Yes, I understand the current political climate requires town finance managers to beg for money from the state, and state leaders must beg for money from the federal government, but can we agree this is a problem? Actually, it’s incrementally grown from a small issue to what any well-informed TEA Party member would refer to as the problem.
The issue with federal grant money is that someone, somewhere, always feels left out or screwed. Take for example, Rick Green’s statement in the Hartford Courant concerning a $100 million competitive grant delivered to Ohio State University instead of the University of Connecticut’s John Dempsey Hospital in Farmington. My emphasis in bold.
Add this to the loss of both federal Race to the Top and high-speed railroad money, and it’s clear that Gov.-Elect Dan Malloy must do a better job at winning Washington cash for the state.
Green feels Connecticut was screwed, mentioning the establishment of the grant was written by Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) – actually tailored by Dodd – exclusively in UConn’s favor. I’ll go out on a limb and suggest Green really thinks Connecticut deserves the $100 million more than Ohio does, and I bet I could find a writer or two in Ohio who thinks their university system deserved the cash. Another symptom of the disease.
That’s the problem with earmarks, federal grants or any other type of federal funding that does not support the general national welfare. Someone, somewhere, will always feel screwed.
This again leads us to Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution, which has been completely disregarded by Congress – supported by Supreme Court inaction – for more than six decades. Maybe one of the tests Congress should require prior to spending millions or billions on projects like this would be to ask if someone, somewhere, feels they got the shaft and lost out? Did someone else “win?”
All federal funding and spending should be in support of the national general welfare. Programs and projects must support every state in the union, or at least a wide region of the country. My position comes with the understanding that if a state’s population wants a local program or project to move forward – like improving John Dempsey Hospital, buying a new fire truck, or installation of new street signs – residents must be willing to come up with the funding on their own.
Smaller federal government and lower federal taxes comes with a cost, higher taxes at the local and state level to support projects state residents want to fund. I’m fine with that, and I think TEA Party members would be cool with that as well, with the clear understanding the federal government would be a much smaller shell of its previous self.