How to Make Government Work Again

lavarr policy insightsFor some time now, I’ve been promoting how I think we need to restore trust in government and deal with the big problems facing America.

The answer is to elevate states and local governments in the federal system, and allow them to solve problems rather than grow programs and deficits at the federal level.

Whether it’s Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in the White House, dysfunction and gridlock in Washington isn’t going to end. In fact, turmoil is likely to increase. I’m afraid both of them see every problem as an opportunity for bigger federal programs. But the federal government isn’t going to solve our problems; it’s going to make them worse.

Those angry grassroots voters that have propelled the campaigns of Trump and Bernie Sanders are likely to be greatly disappointed by a Clinton or Trump presidency. The infatuation with Trump will end rather quickly when he can’t fulfill his big promises.

Americans are mad at government, especially the federal government, and the answer isn’t more federal government.

Politicians have led on voters with promises to take care of them from cradle to grave, and the reality is the federal government just can’t deliver. When problems get worse, the solution is always, let’s spend more money, make the program bigger.

Meanwhile, state and local governments, especially in Utah, function reasonably well. I wish we had a presidential candidate whose main platform was to denationalize American politics, move most programs – and funding – to state and local levels. Let the federal government be lean and mean, focus on its constitutional roles, and be successful once again.

This isn’t about ideology or political party. It’s about what works. It’s about problem-solving and good governance. The reason our presidents all fail is they are trying to do too much. One-size-fits-all programs can’t possibly work for 300 million diverse American.

There are ways to reverse the centralization of power and money in Washington. I’ll write about it in a future column.

I was pleased to see Jonah Goldberg take up this theme in aNational Review column. We must rebuild the country from the local level up, rather than the national level down. We need balanced federalism, intelligent devolution.

Dems fundraise off Trump. Utah Democrats are already trying to capitalize on Trump in fundraising pitches, saying his nomination will help elect Democrats in Utah — so give money now! The Utah House Democratic Leadership Council sent out a fundraising email message, and Jim Dabakis is pleading for money with the same message. My guess is Utahns will separate local Republican candidates from their national standard-bearer.

Quote of the Day. “Donald Trump is not very popular in Utah. I mean I’m not going to predict that we’ll win Utah, but…”

–Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democratic National Committee chair in Buzzfeed News.

Another quote of the day. “Trump has a better chance of cameoing in another ‘Home Alone’ movie with Macaulay Culkin — or playing in the NBA Finals — than winning the Republican nomination.”

–One of the nine worst predictions about Trump’s rise to the top. See the other eight at