Celebrating Limited Government – Free Markets – Federalism
“One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions, rather than their results. We all know a famous road that is paved with good intentions. The people who go around talking about their ‘soft heart,’ – I admire them for the softness of their heart, but very often it exists to their head as well.” – Milton Friedman
The interim is a perfect time to revisit the fundamental elements of good government, government whose primary role is the protection of personal liberty. Two critical and essential principles of good governance are limited government and the free market. Federalism is a structure of government devised by our founders to preserve the independence and innovation of the states (original colonies) while affording the international security and economy synergy of a union. Formed by the bonds of federalism, the 13 colonies became the United States of America.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is an association of state legislatures that “seeks to advance the fundamental principles of free-market enterprise, limited government, and federalism at the state level through a nonpartisan public-private partnership of America’s state legislators, members of the private sector and the general public.” I was a member of ALEC my entire eight years in the Missouri House and am currently serving as ALEC state co-chairperson for Missouri. In the world of term-limits, an association like ALEC is invaluable in assisting state legislators by assembling the private and public expertise that can effectively identify and clarify even the most complex issues.
ALEC is organized into eight task forces that assemble three or more times each year to evaluate the issues critical to the day. These national task forces “serve as public-policy laboratories where legislators develop model policies to use across the country. The eight task forces commission, research, publishes, and issue papers; convene workshops and issue alerts; and serve as clearinghouses of information on free-market policies in the states.” Those of you interested in delving deeper into the mechanics of legislation and issue advocacy can peruse the ALEC website (www.alec.org) and investigate the challenges and proposals under consideration. ALEC is unique in its coalition of government, private sector, and individual interests. You or your business can join ALEC and participate in policy discussions, model legislation, or publications. Other associations tend to be populated solely or primarily by legislators, which can too often be driven by good intentions without sufficient attention to results. By engaging the general public and the private sector, ALEC is less likely to fall into the “good intentions” entrapment.
A recent ALEC publication, the July/August issue of Inside ALEC, focuses on America’s energy sector and includes articles on the Keystone Pipeline, the U.S. LNG export industry, hydraulic fracturing, and states’ impact regarding the EPA’s centralization of “environmental protection.” The July/August issue also discusses federalism and the importance of maintaining an environment of local control, and also includes an article on the appropriate uses of unmanned aerial systems (drones).
If you are trying to keep up with state government and have an impact on Missouri public policy, I encourage you to visit the ALEC website. I serve on the Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force, but served on the Communications and Technology Task Force during my years as a state representative. Missouri has a representation on each of the task forces, and our involvement ensures that Missouri’s interests and perspectives are a part of every deliberation. Federalism makes each state a laboratory, and ALEC involvement provides Missouri state government the best opportunity to develop effective government policies and avoid harmful ones. I hope you approve.
I appreciate you reading this legislative report, and please don’t hesitate to contact my office at (573) 751-2108 if you have any questions.
Thank you and God bless.