Toward Federal Decentralization: A Long Term Plan for the GOP

Decades ago the leadership of the Republican Party began to succumb to Hyper-Federalism — the centralization of regulation, taxation, and sheer power in the Federal government. This gradual change crept up first on the Democrat Party and then the GOP. These shifts were so subtle and gradual that the Generally Dumb Public (GDP) hardly noticed. The end result has been the diminution and subservience of the State governments to the Federal government, gross over-taxation, and over-regulation.  The Republican leadership of the early 1960s would hardly recognize the form of government that has emerged in the early 21st Century. Vast Federal bureaucracies now lord over nearly every aspect of our lives. And the GOP leadership came to embrace a socialist, statist, corporatist, and hyper-Federalist outlook that is now to well to the left of where the Democrat Party once stood!  (If John F. Kennedy were alive today, he would be categorized as an “ultraconservative.”) It may sound hard to believe, but it is the Republican Party leadership that is now dragging its feet on removing Federal socialized medicine program. This is the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.

I propose that a new wing of the Republican Party be formed: The Decentralist Wing.  As it is currently operating, the GOP is no longer a meaningful alternative to the Democrat Party. Rather, it is just another statist/socialist party, and simply in less of a hurry to reach socialist goals. What is needed is a distinctively new wing of the Republican Party, to get the party back on track. If it is launched and becomes popular, then a new Decentralist Wing has a good chance of returning the GOP to its traditional principles.

The U.S. Constitution only mentions the need for a Postal Service, a Patent Office, and a Department of War.  We need to move back in the direction of that simplicity. Most other functions can be handled at the state level. I suggest that the Decentralist Wing set forth a long term plan to gradually decentralize the Federal government. This plan would have two key goals: Putting some teeth back in the 10th Amendment, and making the United States a less vulnerable target for foreign nation states and terrorists. (Presently, so many government functions are physically centralized in the District of Columbia and the surrounding Beltway, that if it were struck by a Nuclear, Biological, or Chemical attack, it would paralyze our nation.)

The 62 agencies and programs Trump said that he wants to eliminate are a good start, but we should be more thorough in rooting out the over-governing and socialist feel good programs.

Decentralist Objectives

The objectives of decentralization would include, but not be limited to:

  1. Vastly reducing taxation and regulation.
  2. Restoring fiscal balance and sound money.
  3. Repealing 17th Amendment (direct election of senators), restoring the Senate’s traditional role of representing the States.
  4. Restoring the traditional role of government employees as public servants rather than our masters.
  5. Moving most regulation from the Federal level to the State and Local levels.
  6. De-elevating most of the cabinet-level Federal agencies.
  7. Gradually privatizing Social Security.
  8. Moving all welfare and relief functions to the State and local level.
  9. Moving Federal student loan functions to the State level.
  10. Disbanding the BATF and repealing both NFA-’34 and GCA-’68.
  11. Zeroing the Federal budget for supporting the arts.
  12. Eliminating the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
  13. Eliminating FEMA.
  14. Eliminating the Small Business Administration (SBA).
  15. Eliminating the Commerce Department, just as Newt Gingrich suggested, twice.
  16. Eliminating the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
  17. Eliminating the Labor Department.
  18. Eliminating the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS).
  19. Eliminating the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
  20. Eliminating the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
  21. Eliminating the Agriculture Department, pushing any crucial functions down to the State level.
  22. Greatly reducing the size of the FBI and restoring its jurisdictional role strictly to interstate crimes.
  23. Moving EPA regulations to the state level, and the eliminating the USEPA.
  24. Moving Department of Education function to the state level, and then completely eliminating the Federal Department of Education.
  25. Moving Department of Transportation regulations to the state level, and then de-ranking the Federal Department of Transportation into a mere commission.
  26. Eliminating Amtrak. (Railroads should have never become a public works project.)
  27. Moving most FDA regulations to the state level, and then de-ranking the FDA into a mere commission.
  28. Ending corporate welfare. (In much the same way that the Democrat Party became too close to the trade unions, the Republican Party became too close to mega corporations and the bankers.)
  29. Re-organizing the military, putting the majority of the current Active Army Divisions and Air Force Air Wings under the National Guard bureaus. Eventually the Army would have 24 Divisions, 26 Independent Brigades, and 10 Independent Regiments, but with majority under the National Guard.
  30. Privatizing the current airport security functions of the TSA, and then completely disbanding the TSA.
  31. Folding most the U.S. Naval Reserve, Air Force Reserve, and Army Reserve into National Guard force structures.
  32. Turning the majority of the current Federal active military military members into National Guard training cadre.
  33. We are clearly now living in the age of 4th Generation warfare. Therefore, it is apropos to expand the U.S. Special Forces to 10 full Groups, but with eight of those manned by National Guard troops. The USSF’s primary mission would be domestic resistance warfare training for the citizenry, as a deterrent to invasion. In parallel, the role of the  Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) would be expanded, and the majority of small arms now kept in war reserves would be sold to civilian shooters.
  34. Putting all of the Brown Water (littoral) Navy and Army transport vessels under the National Guard bureaus.
  35. Gradually converting the U.S. Navy to more stealthy surface ships and to a higher ratio of submersibles. Nearly half of these ships would be operated by National Guard bureaus.
  36. Gradually converting the U.S. Air Force to more stealthy aircraft with a higher ratio of remotely-piloted aircraft. More than half of these planes and drones would be operated by National Guard bureaus. Nearly all of the remote UAV pilots would be part-time National Guard officers.
  37. Abolishing the Federal Reserve, making printing currency a function of state chartered banks.
  38. Gradually increasing the gold and silver backing of our currency, to the point where by 2050, our currency would again be redeemable on demand in specie by any citizens living in the States and U.S. territories.
  39. Physically decentralizing the Federal government away from the District of Columbia.  This could be accomplished by dispersing federal agency headquarters throughout the States and through extensive use of secure (encrypted) teleconferencing. Thus, the District of Columbia would become more of a symbolic seat of government, and better known for its museums and memorials.
  40. Eventually eliminating the Federal personal income tax.


