What Federal and State Governments Should and Should Not Spend Money On
by Griping Grandpa
Senator Rand Paul recently spoke out against so-called Sanctuary Cities, like San Francisco, that refuse to comply with Federal laws on illegal immigration. He proposed to withhold federal aid to these cities to help enforce compliance.
While on the one hand I sympathize with Senator Paul’s views, on the other hand I disapprove of such coercive means. However, I mention this incident because it raised another question in my mind, “Should ANY city be receiving federal funding at all?”
The Constitution’s 14th Amendment instructs, “… nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” While this does not exactly promise “equal justice for all,” it is an ideal to strive for.
Equal justice for all means that no person or group should be singled out to be rewarded in any way, other than what they are owed. The reason for that is simple: If the government rewards someone with public funds, it can only do so by taking it away from others.
There is a story about Davy Crockett, of Alamo fame, who also served as a Congressman in the 1800’s. During his first term, some homes burned down in Georgetown. Congress, with Crockett’s support, approved funds to help the victims of the fire rebuild their homes.
Later, when campaigning for re-election, a constituent rebuked him for voting in favor of financial aid to the fire victims, because by doing so he was taking money from others whose need was even greater. Crockett realized the man was right and, after he was re-elected, when financial aid to the widow of a deceased officer was proposed, he voted against the measure, while offering to contribute a week’s pay of his own money to help her. He made an impassioned speech about the issue and the measure was defeated as a result. No other member of Congress offered any of their own money.
Of course the federal government needs money to operate at all and do its job, such as protecting our borders and maintaining friendly relations with other countries. But it should not engage in bail-outs, hand-outs, foreign aid, or subsidies. Those things are unfair and a burden on those who are not the immediate beneficiaries. Similar rules should apply to state, county and city governments.
These principles are things to keep in mind when voting on propositions in the future. If we demand impartiality and vote down any measure that would favor one group or individual at the expense of others, who knows, we might even reduce the national debt!