| August 29, 2012

Video: "We've got to get back to the notion that we take care of what's in our own backyard"

Heritage Foundation and OCPA fellow Matt Mayer is an unabashed proponent of federalism -- and that's not necessarily because he agrees with his governor's every idea. In fact, right now, he's irked by Ohio Gov. John Kasich's proposal to increase a severance tax on oil and gas producers. Such a punishing tax, Mayer insists, does nothing to make energy-rich Ohio competitive.

Still, Mayer advocates for federalism for the simple reason that federalism works. It doesn't work primarily in the sense that all states always adopt sensible policies. Governors, state legislators and state regulators are closer and more accountable to the people and problems they govern, but they're not immune to the hunger for power or to lapses in judgment. Instead, federalism works primarily in the sense that it allows for competition among the states -- and the outcome of that competition (the natural migration of entrepreneurial activity to states that welcome it) proves which economic policies are effective and which aren't.

Unfortunately, as Mayer observes in the below video interview, state government officials and citizens alike have become progressively less jealous of their own authority, progressively more willing to cede power to federal officials promising free lunches (of which there ain't no such thing!).

"We've got to get back to the notion that we take care of what's in our own backyard and then our own neighborhood and then our own city and community and then our state and not worry so much about Washington -- but we have to worry about Washington because they keep taking more and more power from us," Mayer says.

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