Big government and central planning, in California and at the Federal level — with its emphasis on centralized bureaucracy and redistribution of wealth — is crushing liberty.
Centralized planning assumes that one can foresee the future. Take the year 1940. The business office of that year had carbon paper, manual typewriters, and rudimentary telephone system. (Remember the time when a person picked up a telephone receiver and an operator said, “Number, please?”. Who, in 1940, could have imagined the office of 2014? Today’s modern office has computers, e-mail, voice-mail, photocopy machines, hand-held calculators, and more. How could a government bureaucrat in 1940 have made plans for the office of 2014?
From the office to consumer items we see the same issue, even in textiles and clothing, the basic industries that drove the industrial revolution from its infancy. Russian bureaucrats who were in charge of five year industrial production plans between 1950-1970 thought for sure they knew what the people should have. Yet with all the power of central planning (SCIENCE!) Russia never managed to produce one pair of blue jeans. Why? They focused on government fiat not what people wanted.
In California, there are huge government bureaucracies that tell local officials how to handle such matters as housing, transportation, and taxation. Examples of insidious levels of central planning emanating from these bureaucracies are the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), the Metropolitan Transportation Council (MTC), and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG).
HCD is demanding that local communities in California develop a General Plan that dictates housing policies. For example, HCD has approved a plan calling for Orinda to accommodate 227 additional housing units for low-income people. But what happens if few or no people want to live in Orinda’s 227 units?
Why does California even need HCD? The problem of providing shelter for low-income people can be solved very easily. All government or private charity has to do is provide some cash to low-income people and let them decide where they want to live. Central planning will not solve problems but only create unintended consequences that taxpayers will pay for decades.
Liberalism is supposed to shield citizens from uncontrolled political, social, or economic power. But, instead of shielding citizens, liberalism itself, blinded by science, advocates central planning as the only reliable roadmap to implement the use of violative government power to achieve specified goals.
Look at President Barack Obama’s plans for a higher minimum wage, mandatory overtime for certain workers, and a health plan (the Affordable Care Act) that is causing hundreds of thousands of Americans to lose their existing health insurance. Why can’t local communities decide how to handle such matters as wages and health care?
Political power should and must be decentralized. Anyone interested in knowing why government directed central planning fails should read “The Road to Serfdom” by Friedrich von Hayek.
Currently, power exists at the local, state, and federal level.
If one’s local government becomes oppressive, then one can move to another city. If a state government become omnipotent, then one can move to another state. But if the federal government becomes too powerful, then one has to consider leaving the country — something that is hard to do — or suffer oppression.
In U.S., the greatest country on earth, maximal power should exist at the local level. Then, America will retain the freedoms it has always had. Moreover, America will remain a beacon of hope to those who want to escape the tyranny, religious persecution, and poverty that exists in much of the rest of the world.
Large concentrations of power directing central planning is inimical to liberty and is not responsive to the true needs and wants of the populous. Let’s keep America strong by putting maximal power at the local level.