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Thursday, October 14, 2004

Interesting Take on Government's Role

I was flipping through my copy of Governing magazine (I get it because I'm a darn important cog in the Big Machine that is our government, don't you know?!?) and I read this article.

Some interesting things here about how Kerry and Bush envision government, including:

Bush has steadily been ramping up his push for “the ownership society.” Much of
government today, he argues, treats individual citizens like this: “We’ll give
you the orders and you pay the bills.” Instead, he says, “government ought to be
empowering people by giving them more control over their lives.”
ownership society means a simpler, flatter tax code, incentives for people to
buy their own health insurance, and personal savings accounts to replace part of
Social Security. As Bush told one audience, his policies are “all aimed at
encouraging people to help themselves and eventually being able to own


Bush is seeking to transform the “reformer with results” theme he used in the
2000 campaign into a generation-long vision for a very different — and smaller —
government. If he succeeds even in part, he will go a long way toward fulfilling
the dreams of conservatives who have labored for a generation to dismantle the
welfare state.
For state and local governments, this means stronger
performance requirements in education, block grants for Medicaid, and more
vouchers rather than categorical assistance for housing. It means pushing state
and local governments to the role of junior partners in the federal


The emerging Bush domestic strategy is the first one since the Hoover
administration that does not envision a major role for state and local
governments. Kerry, on the other hand, sees reestablishment of federal funding
across an even broader array of fronts as the key to the “new direction” that he
says must replace Bush’s “policies of failure.” It’s impossible to miss the
paradox of the former governor shrinking the role of the states while the U.S.
senator seeks to increase it.

As someone who has differences with the President on the Medicare Drug Benefit and some of the No Child Left Behind act, as well as his immigration/border/worker-visa policy, I take some comfort in the view of Donald Kettl's article.

And, in case I haven't chanted it in your presence: "Four more years!"


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