I realize that our current government is very likely past the point of saving. (Bring on the bankruptcy! And sooner rather than later.) But if we were going to design a federal government for this country, what should it look like?
I think Ayn Rand was right in stating that the three tasks of government should be protecting citizens from outsiders, protecting citizens from each other, and having a judical system to resolve disputes.
That means the government should have police, armed forces, and a court system.
It seems to me that the original purpose of the United States was to have a collection of states that did their own thing, but had free trade with each other, and supported each other in times of war. This is opposed to what we have now with the central government dictating many rules and regulations that everyone must follow, or else. Instead of having 50 experiments we have only one. In many areas states are not allowed to try to improve things.
This is one thing that annoys me about the left. Some will complain that it is not "fair" to take risks in being different in each state, without realizing that federal laws are just as much of a risky experiment, even if it is only one at a time.
Anyway, I would argue that of the three functions of government the federal government need only to deal with the armed forced and court system. Who better to attempt to protect people from each other than the governments that are nearby?
What are some other things that a federal government should do?
A legislative branch? I can see the need to have representatives from each state coming together in order to decided war must be declared against some other country. But what else would they be needed to do? If a state is attacked then couldn't a president declare war? Perhaps with a majority of votes from the states governors? Maybe we should skip the legislature and give their one(?) duty to the states' governors.
Boarder security? International boarders coincide with state boarders too. Why not let boarder states take care of their security they way that they want? This may not be "fair" to leave this problem to individual states, who will incur increased expenses. But why not ask the citizens of Arizona what they think of the federal government's "help" on the issue? If I were a boarder state, I'd rather need to pay more but do things they way I want, then pay less and have to ask someone else to do things in a way that I don't want.
Why do we have residency requirements for states and for the country? Why not say that a resident of any state is a resident of the country? Is the redundancy nessesary?
Foreign relations? We have embassies in most of the world's countries, and vice versa. What do they do? I can understand helping travelers return home. But is that worth the cost of paying someone, and his family, and chefs, and housekeepers, and security, and chauffeurs, and a house, etc. to stay in a foreign country? Should a country even be responsible for citizens who choose to leave the country?
What does the federal government do, foreign relation wise, that the states cannot do themselves?
I wonder about all of the embassies in Washington D.C. What do all the ambassadors do all day? (Besides accumulate parking tickets?) The ratio of ambassadors to the Secretary of State and deputy Secretary of State has got to be around 170 to 2. Does each Secretary of State even meet with each country's ambassador, even once every term?
Being an ambassador does sound like a fun job to have. It sounds like you get paid to live in a foreign country at no expense to you.
Can any of you commenters think of something that the federal government should do that each state cannot?
This would leave us with a much smaller government, which would require much less in taxes. This could be good for those of you liberals, because it should be much easier to get all of the politicians in your state to agree on how to spend things, than it is to convince the politicians from all around the country to agree with you. Lower taxes and fewer jobs being done by the federal government would give you much more freedom to increase your local taxes and you'd have an argument to expand your government in your own state.
I hear that many in some states, like New York, pay more than 50% of their income in combined taxes to their state and the federal government. Even you liberals should agree that only so much can be realistically taxes from someone. Wouldn't you rather have more of those tax dollars go to your more local government, where your individual voice can make more of a difference in directing where those tax dollars go?
An example for those of you liberals who disagree with my thinking in this post:
Which is more likely:
1) Gay marriage becoming legalized in some states (as has happened already)
2) Convincing a majority of politicians from around the country to vote for gay marriage