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  • Judge Jim Gray

Reduce the Scope of Government!

The saying that “The government that governs best governs least” is often attributed to Thomas Jefferson, but it could have been from John Locke or Henry David Thoreau. Regardless, the Founders of our country believed in this reality, and created our nation’s Constitution to put it into effect. So how far have we come from that approach? Lightyears. And it is truly time to step back in the direction of more limited – and less expensive – government, if only for the sake of our grandchildren who, with today’s governmental borrowing, are bankrupt! How can this be done? Here are some suggestions:

  • Abolish the Department of Education! There is nothing in the Constitution that empowers the federal government to be involved in educating our young people – nothing whatsoever! In fact, our public schools were far superior before the Carter Administration created the Department of Education in 1979! This is a local matter that the federal government is not empowered to be and should not be involved with. Abolish it and, once again, the taxpayers will save paying its 4,400 employees with its annual budget of $68 billion, and its yearly “award obligations” of another $215.87 billion. (And remember this version of the Golden Rule that says whoever has the gold makes the rule. So stop the federal government from imposing its rules in exchange for its money!)

  • Get the federal government out of our medical system! Yes, the government could establish an allotment for medical care for those who can’t otherwise afford it, but then let those people decide how and where it would be spent. That will bring the free market back into our healthcare system. When I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s it wasn’t even a topic of conversation that we couldn’t get quality healthcare for reasonable prices. But then the federal government stepped in, and transparently our medical system has not only deteriorated but gotten more expensive ever since. Stop it!

  • Abolish the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)! The private sector responds to national emergencies far better than government does. For example, remember during the hurricane that hit New Orleans that FEMA at great expense brought hundreds of recreational vehicles to the New Orleans Airport, and then left them there? Instead, when an emergency strikes, contract with private groups like the Red Cross to respond to them. Not only will the Red Cross do a far more superior job, the taxpayers won’t have to pay them when there is no emergency to address. And, since FEMA’s budget in 2022 was $28.4 billion to pay the salaries of its 15,000 full-time employees, the savings will be spectacular!

  • Abolish the Bureau of Indian Affairs! If it was ever needed, that time has long since passed. As proof, look at any statistics and you will see that our Native Americans are almost always rated last in any economic or social levels. Why? In many ways it is because, for example, they cannot own their own homes on the Indian Reservations. So that is a big reason why those homes are almost always flimsy and poorly maintained. Logically so, because who wants to spend money on houses that they don’t own? And if they want to start a small business they can’t take out a mortgage to obtain some seed money to start one. And even to this day, Native Americans have little input into how or what their children are taught in school. Nonsense! Get the BIA out of their lives, and their lives will improve. And, along the way, the taxpayers could save the $2.7 billion budget that pays for the more than 4,100 full time BIA employees. (BTW the Irish immigrants had a reputation of drinking too much alcohol, so why didn’t we have a Bureau of Irish Affairs to nursemaid them? Actually it is well understood that the Irish immigrants have done quite well in our country without this “special” governmental assistance! And the same will be true for our Native Americans.)

Those are just a few suggestions, and without difficulty I could come up with a dozen more. But please help to increase awareness and discussion about this critical issue. Not only will this approach seriously reduce the national debt, it will also reclaim excellence in our schools and medical care, not to mention how much it will benefit our Native Americans! This article is an edited reprint of an original post published on Judge Jim Gray's site. The views expressed in it are those of the author and not necessarily the views of the Libertarian Party of Orange County.

James P. Gray is a retired judge of the Orange County Superior Court, and presently works as a private mediator and arbitrator for ADR Services, Inc. He was also the 2012 vice presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party, and can be contacted at, or through his website at

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