Reaching The Goal

There is an instructive recent precedent for this movement. The Tea Party began as a grassroots movement, and until it was co-opted, it had considerable success. We can learn from both their mistakes and their achievements. This new movement within the GOP will have more clearly defined objectives and therefore should be even more successful, and have better longevity. Creating a viable Decentralist Wing of the GOP must start at the grassroots. That means starting at the precinct level.  If you are presently a precinct chairman or central committee member then I recommend that you begin to organize, informally.

Get involved. You can be part of a quite noble and badly needed reform within the GOP. I recommend that you start a movement first within your own precinct, and then spread it far and wide.  Form a “committee within a committee” of like-minded folks. Work up a Decentralist Objectives list. Then seek out candidates who agree with that stance. Get then to commit to those objectives, in writing.

I also recommend that you Ignore the “11th Commandment” that was suggested by Ronald Reagan before he became U.S. President. That was: “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican”. The time for “playing nice” in party politics is over.  If you are confronting a socialist or “centerist” Republican In Name Only (RINO), then call them out!  Making concessions or accommodations to statists only results in them winning, in the long term  Nay, boot them out, and start fresh!  – JWR

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  1. I’m a Canadian and surprisingly a list of Gov’t ministries and departments that I wrote up as and exercise in good gov’t is very close to yours. One thing I would stress is that your # 1 be amended to read “retain taxation until such time as the National debt has been paid off. That in turn would aid in your #2. We were saddled with the GST ( goods and services tax) in 1985 that was supposed to pay off our National Debt by 2005. But as expected the money was squandered by successive gov’ts looking to buy elections. At least we can trust our politicians to be true to form and not achieve a damn thing in regards to the Debt or anything else. Cheers

    1. “until such time as the National debt has been paid off”

      can’t be done. the fiat debt dollar system is a pyramid scheme, designed such that the debt is permanent and permanently increasing. the intention is total foreclosure by the debt holders on everything. the only alternative is a jubilee/revolution, to which the debt holders and their lackeys will never consent except at the point of a gun.

    2. “retain taxation until such time as the National debt has been paid off” is a noble goal, but I’m afraid that the debt can never be paid off unlless President Trump has some secret plan to do so. (Which he well MIGHT.) But failing that, there will be a big reset. One of the many things that I am prepping for.

  2. If we transfer the Armor and Mechanized Infantry Brigades to the National Guard, we’ll need to change the way they do monthly and annual drills. You can’t get enough field experience in a weekend, or do an NTC rotation in two weeks. Without a change, we would lose the performance edge that we gained in the 80s and 90s at NTC.

    As for some of the civilian agencies. Regulation of Interstate Commerce is specifically enumerated in the Constitution, so why cut the DoC? FEMA would return to the DoD as the Civil Defense Office.

    Decentralization of the remaining Federal Government is a good idea. The Denver Federal Center was built during WWII as an alternate Seat of Government in case the Germans attacked the East Coast. Each major Department has offices there. We should expand the concept and move more Bureaus and Agencies to more regional centers.

    With the recent Russia-China military exercises, we need to re-energize the identification and stocking of Civil Defense Fallout Shelters, as well as train the willing to understand Fallout Prediction, Field Expedient Shelters, and fallout radiation decay.

    1. They are already a significant portion of the National Guard. After Goldwater-Nichols many were moved to the ARNG. In fact, of the 45 total combat BDEs currently operational, 27 are Guard units. There are also 8 ARTY BDEs in the ARNG. At one time in the 1990s, the 218th (Heavy) MECH IN BDE in SC was the most lethal unit on the planet (nuke arty if I’m not mistaken). Go Strom!

