Bestselling Author, Senator James Buckley Discusses The Keys To Safeguarding Federalism
Six years ago, Senator James L. Buckley, drawing on his decades of service in each of the three branches of the federal government, published Saving Congress from Itself: Emancipating the States and Empowering Their People (https://www.amazon.com/Saving-Congress-Itself-Emancipating-Empowering/dp/1594037744). This small but mighty book lays out a simple reform that can not only restore the original Constitution’s design, but also provide both the federal and state governments with enormous savings. Readers of Saving Congress from Itself: Emancipating the States and Empowering Their People (https://www.amazon.com/Saving-Congress-Itself-Emancipating-Empowering/dp/1594037744) will learn about a category of federal programs which have undermined an important principle of the Constitution–one that empowers the states to take on all decision making not assigned to the federal government.
Today, Senator Buckley sits down with us to discuss his book and how its reforms could potentially impact the current business of the federal government.
What’s the one thing readers should take away from Saving Congress from Itself?
When the federal government provides grants to the states for purposes that are the states’ own business, the money comes with detailed instructions on how it is to be spent. The result has been to undermine the Constitution’s federalism: that is, confining Congress to matters only a national government can address while assuring the states the ability to manage their own affairs without outside interference.
How would your book’s recommendations help guide the state governors in responding to the current coronavirus crisis?
By ensuring that federal relief funds did not come with congressional instructions on how they are to be used, it would ensure that governors and other state officials, who are politically responsible to their own voters, will have the freedom to use their best judgement in meeting their states’ needs in the most effective ways.
How could your book’s recommendations help shape the current stimulus package?
It would ensure that stimulus funds to state and local governments would be free of federal regulations that would interfere with the recipients’ abilities to make the most effective use of the money. It would also substitute the judgement of state and locally elected officials for that of federal bureaucrats on how the funds can best be used.
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