Tuesday, July 28, 2009

State's Rights

One of the corner stones of the Saint Louis Tea Party is the 10th Amendment:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
That amendment is the basis for a limited federal government. However, our federal government has morphed from one of enumerated powers to one of plenary powers. There are not many tools available to reduce federal influence, but there are actions that states can take to curb federal power.

I described one attack that states can mount on federal power in my very first post: Rush the Hill! In that post I argue that states should not allow any member of their congressional delegation to serve consecutive terms. They could do this by altering their certification and eligibility rules. State legislatures have an incentive to do this, not only because it would reign in the federal government, but also because it would create opportunities for state legislators to run for Congress.

A more pressing area where states can make their dissatisfaction known involves a possible financial bailout of California. I would like to see various states—as many as possible—adopt legislation aimed at thwarting a bailout of another state. This can be done with legislation to suspend the collection of all state taxes (sales, income, property, business, etc), iff another state is bailed out. This "tax holiday" would be lifted when the federal government also agreed to bailout ALL states originally opposed to the bailout.

It's time for the states to pickup the proverbial stick and beat the federal government like the rented ass it is!


Middle Class Joe said...

I agree with your sentiment, but I do not think it is reasonable to have a state change their criteria every so often unless EVERY state agrees to do so. If one state does not, their House and Senate officials would very quickly gain seniority over everyone else and that state would practically rule the Congress.
In my opinion, it would be better to just enact term limitations as a federal law for all federally elected officials. This would end a lot of the "old boy & girl" networks. In addition it may help curb some pork spending that lawmakers use to continue to get re-elected year after year.

dsm said...

I agree, eventually, every state needs to do it. Nonetheless, a few stalwart ones have to get things moving. And we only need 3/4 for a constitutional amendment jam down.

The risk of one or a few states gaining seniority advantage... 1) How is that different from the current system (Byrd, Kennedy, Frank, Pelosi, etc.)? 2) States could create sunsetting contingencies (if <30 states or <200 rep seats after 15 years suspend until more pass). I guess that's more of an "eclipsing contingency"--did I just create new jargon? 3) I hope all avenues to limit federal power are pursued to include the federal law you describe.

Everyone else, Middle Class Joe recently started blogging. Check out his blog: Middle Class & Mad as Hell!