  3. It is obvious you have put a lot of thought into your 40 Decentralist objectives. They are all admirable. Not one of them has a chance of happening unless we end massive immigration, end anchor babies, end chain migration, end our fraud-ridden visa programs, enact E verify and an entry-exit visa program. So long as state after state turns open border globalist blue via massive immigration nothing you claim to care about will come to pass. Unless we all make an immigration moratorium our main objective the massive alliance of groups in favor of endless immigration and open borders will turn us all into a place EXTREMELY centralized in order to keep the peace among a tribal balkanized dysfunctional country split into many parts.

  4. Governments tend to become organisms that want to grow. With growth comes both power and promotion of the middle managers. Expecting a federal government to both recognize its bloated condition and willingly reduce itself is not realistic.

    I suggest the energy proposed here would be better applied to the Convention of States Project. We need amendments to the Constitution that absolutely prohibit federal government action in roles that are better handled by the states.

  5. Your goal with respect to the FBI does not go far enough. There is no provision within the Constitution for federal law enforcement – that was considered a domestic issue by the founders and left to the states. Take the FBI back to the days prior to Prohibition and J. Edgar – at that time they were an unarmed liaison agency that helped states coordinate with each other to solve crimes involving more than one state. J. Edgar used Prohibition and mob ascendancy to grab all the power he could, arm the FBI, and establish primacy over the states. It never reverted after Prohibition and it needs to if we are to decentralize.

  6. “the leadership of the Republican Party began to succumb to Hyper-Federalism”

    well in point of fact the general public supported this transition every step of the way.

  7. The sentiment is admirable but seems more appropriate to a country of 31 million instead of one 10 times that. The ingredients are already baked into the cake, as it were, and as in the kitchen, trying to take it apart will create a real mess. There are 2 things which I would like to see now which would go a long way to changing mindsets before any other changes can be made,

    Reinstate the draft. Everybody serves in some fashion. Men and women alike. There is always something to do. If you have no skin in the game you don’t deserve any benefits. If you don’t serve you don’t vote. Period.

    Eliminate automatic citizenship to children of illegal aliens. If your parents are not American citizens neither are you. No benefits whatsoever. With one caveat, of course. Do not change the policy of hospitals to accept emergency patients to anyone at this time till a more comprehensive health care plan is devised. Epidemics and pandemics can start in anyone. We don’t want illegals to avoid hospitals because one of them may be patient number one in such a situation and we must know it as soon as possible. And we’ll need to talk to people and keep them talking to us. Local cops don’t need to be immigration agents, either, at this time. For the same reason. We can sort that out later.

    Because of my interest in health and nutrition it is imperative we keep the CDC so put it someplace else if you eliminate the whole department, please.

    1. Please do not reinstitute the draft. I’m a serving Army Reserve Soldier, and I have enough issues with Soldiers who actually volunteered to serve. We can maintain an all volunteer professional military without the need for conscription. As to folding the Reserve into the Guard, the Reserve is primarily composed of Combat Support and Service Support forces. When it is necessary to deploy forces, these are what are needed first to support force projection and sustainment. Leaving these as a federal reserve force would allow states to retain their Guard forces longer before having to deploy those OCONUS.

      I’d also recommend eliminating the VA as a cabinet level organization and moving its function under DOD and close most VA hospitals, except for a few to specifically deal with combat trauma. Outsource VA medical care to the private sector ala Tricare.

    2. “Reinstate the draft. Everybody serves in some fashion. Men and women alike. There is always something to do. If you have no skin in the game you don’t deserve any benefits. If you don’t serve you don’t vote. Period.”

      Sorry, the draft, conscription, is slavery. Period. The good old uSA has never had a problem getting volunteers for a “just” war. As for benefits, these need to be phased out over time anyway. As for the CDC, they have a spotty record, at best. The internal corruption is just an obscenity that needs to be stopped. I’d be more agreeable to it becoming a commission that coordinates with the appropriate agencies at the State level.

  8. Moving #10 to the top plows the road for the rest.
    I really like my alcohol and tobacco 😉
    JWR I realize the painting at the top is probably some classic portrait but that dragon needs to be a lot bigger.

  9. I don’t think that what is proposed has ever happened in world history?

    Has an empire ever decentralized or dissolved itself while things were going well?

    I admire the author’s optimism, faith, and enthusiasm, is it possible to reverse the fate of empires?

    The U.S. began as a constitutional republic [pre-1860] changed into an empire, which went global after taking the territories of Spain [1898] and into Pax Americana [1945] after WWII.

    Pax Americana is nearing the end of it’s life cycle and the big question is how will things transition.

