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Rep. John Shaban Explains Debt Crisis

State Rep. John T. Shaban is a Republican who represents the 135th General Assembly District of Easton, Weston and Redding.

The recent federal debt ceiling debate, while tedious, has highlighted two main approaches of state and federal governance. Both seek to benefit the public, yet each approach arrives from a vastly different direction.

The approach employed by Democrats such as U.S. Rep. Jim Himes and Gov. Dannel Malloy is a purposeful "government comes first policy." Their dogma is based on a belief that a large central government, fueled by taxes and borrowing, is necessary to promote the public good. That approach requires more regulation and a redistribution of public funds, and has folks such as Himes spending nearly $3 for every $2 we collect to just keep our bloated federal government afloat.

On the other hand, the resurgent Republican approach, once employed by Ronald Reagan and Thomas Jefferson, promotes the public good by allowing individual initiative to drive the economy. Local government, operating in the background, should be the focus — providing a predictable legal environment where taxpayers, employers and entrepreneurs can live and assume risks.

The latter is the approach our national and state economies desperately need, and it's why so many Republicans — myself included — are focused on the proper role of government.

Despite our best intentions, however, government continues the destructive trend of intruding on and impeding the private sector.

The federal government, in particular, has grown wildly beyond its Constitutional charter — touching everything from school books to street signs. Consequently, Washington, D.C., has a voracious appetitive that requires more spending and more borrowing to feed the bureaucratic beast.

The antidote? States must reassert their authority on basic local issues, such as education and social services, by choosing to retain some of the billions of taxpayer dollars sent to our nation's Capitol. The alternative hasn't worked – i.e. begging for a partial return of our money via "state aid" that can't cover the ballooning cost of federal mandates on local programs and services. The education of children and the welfare of our neediest citizens are too important to rely on an inefficient, disconnected bureaucracy focused largely on maintaining itself.

The ultimate compromise in the federal debt ceiling debate resulted in minor spending cuts over the long term, with a near reciprocal and immediate increase in federal borrowing. Though the federal government's balance sheet has barely improved, the entire affair has resurrected the discussion of the proper role of our government. No matter which style of governance you prefer, that conversation is a good thing.

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