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How would a properly delineated LFC government be composed?

What would the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches look like? Would they even exist? What sorts of ministers would be required for a cabinet?

I would think that if only one country (initially) was LFC then there are two considerations for the composition of the government. Firstly and most importantly is what is required by the people of that nation, secondly and only slightly less important would be what is considered to be a requirement by the foreign nations with which the LFC nation would out of necessity have to deal with.

I'd like to hear your thoughts...

***Yes I know that this is a superfluous topic because we aren't anywhere near forming a LFC country so please don't clog up the thread with replies of that vein... the reason for the thread is to stimulate thought and discussion on what it could look like when it happens, not to insist that it will happen now.***

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I believe an example of the latter case ("considered to be a requirement by the foreign nations with which the LFC nation would out of necessity have to deal with") would be issuing passports. No one would let a citizen of Capitalismia in without one; meanwhile Capitalismia may or may not care whether non-citizens or returning citizens have a passport.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Constitution of the Capitalist Republic

Preamble:

We the sovereign people of Capitalist Republic recognizing our common need for security, justice, and limited government do hereby create and establish this constitution for the Capitalist Republic.

The Inviolate Articles

Article 1: Government;

The sole purpose of government is to protect the rights of individuals, that is to say to protect individuals from the initiation of force.

A private individual may do anything except that which is legally forbidden; a government official may do nothing as a government official except that which is legally permitted. A law is valid only if it serves the purpose of protecting the rights of individuals, and the creation and enforcement of such laws is the fundamental obligation of the government.

Article 2: Rights;

The Capitalist Republic affirms the following fundamental rights;

• Right to Life – Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign. No government shall set down or offer implicit support to any means, method, or moral code by which any person may live, make, or rule his own life.

• Right to Liberty – The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any person, against his will, is to prevent the initiation of force against others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant for the use of force. Government shall not initiate force against the individual, and shall not use force against the individual except as prescribed by law in order to protect others against the initiation of force.

• Right to Property - The right of property is among the most important individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the one which, united with that of personal liberty, has contributed more to the growth of civilization than any other institution established by the human race. Government cannot in any way appropriate property except when seized according to law.

• Right of Equality – All individuals are equal in all respects before the law and government.

Article 3: Law;

The Capitalist Republic does hereby limit the legislative purview of government;

• Government shall pass no law except as required to protect the rights of individuals from initiation of force.

• Government shall make no legislation limiting business or other free and voluntary associations and agreements.

• Government shall raise no taxes.

• Government may only legislate punitive law where it is demonstrably justified that the action or omission will violate fundamental rights.

• Government may develop and institute such law as required to resolve breach of contract and civil torts.

Executive Branch:

Section i)

• The Executive shall consist of the head of state; styled the Governor, and the Governor’s Caucus.

• The Governor shall also embody the office of the Chief Executive of Government.

• One member of The Governor’s Caucus shall be the Governor Designate and will assume the position of Govenor should the Governor become unable to fulfill the duties of that office.

• The members of the Caucus shall be styled Ministers.

• The Caucus has the power to sign into law all bills made by the Senate and can propose legislation to the Senate in the form of Executive bills.

• The Governor shall have the power of veto over all legislation.

• The Governor shall be elected by popular vote in Gubernatorial Elections held not more than 30 days after Senatorial Elections.

• The Governor shall serve a term equal to that of the Senate.

• The Governor has the power to petition both private and public persons to join his Caucus. Should a Senator be petitioned to sit on the Caucus a bi-election shall be held in that Senator’s riding no later than 30 days after the post is accepted.

• The Governor is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.

• The Governor and his Caucus shall be reimbursed in accordance with standing orders.

Legislative Branch:

Section ii)

• There shall be a unicameral parliament in the Capitalist Republic styled the ‘Senate’.

• The members of the Senate shall be styled Senators and must be of the age of majority, be Capitalist Republican born and have be financially solvent, not having declared bankruptcy in the previous seven years.

• The members of the Senate shall be elected by means of general Elections, with 1:100.000 of population.

