Does the government ever just stop doing what it’s supposed to?

Government ceases, slows, or never even begins performing many functions nearly every day.

The most mundane example of the latter is referred to as an unfunded mandate, which is when the government (usually the legislature) tells the states/counties/etc. to buy school books or build prisons or provide health care but don’t give them the money to do so. Government has been given a purpose to perform, ostensibly through the democratic process but damn sure more and more infrequently, but it cannot do so without funding. This happens more often than you’d think.

By a similar mechanism governments slow and cease many of their services quite often. Funding is withheld for this project or that service in exchange for cooperation between branches or departments or states or states and the feds. Holding funding hostage is a time-honored governmental practice.

Of course, there is an obvious way that government stops performing, it’s told to. By us.

We vote in someone who, say, signs an executive order. Or congressmen who pass a law. And this is often a very, very good thing. The Civil Rights Act stopped governments all across the country from performing many, many functions – all relating to segregation of the races.

Personally, I would love it if the government would stop performing a lot of functions. Like damn everything related to the War on Drugs. Or 99% of what the TSA does.



Categories: Government

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