Mike Huckabee: A Simple Government: Book Review. Chapter 2: The Further You Drift From Shore, The More Likely You are To Be Lost At Sea. (Wake Up And Look Around Rip Van Winkle.)

March 13, 2011 by
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In this chapter Huckabee explains his belief that local government is better able to take care of the concerns of its citizens as a opposed to distant governments be they county, state or Federal or World. The chapter is principally about the usurpation of power by the Federal Government. The Constitution is one of limited, enumerated powers to the Federal Government. The founders envisioned …quoting James Madison

“ The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with the last the power of taxation for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all objects which in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, prosperity and improvement of the State.”

This chapter is mostly a polemic against Federal power entering the everyday lives of the people. He gives some examples:

The Financial Crisis

The financial crisis involving mortgages was caused by the federal government restricting the States from regulating this activity. The States were in a better position to recognize abuses in lending and curtail them. (The recent financial crisis is thought by many to be a failure of the Federal Reserve to regulate lending and the Securities and Exchange Commission to curtail the issuance and sale of worthless bonds. It is doubtful one State or many States were a position to curtail the causes by themselves. It was a failure of the Federal government to act that was the ultimate cause.)

Public Employee Unions

Public employee unions and in particular the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) are too powerful They can dictate policy to elected officials reluctant to confront them on issues that they back, like who gets hired, fired and what benefits and salary they are paid. Unionized public employees cost about 30% more in wages and 70% more in benefits than those who are not in unions. This makes the States more reliant on Federal funds to meet their budgets. Thus a degree of power has been ceded by local governments to the Federal Government and Unions on issues that are purely local matters. As it stands now many  Satate Governments can’t balance their budgets as they are required to do by law and the Federal government is running steep deficits. Public unions backed by Federal laws are weakening the ability of the States to govern themselves and in some cases bankrupting the States.

The BP Oil Spill

The Federal Government restricted the counties and States from limiting the damage done by the oil spill and it was slow to act. ( The spill was in Federal waters and affected many states so it was properly in the jurisdiction of the Federal Government. BP was responsible for the spill and clean up. The States and counties were not stopped in their cleanup efforts. Huckabee is not on solid ground in his criticism here.)

The Five Levels Of Government

The five levels of government according to Huckabee are family, local, State, Federal and World. Families should have the most control over their affairs and World bodies should have the least control over the family and concern itself with relationships between nations. ( Huckabee again has oversimplified the World we live in and quotes an authority, James Madison, from two hundred years ago who was not faced with internal and international terrorism, international drug cartels, illegal immigration, vast corporate farming enterprises, international unions and giant international companies among other things that call for a united effort by the Federal government. It was fine to envision things the way Madison did when the majority of the public was made up of two and a half million, small, self sustaining farmers. However since then the population has grown to over 300 million people, 95% of whom have moved off the farm into technical and scientifis jobs located in cities and towns. Great change requires laws and regulation promulgated on a Federal level. The rights of States are more than protected in the Senate. Therefore it is the States representatives in the Senate acting in the interests of the States who are greatly responsible for the things he complains about that they saw as necessary in a country developing from and agricultural to an industrial to now a scientific and digital economy. Huckabee should have taken the time to think things through before he published this book that was probably written by assistants. If anyone is lost it is him.)



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