Q&A – How much government influence in our lives is local vs federal?

Q&A of the Day – How much government influence in our lives is local vs federal?

Each day I’ll feature a listener question that’s been submitted by one of these methods.

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

Twitter: @brianmuddradio

Facebook: Brian Mudd https://www.facebook.com/brian.mudd1

Today’s entry: Brian, as a disillusioned Trump voter your logic about local government being most important in our daily lives has been helpful. It’s something I’ve taken solace in as we’ve watched Florida move further to the right this cycle. When you look at lockdowns in other states and cities setting in again, it reinforces your point. My question for you, so I can communicate this to others as well, is if there are any specific facts you can point to which support the logic in your point about the influence of local government being most important?

Bottom Line: This question derives from my central theme of 2020. Every election has consequences and it’s often those closest to you which have the biggest impact in your daily life. It’s a saying I coined twenty or so years ago and have used ever since, however the logic behind it as you’ve cited, has been as evident as ever throughout the course of this year. From lockdown policies to election processes, 2020 has been the quintessential year for the importance of local elections to be on full display. Yet local only races average fewer than 20% of eligible voters voting, compared to 75% plus for Presidential elections. That being said, you asked for stats to back it up the logic and I can assist.

There are several ways to attempt to illustrate the point. The first would be to simply compare how many laws and regs there are at the federal, state and local level. The problem with this is that even the federal government’s GAO can’t provide a full list of in force laws. Over the years thousands of laws have become obsolete but remain on the books. Others just aren’t enforced or enforceable. So that’s not the best way. Instead, looking at funding provides the most objective insight. A Brookings Institute study of total government spending is one of the most objective ways of viewing the real influence of federal vs. state and local governments. According to their findings, by the time federal funds are fully allocated here’s the breakdown by form of governance:

  • Federal: 19.8%
  • State/Local: 80.2%

In hard money terms, our state and local governments have four times the influence of the federal government! We certainly don’t view our mayors and governor as being four times as influential as the President of the United States, but from a point of practical application of governance that’s actually the case. A separate study from the Urban Institute illustrates that further illustrates that local governments control more spending than state governments. According to their findings...

  • State: 48.4%
  • Local: 51.6%

This all literally illustrates my point factually. Local governments are involved in more spending/active governance than the state which is more actively involved in active governance than the federal government. So yes, if you’re a disillusioned Trump supporter in Florida, you can take heart in Florida’s Republicans having had their best election cycle in history this November, with the most elected Republicans top to bottom in the state of Florida in our history come January. These politicians will hold four times the influence over our daily lives than the next president of the United States – even though it doesn’t generally feel that way. Also, who knows, should Joe Biden be certified as the next POTUS in a couple of weeks, we’ll have President Trump here in South Florida most of the time. There’s no telling how he might still influence our state and local elections when he’s living here fulltime.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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