At its core, the House GOP strategy of governing is simple: Slash taxes for the rich and cut government spending by passing the responsibility for public services down to the states and localities.

The technique is to substitute general block grants for specific federal programs, handing over money to officials in the 50 states without imposing substantive federal guidelines or restrictions. The federal programs would then die and the states could continue them, downsize them or completely revise them as they wish . . .The bottom line, however, is the fate of the federal programs the GOP so cavalierly wants to dump. They may be far more vulnerable to abuse and failure to meet public needs in the hands of local officials than under the practiced, watchful eye of Washington, particularly if the money provided can't begin to cover the responsibility assumed.

Marianne Means

Hearst Newspapers