Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

There Is No Federal Solution

Posted by M. C. on April 28, 2022

If there is to be a war on drugs, government funding of education and health care, government welfare programs, government grants and subsidies, discrimination laws, gambling laws, and a minimum wage, then these things must be instituted at the state level. This, of course, does not mean that they are desirable, and, in fact, all of them are antithetical to the principles of liberty, even at the state level.

by Laurence M. Vance

The twentieth century in the United States can certainly be characterized by the massive increase in federal solutions to right every wrong, correct every injustice, and fix every problem, real or imaginary. This mentality is what gave us things like the New Deal, Social Security, Prohibition, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Civil Rights Act, the Fair Deal, the Great Society, the War on Poverty, the War on Drugs, Medicare, and Medicaid. Unfortunately, much of this is still with us.There are a number of issues where the federal government has so clearly and plainly violated the Constitution by its solutions that it boggles the mind that anyone would defend its actions.
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With the coming of the COVID- 19 pandemic in 2020, the 50 states reasserted themselves as problem solvers, but not in a good way. Governors, mayors, county commissioners, and city councilmen enacted draconian lockdowns, quarantines, face mask requirements, the closure of “unessential” businesses, bans on indoor dining, the closing of schools, stay-at-home orders, contract tracing, curfews, capacity limits on stores and restaurants, the canceling of concerts and sporting events, social distancing requirements, prohibitions on weddings and funerals, vaccine mandates, and the closure of bars, churches, theaters, amusement parks, and casinos.

Compared to the actions of the states, the federal government’s role at the beginning of the pandemic almost seems benign. The federal government initially did what it does best: hand out money. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act gave $1,200 to each adult, plus an additional rebate of $500 per qualifying child. The Tax Relief Act gave every adult $600, plus another $600 per qualifying child. The third COVID-19 stimulus package passed by the U.S. Congress was the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). It provided adults with a maximum “recovery rebate” of $1,400 per eligible individual, plus an additional $1,400 per qualifying child.

But, of course, the federal government did not stop there. President Biden repeatedly promised on the campaign trail that he was going to “shut down the virus.” Soon after Biden took office, on January 29, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) instituted a face mask mandate for all people while on public transportation (airplanes, trains, subways, buses, taxis, ride-shares, maritime transportation, trolleys, cable cars) or at transportation hubs (commercial airports, bus terminals, commercial vessel terminals, train and subway stations, seaports, U.S. ports of entry, dedicated ride-share pick-up locations).

Throughout 2021, the federal government did everything it could to promote and mandate the COVID-19 vaccine. Biden’s “Path out of the Pandemic,” issued on September 9, maintained that his administration would “continue to use every tool necessary to protect the American people from COVID-19.” Additional actions were announced in December “to combat COVID- 19 as the United States headed into the winter months.

Biden’s statements

But then Biden made two brief statements that seemed to negate everything that the federal government was doing. In late December, Biden spoke with state governors on a call regarding potential strategies to manage the continued impact of COVID-19. After White House COVID coordinator Jeff Zients cleared the press from the room, Biden took questions from several governors. Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, chairman of the National Governors Association, spoke about challenges his state was experiencing in responding to the pandemic: “And so one word of concern or encouragement for your team is that as you look towards federal solutions that will help alleviate the challenge, make sure that we do not let federal solutions stand in the way of state solutions.” Biden then surprisingly said that “there is no federal solution” to the COVID-19 pandemic and declared that it “gets solved at the state level,” before he boarded a helicopter and departed for his home state of Delaware.

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