Walz proposes more federal involvement?

The leaders of our local governments have a responsibility to do the very best they can for citizens and taxpayers. So when Congressman Tim Walz sends out his staff to ask how the federal government might be able to help them, our leaders rightly respond with their “wish lists.” Such was the case this week in Fairmont.

Among other things, the discussion focused on child care, public infrastructure, substance abuse, housing, high-speed internet, health care, workforce training, and the arts and culture. All of these topics are addressed in a small town vitality bill Walz is sponsoring.

It’s understandable that there is a desire to address perceived problems. But in a broader sense, we cannot help but see something of a disconnect from reality in what Walz wants to do. First and foremost is the question of the federal government’s reach. How much should it do, and how much can it do? Is it even effective when it tries to help?

The record shows that the federal government has tried to be everything to everyone. Tens of trillions of dollars have been thrown at issues. The national debt is now staggering. Walz proposes to send out federal funds to local governments. Does anyone think that perhaps it would be wise to ask whether the federal government should first take a step back and get its own financial house in order?

We also know that some of the problems identified in the small town vitality bill could be addressed through regulatory reforms, simple incentives, and more freedom for businesses and individuals. And, dare we suggest, some would work themselves out, even if not satisfactorily to those who dream of unattainable utopias.