• The Senate of the Republic shall initiate the creation of all laws in respect of the Capitalist Republic.

• Senators shall be reimbursed in accordance with standing orders.

Judicial Branch:

Section iii)

• The Judicial Branch shall include a Supreme Court and consist of such courts as deemed necessary by the Senate and approved by the Governor.

• The Supreme Court shall be chaired by The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who will in turn be served by as many even numbered Adjunct Justices of the Supreme Court as are deemed necessary by the Senate, on approval of the Governor.

• The Judicial Branch shall try any and all Civil, Criminal and Contractual cases and controversies including Treason.

• All Criminal cases and charges of Treason shall be tried by jury.

• Treason is defined as actions taken by an individual or group in opposition to or in order to thwart the continued existence of the Capitalist Republic.

Amendment of this Constitution:

Section iv)

• The Senate alone or under direction from the Governor can propose amendments to this constitution in respect of any part thereof except for the Inviolate Articles.

• A proposed amendment must garner the acceptance of three quarters of the Senate before being put to a general referendum.

• A general referendum must achieve sixty percent voter turnout and two thirds of votes in the affirmative to be successful.

Hierarchy of Law:

Section v)

• The Constitution, and the laws and treaties of the Capitalist Republic, are higher than all other laws.

• All Federal officers, Military personnel and citizens shall swear to bear true allegiance to this Constitution.

Ratification:

Section vi)

• This constitution shall come into effect on MMM DD YYYY

Edited by Zip
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YOu don't really describe how the Governor is selected. It looks like you are after a parliamentary system (where whoever gets a majority in the senate would take the Executive) but you never made that explicit. (I would argue against such a system on separation of powers grounds, but that's the *next* issue.)

It should be made clear that treaties cannot supersede the constitution--it should be more important than a mere law and less so than the constitution. Unfortunately in the US ratification of a treaty is de facto a way of getting around constitutional limits since treaties are made equal to the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. Also you didn't describe what it would take to ratify a treaty.

"Standing orders?" (Senators shall be reimbursed....) What's that?

I suspect it would also be a good idea to provide for another means of amending the constitution, should the Senate find a way to wiggle out of the constraints and refuse to propose an amendment.

In general I like a layered approach too, a federalism. (Ours has broken down primarily due to direct election of Senators, but don't get me started.) It's another mechanism for checks and balances.

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YOu don't really describe how the Governor is selected. It looks like you are after a parliamentary system (where whoever gets a majority in the senate would take the Executive) but you never made that explicit. (I would argue against such a system on separation of powers grounds, but that's the *next* issue.)

Section 1 (Executive) 7th bullet "The Governor shall be elected by popular vote in Gubernatorial Elections held not more than 30 days after Senatorial Elections."

It should be made clear that treaties cannot supersede the constitution--it should be more important than a mere law and less so than the constitution. Unfortunately in the US ratification of a treaty is de facto a way of getting around constitutional limits since treaties are made equal to the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. Also you didn't describe what it would take to ratify a treaty.

Agreed, thanks

Hierarchy of Law:

Section v)

• The Constitution, and the laws and treaties of the Capitalist Republic, are higher than all other laws, with the Constitution being chief among them.

"Standing orders?" (Senators shall be reimbursed....) What's that?

There are many parts of governing that are never intended to be a part of a constitution. They are administrative directives and orders and as such do not have to be detailed in a constitution.

I suspect it would also be a good idea to provide for another means of amending the constitution, should the Senate find a way to wiggle out of the constraints and refuse to propose an amendment.

I'm not sure that is necessary. The Senate is elected by the people if they disregard the wishes of their constituents then they won't be the peoples representatives for long.

In general I like a layered approach too, a federalism. (Ours has broken down primarily due to direct election of Senators, but don't get me started.) It's another mechanism for checks and balances.

In my opinion a federal system only adds a layer of bureaucracy to what is intended to be a miniarchical government. What would the second tier of government be responsible for? Don't forget the ONLY things that the federal government is responsible for is the law, police and national defence... In truth there would be hardly anything for the fed to do much less some tertiary bureaucracy.

