There are 50 countries in the US. They’re called states.
All right, that’s an exaggeration. They are states. But they could be countries.
If you don’t think so, consider the 2015 state budget of tiny Rhode Island: $8.9 billion. The 2016 budget for the nation of Somalia was $216 million.
The 10th Amendment to the US Constitution reads: “The powers not delegated to the United States [government] by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
The 11th Amendment reads: “The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.”
If you combine these two Amendments, you begin to see the considerable powers granted to the states.
Of course, now, relatively few people care about these powers. They should, but they don’t.
The Civil War over the issue of slavery convinced a majority of Americans that states’ power was a bad thing—and it had to be remedied when high moral principles and intolerable suffering were at stake.
This premise was, however, expanded to include almost any issue on which the federal government wanted to assert its supremacy.
Which is where we are now.
And the Congress has been more than happy to cement that assertion of overweening federal power, by passing budgets that hand over huge sums of money to the states—otherwise known as bribes for giving in and surrendering.
The states lost that war without a shot being fired.
There is another way so-called “Progressives” look at illegitimate and unconstitutional federal power: it is the wonderful solution to problems the states refuse to solve for themselves.
If a state or states can’t see the wisdom of regulating an industry that pollutes, the federal government must step in and take control. When it does, the control is hailed as a victory.
But is it? The solution, in the long run, can be worse than the problem. As time passes, the federal government exerts more and more power over the states—any one of which could rightfully claim it has the size and money to rank as a country.
America, more and more, becomes a single entity, ruled from above, at a great distance, by a gigantic vampiric bureaucracy. This is exactly the kind of centralization the Republic’s Founders tried to avoid.
Conventional wisdom asserts that the states will do great harm to their citizens, because the states are locally inept, corrupt, ignorant, and cruel, whereas the federal government is kinder, gentler, more humane, and wise. The states are more likely to be run by greedy businessmen, while the federal government can maintain greater distance and rule with equanimity and fairness.
This is largely propaganda, and now, in 2017, it is difficult to run tests of the conventional wisdom, because the federal government has taken such major blocks of states’ former powers into its own hands.
But here is an example of such a test: the US Department of Education, a federal agency. It employs a mere 4400 people, and it has a staggering annual budget of $68 billion.
What in the world are those 4400 people doing with that much tax money and money printed out of thin air?
Here is the defining statement from the Department’s website:
ED’s 4,400 employees and $68 billion budget are dedicated to: “Establishing policies on federal financial aid for education, and distributing as well as monitoring those funds [throwing giant sums of money at the states while binding the states to all sorts of rules and conditions and guidelines and bribes.].”
“Collecting data on America’s schools and disseminating research [surveillance, data mining, profiling, invasive pseudoscientific psychological screening].”
“Focusing national attention on key educational issues [propaganda, indoctrination, useless public relations, b.s.].”
“Prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal access to education [preempting the states’ ability to handle those issues themselves].”
The individual states could run and fund their own schools. Of course, they wouldn’t have the $68 billion each year to work with, but that would be their problem to solve.
The fact that it isn’t their problem now speaks to the federal policy of piling up insupportable budget debt to the sky and then pretending it doesn’t exist. “Here’s 68 billion dollars. No problem. We’ll print more when we need it.”
So the test would be: eliminate the US Department of Education.
Turn back the full responsibility for education to the states.
Perhaps then, the states would realize how insane their own governments are, because those governments, too, are running on the fumes of unpayable debt.
A rude awakening for all concerned, at every level? Most certainly. But the degree of overarching federal power would shrink a bit.
And in the long run, that is a good thing. An important thing.
And the next step would be individual communities within the states taking back control of their own schools. And many more parents homeschooling their own children.
The whole operation is called Decentralization.
And it starts at the top, where the biggest power grab of all occurred. Where the Constitution was stepped on, twisted, co-opted, ensnared, burned, scrapped, defamed, ignored, and ridiculed.
Think about this. How many schools in America, all of which receive gobs of federal money, actually teach the Constitution in a serious way, article by article, amendment by amendment, day by day, through all grades, with increasing depth and sophistication?
As in: NONE.
Why should the schools teach the Constitution? After all, they’re sucking in money from a federal government that opposes the document and its essential separation of powers.
Coda: There are people who think what I’m proposing is beyond the pale. For example, what about the great civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s? It resulted in the passage of federal legislation that changed the landscape of America and canceled racism in many resistant states.
Yes, and it also resulted in Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, which was launched in 1966, and continues in one form or another to this day. Trillions of dollars have been poured into inner cities, and the conditions in those areas are far worse than in 1966.
How can that be? It can be, because along with the money came Dependence on the federal government. Lifelong dependence. Which was the actual motive behind the whole operation. It was no favor to the poor. It was a war on the poor. Honest programs aimed at developing self-sufficient businesses were cast aside and purposely rejected. Why? Because they could have worked. Because they would have lifted people up.
But instead, we now have equality. Equality of dependence. That was the federal ruse. That was the op.
What looks like federal intervention on behalf of the high moral ground turns into a long-term enduring disaster.
The solution to the problem turns out to be worse than the problem.
Why should we care about fake morality, devised to appear like a gift from the gods?
We should care about the self-sufficiency, power, imagination, and visions of many individuals. We should support the work that springs from those wells of deep energy.
The Constitution, in its own way, was an attempt to establish a platform from which those qualities could emerge.
It limited the force that could be applied from the highest controls of government.
Perverse criminals at every level rise and fall. But the Founding ideas and ideals remain. And so do the individuals who grasp them and live in freedom.
The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.
3 thoughts on “Power of the states vs. power of the federal government: who cares?”
“… the US Department of Education, a federal agency. It employs a mere 4400 people, and it has a staggering annual budget of $68 billion.”
AND NO ONE IS EVEN TRULY EDUCATED… ONLY BRAINWASHED TO SERVE THE STATE!
The word needs to spread: it’s long past time to get rid of the federal government and return to a confederation of wholly independent states.
If we did as you propose, who then will keep us appraised of the Kardashians? We would so be busy directing the courses of our respected lives instead of living vicariously through a perceived idol, we might become more humane. Not a governmental option.