Instead of sending money for particular things to the states, the federal government should send a single check, along with letters to every citizen of what they have calculated the statewide improvements should be if the money is responsibly allocated and what the results were over the previous period. If the people do not see the predicted results, they can know their state government is to blame and fire them.
1 October 2016 Dear Citizen of the State of Freedonia, We have sent your state $30 billion for 2017-18 as part of the Great America First Transfer Act (GAFTA). By our projections, Freedonia should provide the following improvements: 1. 10% increase in total healthcare enrollment. 1. 10% decrease in obesity rates. 2. 3% decrease in heart attack fatalities. 2. Infrastructure improvements: 1. State roads improved from D- to C-. 2. State bridges improved from C to C+. 3. Poverty down from 15% to 13%. 1. Reduced unwanted pregnancy 10%. 2. Improved access to education 50%. If these improvements are not realized, the agency recommends you vote for different people. Note that failure to see improvements will result in reduced funding, and if failure continues, Freedonia will be placed in receivership.
1 October 2018 Dear Citizen of the State of Freedonia, We sent your state $30 billion over the past two years 2017-18 as part of the Great America First Transfer Act (GAFTA). They have performed as follows: 1. 2% increase in healthcare (expected: 10%). 1. 12% decrease in obesity (10%). 2. 4% decrease in heart attacks fatalities (3%). 2. Infrastructure improvements: 1. No change in state roads (D-; expected C-). 2. State bridges worsened (C-; expected C+). 3. Poverty remained unchanged at 15%. 1. Unwanted pregnancies up 5%. 2. Diminished access to education. Due to the overall failure to meet the benchmarks, the 2019-20 GAFTA grant will be for $24 billion. A subsequent failure to improve will result in the state losing control over GAFTA funds and a takeover by the federal government. By our projections, Freedonia should provide the following improvements: ... We urge you to vote next month. Freedonia may benefit from new leadership that can deliver the needed improvements to Freedonia.
Conservatives want smaller government, but they seem reluctant to put their mouth where their money is. Make the government tell people when they’re being screwed by lousy governance. Given that a majority of state governments are Republican-controlled, they should be eager to make such a change.
Under a block-grant-plus-reporting system, the people would know if their government was not effective. They would be able to compare such a report to the other 49 states and see where things stand. It would increase transparency while returning much control to the states, where conservatives say it belongs.
We have good measures of what healthy governance looks like. We just have a complicated system that often thwarts its delivery. And we have endless fighting over whether we should have good governance or more tax cuts. A block-grant system cuts through all of that. It says to conservatives, either you can deliver on your promises, or the public can vote you out.
A copy of the information would be affixed to the top of all ballots, and incumbents would be clearly marked.