    Will it be like Rome, Spain, Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, etc…

    It is important to keep this list handy, as well as the original U.S. Constitution, when new smaller countries are formed, provided we survive the time leading up to that event.

    I like the concept of Switzerland, but that is a landlocked homogeneous country and it might not work in other places.

    It is really hard to imagine a world beyond Pax Americana, but it is something we must do, if we can’t change the current trend.

    The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival, Blackwood (Edinburgh), 1978.

    1. “it is really hard to imagine a world beyond pax americana”

      no it’s not. imagine hordes of barbarians screaming and waving spears at each other. forever. there you go.

  10. I’ve been actively working on this for many years. I’ve seen candidate after candidate get defeated. The public school indoctrinated public doesn’t know their rights or that they’ve been gutted and vastly undermined. I don’t see a lot of hope for our country. I see a glimmer of hope every once in a while of people who sort of get it, but most don’t have any clue and don’t care to.

  11. “… and don’t care to.”

    or … maybe they DO get it, and realize that their constitutional rights would apply to … well, to Everybody, including a fair number who never could be tolerated as full and equal citizens … so they actively concur with limitations on rights.

  12. I like this a lot. Of course it will never happen. Most Americans like a lot of government. They like trying to run other people’s lives. Don’t believe me, how many on here are for full drug legalization? So you think you have the right to tell people what they can or cannot put in their body. Not very far from that to thinking the government can run the rest of your life.

    Worse, I believe that urban living makes increases this tendency. Probably the natural result of cramming that many people into too small of a place. Too many people acting poorly, so “there ought to be a law about that”

  13. These problems would all work themselves out if the fed had no control of public schools and universities (AKA political indoctrination camps) and control was given back to the local government. Liberal “educators” are the root of every problem we have. And also….immigration and refugees should only be allowed in this country if they can support themselves without the taxpayer dole.

  14. You present an opinion so there is no right or wrong. What you propose could work for an agrarian economy of 150 years ago. There are all kinds of 2nd, 3rd, 4th,… effects that I doubt you have considered that would be bad for the people, the economy, and business. I’ll give you a couple. California is about 1/8th of GDP. They are big enough that they could influence if not set many standards for the rest of the country. If they set cancer causing chemicals allowed in food real low manufactures might design for the California market and sell the same product across the country. At least some to many other states will adopt California’s standards because they won’t have the funds to make their own.
    For business It can be expensive to make different products for different markets and no one wants to design for 50 different states. Or ponder the low population state that doesn’t have the funds to do much of anything. Let’s say they share your ideology and they don’t set any standards or standards written by business interests. The food supply may give people cancer, the air may not be fit to breath, etc.

    1. “what you propose could work for an agrarian economy of 150 years ago.”

      actually, it would work for any polity of culturally unified citizens – which is why the “deep state” works so hard to undermine any thought or reality of a polity of culturally unified citizens. it doesn’t work for a conglomeration of disparate cattle tribes with “rights” – which is why the “deep state” pushes exactly this so hard.

  15. With the Air Force, I’d keep a few stealth/high performance squadrons, but back that up with a much larger force of inexpensive fighters. The F20 was a F5 with upgraded engine, and had the performance of the F16 at 75% of the cost. Use the F22’s to punch the holes and use the F20’s to mop up. UAV’s put too much reliance on tech, and while they are useful, they can be taken down or hijacked.

    We should learn from our mistakes in Iraq. The force went in woefully undermanned. Much of this came from defense contractors telling us that this one gun will outperform an entire WWII artillery battery. There is no possible way that one gun can do that! It doesn’t matter how accurate the new gun is, it matters how much ordinance you can put downrange in the shortest amount of time. 50 states 50 divisions! Everyone serves a minimum 6 year Guard enlistment.

    The US Treasury should handle all printing of money, not the states. And congress needs to do it’s duty, not the Federal Reserve.

  16. I agree with JWR on almost everything he is saying. The problem is with the National Guard. That is a select militia, part of the military, and making for a LARGE standing army. There will needs be constitutional amendments to back all this up, including one divesting the USG of direct control of the National Guard and giving it back to The States as the State Militia controlled by the States, except in time of an actual war where the homeland is being directly attacked.

    Of course, all this requires winding down the US empire. The NeoCons and the Dimms are going to put up a mighty struggle to keep all their perks and their power.

    What the heck, go for it. What do we have to loose?

    1. Charles, what you have to lose is the next war. National Guard units totally under State control will drift in 50 different directions, be equipped with 50 different weapons, and without the availability for Brigade level graduation exercises at Ft Irwin’s National Training Center, will be at 50 different readiness levels.

      And of course, losing the next war will cost more American lives.

  17. A simple fix to some of our problems is the idea of eliminating pensions for all elected officials. In keeping with your comment about public servants, they go and serve and then return to the private sector. Besides they get rich on all the side deals they make while in office.

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