Joe Biden (or, rather, the campaign staff running his Twitter account) posted a curious statement.
“I want every single American to know,” he said, “if you’re sick, if you’re struggling, if you’re worried about how you’re going to get through the day — I will not abandon you I will not leave you to face these challenges alone.”
This plays into the larger campaign play the Biden team is making, attacking Trump with a barrage of charges regarding his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a calculated play, as it’s risky to bring Biden out right now. The polling is good for the former Vice President, but when he is out of sight and not making public appearances (and, more importantly, speaking), his poll numbers go up. When he is talking, his numbers go down as people realize that, yes, there is a problem with his faculties (which makes the prospect of a Biden/Trump debate even more hilarious)
However, the gist of Biden’s statement itself is concerning, because it plays into a fear that conservatives have long had about progressive control of government — namely, that they would prefer the government do everything for you, rather than you work to achieve independence for yourself.
Or, as noted on Twitter:
Is this what it has come to? This is a sign of unhealthy politics. As if Biden must care for, in some direct way, every single American. Families, friends, charities, communities, heck, even local government should be where people look for support. Not the president. https://t.co/xDq29bXuvT
— Kevin Holtsberry (@kevinholtsberry) June 30, 2020
It’s one of the reasons that I loved South Carolina Senator Tim Scott’s speech after his police reform bill was blocked in the Senate. Scott was (rightly) furious that it was blocked, but noted that the American people, and the black community, in particular, shouldn’t need the federal government to do what his bill was trying to do.
It should be the role of local and even state governments to address these issues. The federal government was granted limited powers in the Constitution so that states could retain control of their own police forces, so it should be up to the states and the municipalities within them to address the issues we’re seeing in law enforcement.
The federal government has no police force. It has a federal bureau of investigation, but they have limited powers and must work through/with local agencies to operate. Likewise, the federal government does not have its own health system. It does not provide health care, and it does not offer health insurance. Instead, through the Affordable Care Act, it partners with private companies to offer policies.
It’s one of the reasons the ACA was such a disjointed mess. It did not offer single-payer care nor did it offer any real reforms to insurance. One of the reasons a system like that is destined to fail in the United States is because the system is established to limit the government’s power, and when the government tries to expand its power so much so quickly, the system can’t handle it.
Joe Biden can no more ensure that you are cared for properly in this pandemic than Donald Trump can. Biden can claim he has the power to do things that Trump won’t — forcing the economy to shut down, forcing people to wear masks, etc. — but he wouldn’t really have any sort of power as President to do that. Again, the federal government was specifically barred in the Constitution from being able to do those things.
The fact that Democrats (and, to be fair, some Republicans) believe that their role is to make government meet your needs rather than give you the freedom and ability to meet your own is what hurts America most. It was never the intention of the Founders to create a federal government so large and powerful that it could have such a heavy influence in your life. It was, in fact, the belief in the opposite that drove them to structure our government the way they did.
It is impossible to say whether or not we can turn back the clock on the administrative state as it exists now, but what we can do is keep it from growing further. Biden’s tweet, and the overall sentiment of his attacks against Trump yesterday, show that they intend to use the government as a security blanket, but all of American history shows us that this simply doesn’t work.