ALEC Principles Shine Light on Government Failures
Celebrate Sunshine Week to Promote Government Transparency
Sunshine Week, running from March 13 to 19, aims to promote transparency in government, which is a fundamental component of the ALEC principles of limited government, free markets and federalism.
ALEC believes government is most transparent when its powers are limited. Government bureaucracies rely on their unaccountable nature to insulate bureaucrats from the proper involvement and consent of the governed. This lack of accountability serves as a backdoor to impose regulations away from the checks and balances of democratic rule. The EPA’s recent Clean Power Plan is a critical example of unelected bureaucrats imposing draconian mandates without the input of the stakeholders most affected by those rules. ALEC has numerous model policies to curb the powers of rogue government agencies like the EPA, which would help restore control of government to the people through their duly elected representatives.
Policymakers can expand government transparency through free markets, the most effective means to provide a wide array of goods . When private enterprises compete freely, they strive to provide the best service at the most efficient cost to the consumer in order to succeed. The private sector can offer superior alternatives to failing public schools, overly complex healthcare services and expensive infrastructure projects. When government services are transferred to the free market, private companies deliver high-quality public services at far less cost to the taxpayer. Furthermore, open bidding for contracting services ensures hardworking taxpayers receive the best value for their tax dollars, which would otherwise merely fill the coffers of the well-connected.
Federalism is imperative to transparent government because politicians and regulators in Washington, D.C. are often thousands of miles away from the people they are supposed to govern. By contrast, voters are far more likely to engage regularly with local policymakers through town hall meetings, public legislative sessions, church functions and many other civic engagement activities. Local media and civic organizations, such as the Rotary Club and PTA, also work to keep local legislatures visible and accountable to the people they are supposed to serve . ALEC works tirelessly to push back against the federal government encroaching upon the authority of state legislatures and thus ensure policy decisions are made by the people closest to those affected by the laws.
Limited government, free markets and federalism are not just ALEC principles; they are universal values that can keep government honest, accountable and transparent to the people who empower it.