07.01.2008 0

States’ Rights and Congressional Blights

  • On: 07/20/2008 17:43:12
  • In: Federalism
  • A large, tyrannical federal government was a constant fear of our Founding Fathers. In fact, it was the very reason George Mason refused to participate in the Constitutional Convention.

    Our current Congress, however, has lost focus of this general premise, with their new favorite mechanism for forcing lockstep compliance: state spending mandates. Currently before a congressional committee is the Higher Education Maintenance of Effort (MOE) which would penalize any state that reduces higher education spending below the previous five year average.

    As Raymond C. Scheppach, the Executive Director of the National Governors Association, noted:

    “This provision represents a major new mandate on 11 percent of state spending, which, on top of the Medicaid mandate that already represents 23 percent of state budgets, means that the federal government will dictate how states spend more than one-third of their revenues.”

    Before any state legislature takes up a budget, with this new proposal, 33 percent of their spending has already been mandated by the federal government. This inhibits a legislature’s ability to make the best possible decisions for their state. And it deprives the citizens of those states from determining the disposal of their own tax dollars.

    Scheppach further noted the flaw of this design by stating:

    “The strength of our intergovernmental system is that state and local governments are smaller, more flexible and adaptable, and thus, as the Wall Street Journal indicated, ‘more fast.’ Rather than appreciating that strength, the federal government is taking a very short-run, issue-specific approach that limits the flexibility of the entire intergovernmental system.”

    As George Mason wrote, “Whatever power may be necessary for the National Government a certain portion must necessarily be left in the States. It is impossible for one power to pervade the extreme parts of the U.S. so as to carry equal justice to them.”

    ALG CTA: If the federal government continues it’s path of dictating state spending, our entire federal system could be reduced to nothing more than a distant memory. What is right for one state, is not going to be right for another. For example, a state like California, which has nearly 400 college and universities, is going to need more in educational spending, then Wyoming, which only has 9. The states need to collectively revolt against the Congressional usurpation of states’ rights and individual freedom. And the nation’s editorialists, bloggers, and talk show hosts need to lead the charge.

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