“I am in favor of reducing, rather than expanding, Government bureaus which seek to regulate and control the business activities of the people. Everyone is aware that abuses exist and will exist so long as we are limited by human imperfections. Unfortunately, human nature can not be changed by an act of the legislature.
When practically the sole remedy for many evils lies in the necessity of the people looking out for themselves and reforming their own abuses, they will find that they are relying on a false security if the Government assumes to hold out the promise that it is looking out for them, and providing reforms for them.
This principle is preeminently applicable to the National Government. It is too much assumed that, because an abuse exists, it is the business of the National Government to provide a remedy. The presumption should be that it is the business of local and State governments.
Such national action results in encroaching upon the salutary independence of the States and, by undertaking to supersede their natural authority, fills the land with bureaus and departments which are undertaking to do what it is impossible for them to accomplish, and brings our whole system of government into disrespect and disfavor.
We ought to maintain high standards. We ought to punish wrongdoing. Society has not only the privilege but the absolute duty of protecting itself and its individuals.
But we can not accomplish this end by adopting a wrong method. Permanent success lies in local, rather than national action.
Unless the locality rises to its own requirements, there is an almost irresistible impulse for the National Government to intervene.
The States and the Nation should both realize that such action is to be adopted only as a last resort.”
Calvin Coolidge – State of the Union Address, December 1926