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You should be very careful with expressions like "[...] except as prescribed by law." My country's constitution is riddled with that phrase, and it effectively nullifies the very rights it refers to.

I see your point were that phrase used without any caveat but it is explicitly used in reference to the phrase "in order to protect others against the initiation of force."

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I see your point were that phrase used without any caveat but it is explicitly used in reference to the phrase "in order to protect others against the initiation of force."

I know, I'm just saying it should not be used carelessly; it was not my intention to imply that you were using it in that way.

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I think a section where all terms that are open to "interpretation" are clearly defined should be added. That way there can never be any disagreements about what "the Founding Fathers" actually meant in a certain passage. I.e., define your terms explicitly even if it makes the Constitution not quite as "pretty" or elegant to read.

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A lot of terms threw me--possibly Canadian usage? It took me a while to figure out that "riding" basically was analogous to "congressional district" in the US. Caucus also threw me. Here it's a rather informal grouping of legislators; you use it to mean what I would call a "cabinet" (and that's why I thought you were pursuing a parliamentary system). Admittedly it's my fault for not reading it closely enough, I missed subsection 7 which answered one of my questions.

I don't believe you addressed my comment about specifying what it would take to ratify a treaty.

Ultimately you'd have to either specify the length of terms or work under a "dissolve the senate" / "vote of no confidence" model but that's a detail.

Now I am going to make the case that a layered (federal) system can help keep government in check and also make it run a bit more smoothly. If this turns out to be a state of any significant geographic extent, the law enforcement will end up being divided into districts of some sort, where the officers are somewhat familiar with their bailiwicks. If these officers are appointed by the Governor, then basically a wanna-be tyrant governor has total control of all of the parts of the government that use force (at which point he can violate the constitution and the court could simply say "stop, or I'll yell 'stop' again!"

A layered (federal) system could be set up as follows: the lower level would handle criminal justice, the over-arching government described here could take care of defense and may set up such things as defining weights and measures if that is a proper role for government. (It would also enforce the inviolate articles against lower-level transgressions.) (That's a debate we have not had in Objectivism to my knowlege; does part of protection from fraud entail having government define standard weights and measures? If so, would it be permissible for government to define, say, a gallon, but people are free to use liters instead?)

The idea behind a federal system is to hopefully prevent one or the other level from over-reaching because it is checked in some way by the other layer.

The lower level does not necessarily have to consist of States like in the United States, but could simply be more like our county governments. By the time you strip all the bullshit out of county level government, that would mean, basically, a sheriff to enforce laws, a treasurer to accept and manage the money to run the sheriffs office, and possibly (we have had this discussion recently, and it was inconclusive) the registrar for real estate. I believe that sheriff should be elected; in my admittedly limited experience, elected sheriffs tend to be a hell of a lot less inclined to throw their weight around (and be petty tyrants) than (appointed) police chiefs.

I have no opinion as yet on whether local level judges should be elected locally or appointed somehow by the federal government. Certainly the (federal) judicial branch should be able to overturn the local judges' decisions.

So lets assume we set up a federal level, responsible for defense/military and some uniformity of law (it may even be responsible for making criminal law, just so long as it does not enforce it). The local (county) level,. with an elected sheriff and treasurer, would do the police work, protecting people from domestic rights violators. Now for the checks and balances. The federal level may remove (but not appoint) a sheriff (at which point the county must elect a new sheriff; the county may re-elect the fired sheriff with a supermajority vote, or elect a replacement with a simple majority); may pardon people the sheriff has arrested and prosecuted (or that the local court has convicted). So that is how the federal government can stomp on an individual sheriff (and local judges) who are violating peoples' rights. Now if the federal government gets out of hand.... I propose that 3/4 of sheriffs can remove the Governor, and also propose amendments the same as the Senate. It *may* be desirable to have some portion of the Senate chosen by the sheriffs to provide an additional check. I'd also like to see some way to overturn a bad law should the Judicial Branch fail to do so.

