Expansion of Federal Powers Impacts Us All
The education of your children. The relationship between you and your doctor. The ability of your employer to stay in business.
These are among the most personal, life-affecting issues facing Texans today, and every one of them has recently been targeted for expanded federal control.
That's the reason I, and so many others, have been vocally championing the 10th Amendment. Some people may dismiss this, but I would suggest they're missing the point.
The 10th Amendment was put in place by our founding fathers to ensure the states play the primary role in shaping their own destiny. The founders had just witnessed firsthand what happens when a distant ruler grows out of touch with local needs. They knew how quickly their own needs lose out in that situation.
The underlying concept is simple, and would seem to be uncontroversial: local people are in a better position to understand and solve local problems.
Why, then, are we seeing the most aggressive expansion of federal powers in decades? Do people really think bureaucrats in Washington can hand down mandates and one-size-fits-all quick fixes that will address the needs of people in Texas just as effectively as people in, say, Maine?
Already, we're seeing health care reforms that threaten to place federal officials between you and your doctor, put a financial strain on many businesses and centralize some insurance functions back in Washington, D.C.
With the exception of Nebraska, where their senator cut an 11th-hour deal that exempts the state from shouldering the costs, every state in the union will have to finance a massive influx of new Medicaid patients. That money will have to come from somewhere - inevitably the pockets of taxpayers.
Will that put more doctors in more offices? That's unlikely. In Texas, we know a thing or two about putting more doctors in practice.
In the early part of the decade, we had a genuine crisis, as a legal system run wild was punishing doctors with frivolous lawsuits, forcing doctors' insurance premiums through the roof. Few were applying to practice medicine in Texas, and we were losing the doctors we already had.
So we passed tort reform legislation that protected patients' rights but also protected the doctors, too. The number of meritless lawsuits plunged, along with insurance rates, and today a record number of doctors are applying to practice in the Lone Star State, including in areas where doctors used to be difficult to find, if they could be found at all.
Texans solving Texas problems.
Just this week, I announced Texas would not apply for federal Race To The Top funding, because it was clear our application would be penalized by our refusal to commit to adopting national curriculum standards and tests.
I hasten to add, these are national standards that have yet to be written, and could likely represent a downgrade of our own recently-adopted, nationally-recognized standards.
All to secure one-time financing that could fund our state's school district for a maximum of two days.
Again, Washington seems to think it's better suited to teaching our kids.
If you're one of the hundreds of thousands of Texans who work in the energy industry, know also that Obama Administration proposals to impose a cap-and-tax system on industry can put your job in real peril, making it more likely employers will flee to safer harbors overseas.
Additionally, the EPA recently announced its intention to mandate radically lower ozone levels, which will also have a much more severe impact on Texas and other warm weather states. In fact, Washington's limits are already approaching the levels of ozone that occur naturally in hot climates like ours.
Still, on our own, Texas has already cut NOx gasses 46 percent over the last decade, and reduced ozone levels 22 percent.
Again, local problems, local solutions.
But the Washington way is not about solving problems; it's about exerting control, pure and simple.
Texas will continue our efforts to fight back against these encroachments, and continue to succeed in taking on the problems facing our state.
I call on all Texans to support our efforts to protect the 10th Amendment. It's not just protecting an important piece of the Constitution, it's about protecting our way of life.
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