The Civics Interview with Ken Block: “What do you believe are the basic limits on what powers government can acquire over time?”

Question 3 to Moderate Party Gubernatorial Candidate Ken Block: Much of the history of the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution has been defined by the fact that the Federal government gets to decide the scope of that Amendment and has over time tilted the playing field in favor of claiming more power for itself. Currently, we are seeing in Central Falls an analogous process at the state level where over time the state disregards its own rules with regard to municipalities, so that it can do what it wants, resulting in power being moved away from the local levels of government that are closest to the people. Do you believe there is an actual problem here? What do you believe are the basic limits on what powers government can acquire over time?

We’d almost have to take it on a case-by-case basis…I believe that there should be boundaries on what the Feds try to do in one direction, and I may believe that some other things that are Federally guided decisions and programs are probably appropriate… Audio: 29 sec

So let’s take Obamacare…Let me just state right for the record that I think that we do need to come up with a way to make sure that we can insure people who can’t afford to be insured. Do I think Obamacare is the correct answer for that? No. It think it’s imperfect, and I think there are some things that are actually wrong with it. But do I think we have to take that step as a society, to figure out how to provide insurance across the board? I do, and I do think that is guidance that has to come from the Federal level down to the state level… Audio: 1m 38 sec

Let’s just talk about ballot laws, ballot access and how you qualify a political party across the country. It’s an absolute mess. You have states that are free-for-alls, you have states that make it almost impossible to do, and it’s all about the thing that’s nearest and dearest to every American, our democracy…I would be a proponent of Federal guidelines and Federal mandates that all ballot access has to become reasonable and it has to be uniform across all 50 states… Audio: 1m 26 sec

There are a lot of scenarios where I would think that the Federal government shouldn’t be reaching in and dealing with things. And one example I would say, and this is a very clear cut example for me, is the determination of Medicaid compensation. One of our significant problems we have in this state is the fact that our Medicaid rates that are set by the Federal government are significantly lower, the reimbursement rates are lower, for primary care docs and dermatologists and bunch of different folks than they are right across the border in Massachusetts. This is some sort of crazy Federal thing that happened apparently back in the 60s where our reimbursement rates were set significantly lower than our neighbors, and in 50 years no one’s been able to figure out how to correct that problem… Audio: 1m 21 sec

I don’t subscribe to the fact that all government is bad – although we have a lot of examples of really bad government in Rhode Island. I believe that smart government can play a role and should play a role in working things out…In a classic Moderate example, for this particular situation, I can see both sides of it, and it’s really dependent on the specific issue. Audio: 50 sec

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10 years ago

So it appears that Mr. Block is actually Progressive-lite rather than the originally advertised Conservative-lite.
One would hope that genuine conservatives and libertarians will listen carefully to Block’s real views and not his advertising.

10 years ago

So he basically welcomes federal mandates when he finds them useful, and rejects them when they are unhelpful. That’s honest, if distressingly unprincipled. I think Utilitarian might have been a better name for his party than Moderate.

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