I'll anticipate an objection someone might make--if we are working with Objectivists, then surely all of this is unnecessary; they'd govern according to Objectivist principles. If that is the case, we should just elect a dictator (in the old Roman sense of the term) for life (which is distinctly not Roman, dictators were elected for a short term to meet an emergency), and let him do everything, since we can trust he won't violate Objectivist principles.

It is one of the strengths of the American system that it has not just branches but layers of government that spend time butting heads. We've weakened a key check the state level has against the feds by going to direct election of senators. (And we failed to provide a way for states to amend the constitution without Congresses' cooperatation and without possibly chucking the whole constitution away.) I suspect without a Federal system we'd be a lot less free now than we are; it has bought us valuable time.

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Thanks for the replies Steve...

A lot of terms threw me--possibly Canadian usage? It took me a while to figure out that "riding" basically was analogous to "congressional district" in the US. Caucus also threw me. Here it's a rather informal grouping of legislators; you use it to mean what I would call a "cabinet" (and that's why I thought you were pursuing a parliamentary system). Admittedly it's my fault for not reading it closely enough, I missed subsection 7 which answered one of my questions.

Cabinet works :thumbsup:

I don't believe you addressed my comment about specifying what it would take to ratify a treaty.

This is a matter of law/legislation and does not need to be in a constitution. I know this is not included in Canada’s constitutional documents and I’ve searched the US constitution and I can’t find it there either.

Ultimately you'd have to either specify the length of terms or work under a "dissolve the senate" / "vote of no confidence" model but that's a detail.

Yes it will have to be addressed.

Now I am going to make the case that a layered (federal) system can help keep government in check and also make it run a bit more smoothly. If this turns out to be a state of any significant geographic extent, the law enforcement will end up being divided into districts of some sort, where the officers are somewhat familiar with their bailiwicks.

Okay, of course police will be divided into districts or what-have-you.

If these officers are appointed by the Governor, then basically a wanna-be tyrant governor has total control of all of the parts of the government that use force (at which point he can violate the constitution and the court could simply say "stop, or I'll yell 'stop' again!"

I don’t understand why you would want police officers to be politically appointed. Why not hire officers on their ability to do the job. This does two things, it eliminates the possibility of your example above and it helps ensure that the guy that is most qualified for the job gets it and not the guy that has the most political savvy, looks best in front of a camera or is in bed with the local politician.

A layered (federal) system could be set up as follows: the lower level would handle criminal justice, the over-arching government described here could take care of defense and may set up such things as defining weights and measures if that is a proper role for government. (It would also enforce the inviolate articles against lower-level transgressions.)

I still do not see how in a LFC system with a notable absence of contrived “crimes” and the much reduced need to control a population (which is what our judicial system is mostly concerned with today) that this division would be necessary.

I can understand parsing policing into functional divisions but creating an entire level of government to do that seems like overkill.

With regard to this being a need for a large geographical area I think that this is a hold over from today’s concepts namely a perverse form of democratic utilitarianism. The reason states are federated is to address regional ethnic, geographical and social realities, and in the broader sense to allow legislators to pass laws that have only local interest. For example in Nova Scotia, a fairly religious area of Canada’s east coast they had a Sunday shopping law that forbade shopping on that day out of religious observance. In a LFC nation that law could never be passed as it would infringe on the Right to Life for every person in that area that DID want to shop or open his shop on that day. The reduction of contrived crime and legislative control over day-to-day activities of citizens in my opinion eliminates the need for anything but a unitary state.

(That's a debate we have not had in Objectivism to my knowlege; does part of protection from fraud entail having government define standard weights and measures? If so, would it be permissible for government to define, say, a gallon, but people are free to use liters instead?)

I would say yes, though I think out of necessity the government would define all measures so that an Imperial Gallon or American Gallon could be used depending on the wishes of the merchant.

The idea behind a federal system is to hopefully prevent one or the other level from over-reaching because it is checked in some way by the other layer.

