What are the positives of allowing individual states more control?
I find it kind of weird that we are the "United States" yet the goal seems to be independent states making their own laws which can contradict other states. What are the positives of allowing states to have the ability to make their own laws?
Actually this is the way that the founders created the constitution. A limited federal government, and state's rights for the states to be run locally.
The reason for the federal government was to resolve conflicts between the states, and to represent the US as a country to the world.
The 10th amendments give states the rights that haven't been usurped by the federal government. The problem is that in the last seventy five years, the federal government has used the Interstate Commerce Clause, and the Supremacy Clause to chip away at state's rights.
As the federal government grew bigger and more costly, they used the 1913 Income Tax law to gain revenue to sustain their increased size and scope.
The United States are slowly but surely becoming the United State of America.
In the 1940s, there was a landmark Supreme Court decision that paved the way for federalism trumping statehood.
It involved a farmer in a state, and he set aside 10 acres for crops for the personal use of his family. The Supreme Court decision said that it was adversely affecting interstate commerce, even though it never even left his farm. The reasoning was that it affected interstate commerce because he wasn't buying these farm products.
Clearly this decision was a reach and seems today to be more politically motivated than an interpretation of the constitution.
In another case during the same time period, the SC found that because there was a phone in a hotel, it came under the Interstate Commerce Clause.
Now, when the constitution was created the founders never conceived of this misuse of the Interstate Commerce Clause.
The power to tax from any source was built into the Articles of the constitution, but the 16th amendment allowed the federal government to tax income across the country without regard to apportionment. Which ironically was the reason for the Interstate Commerce Clause in the first place.
Marriage was the domain of the states and not the federal government. Each state would set their own requirements for the marriage license, as they do for driver's licenses. Then the federal government took that licensing away from the states, even though there is no right to marriage in the constitution. As for the different state marriages, they are recognized by the uniform reciprocal act.
The States are still united, but at the expense of states being controlled by the federal government. This was clearly not the intent of the founders.
Thanks for thorough answer, I guess we need to change names because nothing about either way seems very United. I have to wonder though why a need for different laws on things like marriage, DLs, or other basic things?
Indeed we are more of a Confederation than a Federation. It does have its merits; can you visualize if one state (i. e. New York) had significant national influence and dictated its laws to states like Montana, Texas, Oklahoma etc.
Personally I think every state should have identical laws unless the subject matter is something not every state has. One country, one set of laws, one set of rules, all within reason and no over reach would be perfect in my opinion.
Think of the US more like it was the EU. Each country had its own heritage, and culture and now they need to pool together their resources, but not their heritage. Think of the states in the same way as little countries, and the Feds as the EU.
I agree with you Peeples, one country, one set of laws. I've said that states' rights means the right of states to discriminate.
Do you mean positives, or do you mean advantages? I don’t see any positives. The only advantages that I see to states making their own laws are selfish ones. Each state can tailor its laws to the various religious or ethnic groups, or both, within those states. That in itself presents a problem because we are supposed to be the “United” States of America, not the country of 1001 religious and ethnic groups, each demanding that freedom be tailored to self-centered personal needs.
The Jefferson/Hamilton fight over a strong federal government and weak states v. a weak federal government with strong states has long been a subject of debate. The federalist Hamiltonians lost for the time being, but it is true that the nation’s forefathers couldn’t predict the future. They had enough problems with 13 squabbling colonies, and they never dreamed of what it would take to glue the country together “from sea to shining sea”.
It took a strong central government to put the country back together following the Civil War. After WWII if we had not had a strong central government, we might have been split into two countries, one speaking Russian and the other Japanese. It is going to take a strong federal government to hold the country together today.
The disadvantages that I see concerning a strong federal government is a gross misuse of some of the laws like the Interstate Commerce and laws protecting big corporations at the expense of small business and farmers. Those need to be addressed, and states can handle that at the ballot box. If each state goes its own separate way it will open up the country to internal rebellion and to opportunists’ countries like China and Russia.
I realize that what I’ve written is exactly the opposite to what you asked, but if I had answered your question as written, I would have used one word “none”. People think they see advantages, but when they feel the repercussions of government being turned back over to the states and, by so doing, lose their services, they are the ones who yell the loudest that the “government isn’t doing what it is supposed to do.”
This was exactly what I wanted. In depth thought on the topic. I agree with everything you wrote. Thanks for the great answer!
One Republican president (was it Reagan) tried turning gov't back to the states. It resulted in smaller fire and police protection and fewer turnback funds. The states soon discovered that with "rights" came responsibilities. I wish this was a forum.
And today it took a strong federal government to put us where we are in continual decline, and chaos. The checks and balances of the 3 branches of govt are now in gridlock. It really doesn't matter which party or which candidates win in 2016
And with those responsibilities comes costs! Maybe I am lost on the topic, but I don't even understand why we have individual states. Seems a bit unpatriotic or maybe just pointless. I wish I was more knowledgeable on why we have states.I Need study.
Brad, yes, it was a strong pro-corporation govt. that put us where we are, but I'm not sure where we would be if the individual states had their own powers above the federal. They could refuse even military troops for national protection.
As I have mentioned, the federal govt was to resolve the issues between the states, and represent us in the world as a country. Remember in 2001, the feds did a horrible job of protecting the country. History has not shown any fed brilliance.
I truly think we have a great system in the federal versus the states. If an issue is one that truly involves the US constitution then it works it's magic on a "universal" level. If two or more solutions that are within our constitutional framework are valid then let the smaller more local group decide. It may take years for an issue such as gay marriage to work it's way to a national level. And that is how it should be, slow and deliberate.
I am chairman of an elementary school site council. According and pursuant to state and national laws we authorize the expenditure of 100's of thousands of state and national funds provided. The feds write the check but it is left to the local elected peoples to determine priorities and actual benefits to be garnered by the money. Yes we have federal mandates as to how we do it, like not being discriminatory but within the federal framework we have a lot of local freedoms. It works really well.
It allows each state to tailor its educational programs to their desires, set up welfare programs and incentives in ways that work for them. For example, heating oil discounts don't matter in Texas, while more English classes in Texas help more immigrants learn the majority language and get better jobs. A one size fits all program doesn't work in such a diverse situation.
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