Federalizing Everything?

Pittsburgh expects and laments that it will receive only a one-third Federal government reimbursement of the cost of snow removal incurred during the recent siege of winter weather.

One must ask. What is the purpose of municipal government? Keeping the streets open and usable for residents would certainly seem to be one of local government’s core functions, whether performed by City employees or contracted out to private service providers. But these days, it appears both the Feds and the local government have come to the belief that this function is partly the responsibility of the Federal government.

Not too surprising in view of the encroachment of the Federal government into every aspect of our existence. One would hope the Federal government would be as concerned about its core functions such as protecting and defending our borders from illegal immigration. But amazingly, that is now controversial. What is not shocking is that local officials are always willing to get in line for "free" money.

And that is the insidious part of the equation. When local and state officials begin to depend on Federal dollars to pay for increasing number of services and for reimbursement of unforeseen expenditures, it induces them to spend more than they otherwise would on items not yet subsidized. So a dangerous unintended consequence of Federal largesse is the diminution of fiscal responsibility in local governments. This, in turn, leads to more dependence and more loss of local responsibility. Not what the Founders envisioned nor a path designed to maintaining the liberty most Americans say they want and expect.