The checks in place in this case are not another level of bureaucracy (after all look how well has that worked out so far!) but a definite and legal delineation of what can and can not be done by government as laid out in the Three Inviolate Articles.

* My idea behind these Articles is that the alteration or amendment of any one of them would mean the destruction of the constitution and by reference the state itself. I can’t think of another way to have a true LFC society with out some form of this. Without them we are just incremental steps away from where we find ourselves right now.

The lower level does not necessarily have to consist of States like in the United States, but could simply be more like our county governments. By the time you strip all the bullshit out of county level government, that would mean, basically, a sheriff to enforce laws, a treasurer to accept and manage the money to run the sheriffs office, and possibly (we have had this discussion recently, and it was inconclusive) the registrar for real estate. I believe that sheriff should be elected; in my admittedly limited experience, elected sheriffs tend to be a hell of a lot less inclined to throw their weight around (and be petty tyrants) than (appointed) police chiefs.

What would the function of a municipality be? When all the laws of the land are the same from one end to the other? By all means the people of a community should hire their police but in my opinion all other functions could be handled centrally. I really, really don’t understand the concept of elected police. I’m not a fan of appointments either. Hire them all and thereby have the ability to fire them all as well.

I have no opinion as yet on whether local level judges should be elected locally or appointed somehow by the federal government. Certainly the (federal) judicial branch should be able to overturn the local judges' decisions.

I disagree with politicizing the judiciary, there should be a definite separation between politics and law. I’m unsure of how to accomplish this but my reason comes from the same idea as my dislike of elected police. The second you make the continued employment of a lawyer or cop requisite on popular vote you have guaranteed that the politics du jour take precedence over the law. We in Canada have problems with activist judges, I gather the same is true in the US. That is a problem that must be solved. No I don’t have the answer. :(

So lets assume we set up a federal level, responsible for defense/military and some uniformity of law (it may even be responsible for making criminal law, just so long as it does not enforce it). The local (county) level,. with an elected sheriff and treasurer, would do the police work, protecting people from domestic rights violators. Now for the checks and balances. The federal level may remove (but not appoint) a sheriff (at which point the county must elect a new sheriff; the county may re-elect the fired sheriff with a supermajority vote, or elect a replacement with a simple majority); may pardon people the sheriff has arrested and prosecuted (or that the local court has convicted). So that is how the federal government can stomp on an individual sheriff (and local judges) who are violating peoples' rights. Now if the federal government gets out of hand.... I propose that 3/4 of sheriffs can remove the Governor, and also propose amendments the same as the Senate. It *may* be desirable to have some portion of the Senate chosen by the sheriffs to provide an additional check. I'd also like to see some way to overturn a bad law should the Judicial Branch fail to do so.

I'll anticipate an objection someone might make--if we are working with Objectivists, then surely all of this is unnecessary; they'd govern according to Objectivist principles. If that is the case, we should just elect a dictator (in the old Roman sense of the term) for life (which is distinctly not Roman, dictators were elected for a short term to meet an emergency), and let him do everything, since we can trust he won't violate Objectivist principles.

It is one of the strengths of the American system that it has not just branches but layers of government that spend time butting heads. We've weakened a key check the state level has against the feds by going to direct election of senators. (And we failed to provide a way for states to amend the constitution without Congresses' cooperatation and without possibly chucking the whole constitution away.) I suspect without a Federal system we'd be a lot less free now than we are; it has bought us valuable time.

I like simple systems, hire and fire police. Bar and disbar lawyers and judges (perhaps a combination of political and peer review?)

I’ve laid out a fairly simple though stringent amendment process.

I still don’t see the need for a federal system. The checks and balances required in the US and Canadian systems are required precisely because the government was given far too much power over people in the first place. Properly limit government from the start and all of that need goes away.

