This blog originally founded by Blogger who holds a theological degree and a doctorate in Counseling Psychology. Taught Psychology for 32 years and is now Professor Emeritus. Is a board-certified psychologist and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in his profession. Ministered as a chaplain, and pastored Baptist and Episcopal churches. Publications cover the integration of psychology and theology. Served in the Army, the Merchant Marines and the Peace Corps.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

What a Conservative Program Looks Like

  Some of the lefties commenting on our blog are always asking us what kind of programs Conservatives would promote. Typically we have not even tried to respond because we know they live on a different planet than we do. They cannot even understand what we say.

However, I finally decided to write the following for my readers on the Right.
They can understand. Following is a description of one program I was involved in that has the fundamentals of Conservativism in it.

President Reagan requested the consolidation of 85 existing anti-poverty grants into seven categorical grants. Congress agreed to consolidate 77 grants into nine. The nine new block grants were budgeted about 25% less than the programs they replaced.

Block grants are large chunks of money sent back to local governments by the federal government with few strings attached and not micro managed from Washington. I was privileged to have been appointed by our governor to be a part of one of the nine grants–the mental health grant.

Each state sets up an oversight committee made up of stakeholders responsible for oversight of the money. I served on North Carolina’s Committee as well as chairing it for several years.

Our committee members included people with brain disorders such as Schizophrenia, BiPolar, Aspergers etc. as well as family members, providers and the directors of all the state departments who served that population.

The stakeholders quickly realized that they were equal members to everyone else appointed by the governor and the Secretary of Health and Human Services. It became obvious that from their experiences, the stakeholders knew what worked and what did not. And it was a thrill to see them take the bits in their mouths and run with it.

It wasn’t perfect. Nothing we humans do ever is. Also, this change in approach came along at the same time that funds for all programs were diminishing.

But, it was and is a program that has the elements of Conservatism. Devolve money back to the states. Involve the people who will be affected by the program. Get it as close to where the rubber hits the road as possible. That is Conservatism. We just need another Reagan with wisdom and charisma to get it done.


Anonymous said...

Do we agree funding for mental health needs are extremely underfunded today? Did moving funding to block grants reduce the advocacy voice for mental health needs making it easier to cut funding?

Local decision making by those effected sound like something liberals and conservative citizens could agree on but that's not the direction of the NC GOP.

Wolf's Head said...

And how is this program "conservative"?

Perhaps I am confusing conservative with Constitutional.

Shuffling shell games are a repubs democrat game we must stop playing.

The govt is empowered by the Constitution with specific powers. Stealing thru taxation to give to others because you feel good about it is immoral.

That's why the establishment repubs are in trouble. We despise democrat lites.

Blogger said...

Anonymous asked “Did moving funding to block grants reduce the advocacy voice?” Block granting was supposed to increase advocates’ voices. They were put on every oversight committees involved. Also, because the huge institutions were shut down, it was supposed to be less expensive. As I said however, when human beings are running things, they don’t always run as they should.
I am a few years away from being on all those committees so I don’t know exactly what is going on these days. I do know the recession hurt everything. I also know that because the courts shut down the big hospitals, and because the providers were not trained to do things differently, a lot of people ended in the streets. I think people laying on the sidewalks convinced the leaders we did not know what we were doing and so cut funds. Also, as your article said, Medicaid, a main payer in mental health was also being cut.
Conservatives should have liked the new treatment methods as they maintain the dignity of the individual in ways too numerous to describe here. But Conservatives can be stupid at times and I think these cuts are one of those times.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for a thoughtful answer. How do you think distractions ( dog whistle politics, War on Christmas, 60 votes against Obamacare, Planned Parenthood demonizing), play into making real decisions that make a real difference people's lives, like funding badly need mental health care?

Cyclops said...

Blogger provides "a thoughtful answer." Anon 5:33 replies with a partisan and fatuous spin. So much for intelligent discourse.

Anonymous said...


You should realize the connection between distractions that allow badly needed services to be cut or under funded to dog whistle issues that have absolutely nothing to do with our lives but do give cover for corruption, cronyism and political pay back.