This post may seem rather odd coming from a lifelong registered Democrat and yet it does. But I do believe that there are entire agencies within the federal government that need to be greatly reduced if not entirely disbanded. Our government is trying to be all things to all people, and that is just an impossibility. Most agencies were founded with the idea that since they apply to all people in the United States the federal government is the natural head. That is both idealistic and overly optimistic.
One of the sacred cows of the Democrat Party is Health and Human Services. This is an agency that should probably exist, in a much reduced form, under another cabinet head with most of its services being relegated to the individual states. I think this also applies to housing and urban developement. This does not mean I am in favor of eliminating welfare, but it does mean I believe welfare should be entirely funded by the individual state.
I have no idea why the Department of Energy exists as a cabinet post at all. It would seem that its various organizations are better fitted beneath other existing agencies such as transportation and commerce.
Another cabinet post that thoroughly aggravates me Homeland Security. This was a knee-jerk reaction by the Bush administration to the events of September 11, 2001. While I agree in principle that greater security measures were needed, I entirely disagree, obviously with how this was carried out. Title 10 and Title 32 of the U.S. Code dictates how our military troops can be used on U.S. soil. Events following the incident at Kent State in the 1960s forced the issue of how the army can be used during civil discord. It was affirmed that they cannot arrest any U.S. citizen for any reason, that is the domain of local, state, and federal police forces. It should be noted, however, that there is absolutely no function which is the domain of Homeland Security that did not exist under some other authority prior to the events of 9/11. It did mean that such activities needed to be better defined and expanded, but not to the extent that has happened. Our troops, to included the Coast Guard, can be and should be used to assist in security our airports and seaports. In fact, an open military presence at such facilities would likely underscore the commitment of the U.S. Government to the protection of its people.
Democrats are calling for a huge reduction in the Department of Defense’s budget citing the reduction of forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Republicans seem to be complicit by the simple fact that they have not raised much of a fuss over proposed budget reductions. This is one, along with State, of the cabinet posts that neither needs reduction in personnel nor funding.
The Department of Veteran Affairs should be made a part of Defense. And with that, a compact needs to be struck such that anyone who has honorably served in our armed forces can expect lifetime care by the DoD. This would not only make the military a more attractive place to young men and women, but would also enable all disabled veterans to get a consistently high level of care they deserve. Understand, the VA would not go away but would become an active arm of DoD and find its funding there.
The federal government does need to redefine how its distributes funding among its various agencies to support the needs of the states. Republicans are fond of saying how American business is better suited to do certain things the government now does. And where the Department of Energy is concerned, save the regulatory portion, I could not agree more. I believe that all portions of research and development done by the DOE, as well as any number of other agencies, is better left to the private sector.
Every person in every state must realize that to reduce the size and cost of the federal government means individual states taking on those tasks. Health, welfare, housing, and many other programs now run by the fed will be taken over and funded by individual states. As an individual you have to come to terms with what that means and what it is going to look like. Personally, I am all for it.