1.Should the government provide services, and if so, which level of government should provide what service? Should different levels of government rely on others to provide funding for those services?
Yes, I believe the government should provide services, but the bigger question is, should it be more of the federal or state’s responsibility? To me, that is the main issue here. In reading Ch.4, it gives a detailed history of the federal government “loosening the reins” of some powers and giving the responsibility to the states; especially after World War II. Before this, state governments relied heavily on the federal government and taxes on property as well. That all changed after the war was over and kept changing from there on forward with each different President who took office. Therefore, I believe the states should provide services such as water sanitation, but the federal government should provide the funding for the mandates and quality control and staff to monitor.
2. Who should pay for services rendered? Should all citizens pay equally, regardless of ability to pay? Are there services that should be considered a “right of civilization”, available to all regardless of income level? What about costs for issues that are of more concern to citizens in some geographic areas than others – Trump’s “wall”, for example, or cleanup of the Gulf of Mexico from the BP Deepwater spill?
Regarding services rendered, that discussion can be a slippery slope and I can see the arguments on opposing sides of this topic. In thinking about this I would lean more toward it should be divided equally amongst its citizens. There are services I would consider to be “rights of civilization” and should be available to everyone, regardless of income status in their communities. For example, social services, social benefits, emergency social assistance is managed and organized per their local government. These services should be available to all in the community, even if they have no income. Other examples of “right of civilization” would be clean water supply, police, and fire department services, etc. Issues that are more geographic in nature should be a combination of a federal and state venture in my opinion.
3. Should all services be privatized? The military? Essential utilities such as water or sewer? How should we decide what should or should not be.
I do think in some instances it is good for services to be privatized and history has shown that it has helped the overall bottom lines of some state’s economies. Privatization of public services is nothing new, it has been happening at all levels of government. The main arguments to privatize services are cost reduction, the transfer of risk and liability, create a sour4ce of revenue, and achieving a higher level of quality service. Examples of privatized services include airport operations, waste collection facilities’, corrections, and lotteries. So, all in all I believe some services should be privatized as I see the advantages to it but in other cases, such as the military, I do not believe that it should be privatized. I feel in that case, the cons would outweigh the pros.
4. Should the federal government have the power to require states/localities to provide services, or require those services directly upon the individual?
I believe that the federal government should have the power to require states provide services for their citizens, especially for those services essential to keep an area civilized and safe as possible. Essential services should be required and available to all. I do not believe the federal government should take over or have absolute power, but they must work with the states and come up with a joint solution or put mandates in place.
Stephens, G. R., & Wikstrom, N. (2007). American intergovernmental relations: A fragmented federal polity. New York: Oxford University Press.