by taking it away from the people’s institution, the family.  

It began in the 1850s when Horace Mann successfully established a state-centric education system. He believed the state could educate children without the help of parents. This weakened the family and transferred this critical parental responsibility to the state.

Next in the 1910s, Woodrow Wilson began the administrative state which, in his mind, had no limit. The Constitutional limits of government power were deemed old-fashioned and no longer necessary. During his administration Americans, the Federal Reserve and income tax started. 

Woodrow Wilson said in 1885.  “The thesis of the state socialist is, that no line can be drawn between private and public affairs which the State may not cross at will; that omnipotence of legislation is the first postulate of all just political theory.”

In the 1930s, FDR continued the trend of government expansion. Finally in the 1960s, LBJ institutionalized federal involvement in poverty, housing, and medical care with the intent of taking care of the poor rather than helping the poor take care of themselves. 

The future stability of Idaho requires that we reverse these historical errors with three important efforts. 

First, transform public education to a customer service organization that supports parents. Engage more parents by giving them choices so they can take more responsibility and ownership over this important family function. It will improve outcomes and reduce costs. 

Second, begin the process of replacing all ill-conceived federal programs that create dependency by giving a “man a fish” rather than “teaching a man to fish” beginning with creating off-ramps for Food Stamps recipients by offering job training.  

Third, begin the transformation of the medical system from a sickness-centered system to a wellness system by having more funds pass through the hands of the people using HSAs and expanded primary care options. 

Empowering the adults in family units is the key to making changes in each area. 

*Education, health care, and poverty programs make up 43% of the federal budget and 85% of the state general fund budget.

© Copyright 2022 Steven Thayn All rights reserved.