Friday, August 05, 2011

FYI, Mr. Wilson

Check out the last panel.

Dennis the Menace, the cartoon strip, has been around since 1950 so I estimate Mr. Wilson to be approximately 120 years old now. There is statistical evidence that older citizens are more aware and engaged in public policy and political affairs, so I would have expected Mr. Wilson to not make the error of writing to his Congressman.

In the United States, minimum legal ages for driving are mandated by individual states, not the federal government. If at all, Mr. Wilson's letter should be directed to his representative in the state legislature, not Congress.

Too much power invested in distant, central government is bad. But when citizens attribute power that it does not really have to central governments, it is scary.

In the wake of the long-running debate over the debt ceiling, Americans have been wringing their hands about their government which cannot agree about something so important, and worry how the country will run properly.  My question is, which government? The error in their fears, and the silver lining to the situation, is that America is thankfully not (yet) run by Congress and the President.  The county has a fascinatingly decentralized and autonomous system of governance.  Community governments are not answerable to state governments, and state governments are not answerable to the federal government (as long as they are breaking no laws).

Granted, the federal government does have the authority to make some choices that have a profound impact on the nation (defense, interest rates, federal taxes), but America functions on a day-to-day basis on the backs of  local governments.  FYI, Mr. Wilson.

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