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  • 2 months later...

alright. Let's put it this way, my old social studies teacher said, "a bad government is better than no government" I believe it may be true. But, depends. If he said bad meaning evil, i would say, nay! an evil government would hardly be well. They would be like america and in very good order striking chaos everywhere. If he meant, a bad meaning worse than average, i say, yes. It's better. without a government, the people would be free to do what they want, when they want. This would mean horrible chaos. Everyone wouldn't own a store, no one would have a job, thing would be around everywhere, at least on the first year or so. but, i believe that without the government, there will be many "gangs" that rise up. I believe that people will take this oppurtunity, and give themselves a little order. But, what if in the process, everything left. The demand for this, the demand for that, what if everyone just decided that the money that they earned wasn't useful at all anymore. well, i've decided something. The demand for food will never go down. The demand for salt will never go down. The demand for water may go down a little after they discover many places to get water. But, what i feel is that there will be many different gangs each with bundles of food they looted. Now, it may just reverse. Food in alleys, and marijuana outside. But, all in all, no government just sucks.

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I really wish people would take the time to at least acquaint themselves with the subject of a thread before responding with some top-of-the-head post that has nothing to do with the subject at hand.

What's that old Mark Twain quote...

"It's better to say nothing and be thought a fool, that to open ones mouth and remove all doubt."

:dough:

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I was thinking about this a while ago when this thread was active and never got around to posing this, so since it's been resurrected, I will.

What about a fourth branch? The Philosophical Branch

Purpose: To review all proposed legislation and oversee all government operations to ensure that the Government takes no action and invokes no law which initiates force of any kind against individuals.

This is just a rough idea in my mind right now - but it seems to me that this is a function that can't be filled by elected officials (conflict of interest), and isn't covered by the Judicial Branch.

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What about a fourth branch? The Philosophical Branch

Purpose: To review all proposed legislation and oversee all government operations to ensure that the Government takes no action and invokes no law which initiates force of any kind against individuals.

This is covered by the Purpose Clause, so that's in the scope of the judiciary. Such a law would be declared unconstitutional.
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I think George Reisman gets it right at how the structure of our government would look in a fully free society. Oddly enough, if you look back in history, it really wouldn't be much different from the 19th century United States, given the exception of coercive taxes and a national post office.

There are presently fifteen federal cabinet departments, nine of which exist for the very purpose of respectively interfering with housing, transportation, healthcare, education, energy, mining, agriculture, labor, and commerce, and virtually all of which nowadays routinely ride roughshod over one or more important aspects of the economic freedom of the individual. Under laissez-faire capitalism, eleven of the fifteen cabinet departments would cease to exist and only the departments of justice, defense, state, and treasury would remain. Within those departments, moreover, further reductions would be made, such as the abolition of the IRS in the Treasury Department and the Antitrust Division in the Department of Justice.

The economic interference of today's cabinet departments is reinforced and amplified by more than one hundred federal agencies and commissions, the most well known of which include, besides the IRS, the FRB and FDIC, the FBI and CIA, the EPA, FDA, SEC, CFTC, NLRB, FTC, FCC, FERC, FEMA, FAA, CAA, INS, OHSA, CPSC, NHTSA, EEOC, BATF, DEA, NIH, and NASA. Under laissez-faire capitalism, all such agencies and commissions would be done away with, with the exception of the FBI, which would be reduced to the legitimate functions of counterespionage and combating crimes against person or property that take place across state lines.

To complete this catalog of government interference and its trampling of any vestige of laissez faire, as of the end of 2007, the last full year for which data are available, the Federal Register contained fully seventy-three thousand pages of detailed government regulations. This is an increase of more than ten thousand pages since 1978, the very years during which our system, according to one of The New York Times articles quoted above, has been "tilted in favor of business deregulation and against new rules." Under laissez-faire capitalism, there would be no Federal Register. The activities of the remaining government departments and their subdivisions would be controlled exclusively by duly enacted legislation, not the rule-making of unelected government officials.

And, of course, to all of this must be added the further massive apparatus of laws, departments, agencies, and regulations at the state and local level. Under laissez-faire capitalism, these too for the most part would be completely abolished and what remained would reflect the same kind of radical reductions in the size and scope of government activity as those carried out on the federal level.

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