The Power of the Purse: The Subsidy Plan


Little remembered today outside of a few scholars, James T. Young was a progressive Professor of Academia for the University of Pennsylvania at the end of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth century. He wrote what would become one of the most important text books on the American Government for over fifty years. His ‘The New American Government and Its Works’ is cited by many of the most influential teaching and scholarly organizations for decades as one of two of the most recommended books for American students on the purpose of government. His work touched the lives of countless millions of Americans and even though his name is lost in the pages of time, his mantra lives on today under the guiding hands of Barack Obama.

Young’s book was originally published in 1915, later revised in 1923 and again in 1933. In it he documents the Bills passed by Congress, the decisions handed down by the Supreme Court and the actions taken by the Executive Branch of the US government to expand the power of the Federal Government over the local and state government as well as the progressive move to change Americans’ view of government form one that believed citizens could best pursue happiness if government was limited to protecting the life, liberty, and property of individuals to one that the government or ‘the community,’ has ‘an absolute right to determine its own destiny and that of its members.’

Young then goes on to explain the best way to replace the “Old” government with the “New” government is “Whenever it appears that the Constitution hinders a transfer of power from the States to Congress, those interested seek some expedient by which to evade this obstacle…” He then cites ‘judicial interpretation’ and ‘commerce regulating power’ as two methods and continues, “The third, and at present most promising way is the subsidy plan. Congress grants to the States a fund under its power to tax and to appropriate for the general welfare. This fund is given only on condition that the States appropriate a similar sum and that the total amount be used for a definite purpose fixed in the Federal Law. This purpose may be, and often is, entirely outside the regulating authority of Congress.” This book explains the best ways to end federalism is through the power of the purse and it has been used extremely successfully for decades but has found its champion in Obama.

On April 28th, 2015, Obama interrupted his press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe to address the anarchy in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray at the hands of police. Obama made the following statements: “Now, the challenge for us as the federal government is, that we don’t run these police forces. I can’t federalize every police force in the country and force them to retrain. But what I can do is to start working with them collaboratively so that they can begin this process of change themselves.

“And coming out of the task force that we put together, we’re now working with local communities. The Department of Justice has just announced a grant program for those jurisdictions that want to purchase body cameras. We are going to be issuing grants for those jurisdictions that are prepared to start trying to implement some of the new training and data collection and other things that can make a difference. And we’re going to keep on working with those local jurisdictions so that they can begin to make the changes that are necessary.”

Shifting from the carrot to the stick, Obama goes on to blame local police for the problems in Philadelphia: “I think it’s going to be important for organizations like the Fraternal Order of Police and other police unions and organization to acknowledge that this is not good for police. We have to own up to the fact that occasionally there are going to be problems here, just as there are in every other occupation. There are some bad politicians who are corrupt. There are folks in the business community or on Wall Street who don’t do the right thing. Well, there’s some police who aren’t doing the right thing. And rather than close ranks, what we’ve seen is a number of thoughtful police chiefs and commissioners and others recognize they got to get their arms around this thing and work together with the community to solve the problem. And we’re committed to facilitating that process.

“So the heads of our COPS agency that helps with community policing, they’re already out in Baltimore. Our Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division is already out in Baltimore. But we’re going to be working systematically with every city and jurisdiction around the country to try to help them implement some solutions that we know work.

“We can’t just leave this to the police. I think there are police departments that have to do some soul searching. I think there are some communities that have to do some soul searching. But I think we, as a country, have to do some soul searching. This is not new. It’s been going on for decades. And there’s a bunch of my agenda that would make a difference right now in that.”

Obama could not be clearer, either fall in line with the new federal ‘solutions’ to the local problems and get federal ‘grants’ or be monitored by the federal government for non-compliance.

But for Obama, this is just standard operating procedure as he proved in early February 2015 when the head of the Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson sent out a press release to all local public safety agencies stating serious “consequences” if Congress did not pass the DHS funding bill before Congress. Nestled in that Bill was the funding for Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty for illegal aliens here in the US.

This letter was revealed by Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith who said the letter he received, was addressed to ‘all police chiefs and sheriffs around the country,’ was little more than a ‘very interesting veiled threat.’

Sheriff Smith explained that the stated: “‘Local and state public safety agencies would not receive federal grants they were counting on’ if they didn’t lobby Congress on behalf of the president to support his amnesty agenda.”

Smith continued, “Let me get this straight, — the president believes he has the authority to nullify federal laws that don’t serve his personal agenda, but if Congress dares to exercise it’s (sic) responsibility of controlling the purse strings, he will willingly hold public safety grants hostage just to get his way?”

As dangerous as these moves to further erode federalism in this country they are minor when compared to the Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative launched in with great fanfare by Obama in 2011.

The press release touted: “Over the past two and a half years, the Obama Administration received feedback from leaders all across the country who described the kind of partnership that would be most useful to them for economic growth,” said Domestic Policy Director Melody Barnes. “The result is Strong Cities, Strong Communities, an innovative new pilot that will help strengthen local communities while also delivering federal resources and assistance more effectively.”

Added Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett, “This is exactly the kind of federal initiative that President Obama pledged to create – one that respects the wisdom of local leadership and helps mayors and other local officials utilize federal resources more effectively. President Obama has consistently demonstrated his commitment to a robust partnership with America’s cities and counties– Strong Cities, Strong Communities is yet another example of this important partnership.”

How exactly will the federal government ‘respect the wisdom of local leadership’? By increasing ‘local capacity’ of course, and how would they do that?

Quoting Ben Adler from a ‘Forefront’ story last April, “The goal is to build capacity in local governments. Administration officials learned from their 2009 cities tour about the need to strengthen governmental capacity at the local level because budget cuts had forced cities to eliminate economic development departments or left them thinly staffed.

“The strong cities initiative was designed to build that local capacity in three ways: Develop a comprehensive economic strategy; work with anchor institutions such as hospitals, charities and state and local government agencies; and embed federal employees directly in city halls to work with the local partners.”

This of course is only a very small part of the ‘Strong Cities’ Plan. In October of 2015, US Attorney General released the details of the next step; The Strong Cities Network. In Lynch’s speech she states, “… connecting those localities to one another – as the Strong Cities Network is doing – is not only a powerful way to lift up our communities worldwide. It also sends a message about who we are and what we aspire to be – as an alliance of nations and as a global community.

Who is the Strong Cities Network? It is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), London based ‘think and do tank’ run by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) that has the stated: “The Strong Cities Network is the first global network of cities and other sub-national entities working together to build social cohesion and resilience to prevent violent extremism in all its forms.

“The Strong Cities Network provides a global platform to support local authorities to systematically share lessons learned, pool resources and build a community that can mobilize local action on a global scale.” 

An interesting side note on their website is how they actually define ‘violent extremism’: “The blurred relationship between violence from the extreme right and broader trends of Islamophobia and anti-immigration sentiment poses several challenges for policy makers seeking to address the increasing risk of violent right-wing extremism…In 2012, ISD launched a new program of work to enhance understanding of the threat from the far right, and help policy makers to develop effective responses to these violent and non-violent movements.”

So if the local and municipal effort to counter the ‘violent extremism’ is inadequate and hasn’t developed ‘systematic efforts are in place to share experiences, pool resources and build a community of cities to inspire local action on a global scale,’ the feds – and the UN – have to step in. Thus the groundwork is being laid for federal and international interference through bribery down to the local level. “‘The Strong Cities Network,’ Lynch declared, “will serve as a vital tool to strengthen capacity-building and improve collaboration” – i.e., local dependence on federal and international authorities.

“Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.” – George Orwell

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