The Principle of Subsidiarity is Responsible Freedom
The principle of subsidiarity, or “the greatest responsibility to the lowest possible level” is a central principle of freedom, good governance, and the opposite of ponzi schemes that centralize power at the expense of freedom. The founding fathers implicity upheld this principle, as it follows from the Declaration of Independence. In my book Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, Version 4.0, I devote a chapter to this principle and how it became inverted and unstable.
This principle holds that everyone ought to provide for their own healthcare and retirement, either through savings or private insurance. Only those that were indigent should receive assistance, and then it is best implemented by voluntary societies like family members, churches, and charities, and only when they fail should it go to the county level. As U.S. citizens lost their religious roots and the ethic of delayed gratification and fell for the political rhetoric of dependency, they enslaved themselves to their own ponzi scheme. Thus it is said, “You get the government you deserve.” The time has come to pay the piper.
The least painful and most peaceful way for the U.S. to solve its impending Social Security and healthcare crisis would be the immediate enactment of legislation that eliminated all federal entitlement offices, programs, budgets, and tax collection, and return responsibility to the states. State programs are closer to citizens, require less levels of bureaucracy, are subject to less fraud and abuse, and would undoubtedly pass more responsibility back to the people.
The least painful way to diffuse the impending Social Security collapse is the same. The collection of all Social Security taxes and disbursements by states would lead to less opportunity for centralized fraud and abuse, more control by citizens, and a greater likelihood of a slower deterioration of benefits than a declaration of federal bankruptcy.
While very few in contemporary United States politics have the political will to take genuine responsibility for ending entitlement ponzi schemes, they will come to an end one way or another. Will the end be violent of peaceful? Will it be followed by tyranny or responsible freedom? The sooner these programs are devolved to the states, where the founding fathers designed any welfare to belong, the sooner we can turn the United States around and put it on a solid economic foundation.
It is a basic principle that market competition brings lower prices. There is a Lending Tree commercial that says, “When banks compete, you win.” The same is true of governments. A federal monopoly on health care regulation must end, along with the fallacious notion that a single government can provide all the health care all the people need without extreme rationing and deprivation of freedom. When states compete, the people win. They have a chance to vote with their feet.