This is a deeply important question for conservatives. Or do we have a country of federalists who only care about local control if there are Democrats running Washington DC?
Local control of government policy is no guarantee of liberty, of course, and any appeal to federalism made by the chief executive of a state government is necessarily, on some level, self-serving. Governors have a strong incentive to push back against the federal government to let them make more decisions,
Still, as Ducey pointed out on Thursday, there’s an element of competition that exists between states but is absent at the federal level. States that make good policy choices can attract businesses and people, while one-size-fits-all federal policy is rarely good (or bad) for everyone.
It’s a point that Walker—fresh off an unsuccessful presidential run and gearing up for a likely re-election campaign in Wisconsin in 2018—illustrated with a move that smacked of a campaign stump speech. Pulling a dollar out of his pocket, and asking the assembled crowd to do the same, he asked whether they would “rather send it to Washington, where you get pennies on the dollar back, or would you rather keep it back in your local community and your states, where you can fix your roads and your bridges?”
The choice to keep the dollar in one’s own pocket, notably, was not given.