End polarization with local control

To the editor,

Polarization, tribalism & Trump are common words we hear today when discussing our politics. Everyone agrees on this problem, but no one quite knows how to solve it.

You’ll see suggestions of taking a step back, taming our anger, changing the dialogue; but these broad calls for societal changes are about as useful as any solution that begins with the phrase, “We need to have a national conversation.”

In my mind, the only solution is to empower state and local governments by redirecting more of the existing tax revenue to state capitals rather than Washington, D.C., thereby shrinking the size and scope of the federal government.

America has more than 300 million citizens – 300 million people from anywhere are going to agree about very few things. That is beautiful and a key feature of American culture. So why force national policies on everyone, when you can implement them locally and then live in a place that more aligns with your views?

In our current system, the vast majority of our tax dollars go to the federal government, which provides only a handful of the essential functions of government. Meanwhile, the government programs we all agree on, things like public schools, first responders, police and road maintenance, are all getting squeezed more and more every year because any taxes more than what are already taken out of our paychecks are very unpopular.

Reform the tax code so that state and local governments can afford to do their jobs, and you’ll see a lot more agreement about government.

No one is going to be able to “lower the temperature” in our politics unless we lower the stakes. Return government to the state capitals and city councils, return the money to the people who earned it, and we’ll see our governments will be more reflective of us and more effective at providing the services they are supposed to provide.

– Tom Mudrak, Durango