| October 8, 2013
Oklahoma must plan for reduced federal funding
Whatever one thinks of the current partial-government shutdown, conservatives in Washington should be applauded for trying to protect Americans from Obamacare. As Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal put it, “Obamacare is bad for the country. We would like to see it repealed and replaced, not to score political points, but to save our nation’s health care from higher costs and lesser care. We appreciate all the Republicans in Washington fighting to do just that.” Gov. Jindal is chairman of the Republican Governors Association, which has declined to denounce the shutdown.
The current shutdown serves as one more reminder that Oklahoma House Speaker T. W. Shannon was wise to try to plan for scenarios in which state agencies lose federal funding. Unfortunately, Speaker Shannon’s efforts were not successful. Now our state government is put in the position of having to react, as journalist Patrick McGuigan points out, “rather than to act after forethought and preparation.”
There is an important lesson to be learned from the partial shutdown of the federal government. State policymakers need to work diligently to become as independent from the federal government as possible, refusing the bait of “free” money and instead implementing policies that allow entrepreneurs to create private-sector jobs — jobs that aren’t reliant on federal-government spending. As the Mercatus Center put it in an excellent new report released last week: “Remember that federal aid comes with strings attached and that increased federal grants will eventually result in larger government programs and higher state taxes.”