Has there been a “redistribution of political power” in America?

There is a growing sense among Americans that political power has shifted away from the people. City and county governments, school boards and state legislatures are losing political power while the federal government becomes more powerful politically. Just ask any of your locally elected officials about the rules and regulations coming from “on high”.

Many believe there has been a redistribution of political power in the United States.

Gallup in December 2011 found, “Americans’ concerns about the threat of big government continue to dwarf those about big business and big labor, and by an even larger margin now than in March 2009. The 64% of Americans who say big government will be the biggest threat to the country is just one percentage point shy of the record high, while the 26% who say big business is down from the 32% recorded during the recession. Relatively few name big labor as the greatest threat.”

This fear led to the creation of the TEA Party in 2008 and Occupy Movement in 2011. Organizations like the Oath Keepers, 912 Project and the Tenth Amendment movement are expanding. Coincidently, there are growing numbers of lawsuits by and against states involving the federal government.

The redistribution of political power has caused an explosion of internet bloggers such as the Drudge Report, Huffington Post, Breitbart.com, ProPublica and Watchdog Wire. A growing Fifth estate, revealing the secret inner workings of the federal government, includes the likes of WikiLeaks, Project Veritas and a growing number of whistleblowers.

Milton Friedman in Capitalism and Freedom wrote, “Economic power can be widely dispersed. There is no law of conservation which forces the growth of new centers of economic strength at the expense of existing centers. Political power, on the other hand, is more difficult to decentralize. There can be numerous small independent governments. But it is far more difficult to maintain numerous equipotent small centers of political power in a single large government than it is to have numerous centers of economic strength in a single large economy.”

Friedman noted, “There can be many millionaires in one large economy. But can there be more than one really outstanding leader, one person on whom the energies and enthusiasms of his country – men are centered?”

Friedman stated, “If the central government gains power, it is likely to be at the expense of local governments. There seems to be something like a fixed total of political power to be distributed. Consequently, if economic power is joined to political power, concentration seems almost inevitable.”

“On the other hand, if economic power is kept in separate hands from political power, it can serve as a check and counter to political power,” wrote Friedman.

To prove his point Friedman used a hypothetical example to reinforce his point on how the market works to preserve political freedom. In Capitalism and Freedom he wrote:

“One feature of a free society is surely the freedom of individuals to advocate and propagandize openly for a radical change in the structure of society – so long as the advocacy is restricted to persuasion and does not include the use of force or other forms of coercion. It is a mark of the political freedom of a capitalist society that men can openly advocate and work for socialism. Equally, political freedom in a socialist society would require that men be free to advocate for the introduction of capitalism.”

But how can the freedom to advocate for capitalism be preserved and protected in a social society? That is the question many believe the US is facing.

The answer: In order for men to advocate for or against anything, they first must “be able to earn a living”.

The more men are able to earn a living the more free they are to advocate. However, in socialist societies all jobs are under direct control of the political authorities. Friedman states, “It would be an act of self-denial … for a socialist government to permit employees to advocate policies directly contrary to official doctrine.” Hence the growing concern about fewer working and more of those who are working are filling part time jobs.

The more jobs are controlled by political authorities the less freedom. History tells us so. So when a politician says his role is to “create jobs” beware.