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 Post Posted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 2:29 am 
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They're doing okay. Could use more gun control on the team tho....

Oooh. Almost got me there. Tricksy Kea!

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 Post Posted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:19 am 
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micah wrote:
- Mandated, unfunded programs in general: The Federal Government has a habit of mandating certain things, like RealID, without considering the costs to the states. They also don't provide any funding, or any mechanism to make funding available. They just say, "we want you to do X, and we want you to pay for it, have a nice day."

If that were all, the states would instantly say 'no' and it would be all over. Y'see, the Feds really can't force the states to do much except in the negative sense (forbid them from doing things). But as a number of red states proved by simply refusing their federal education funding to get out of Poor Child Kept Behind, you can say no to all of the 'positive' programs by just sending back the money they're tied to.

Of course, it takes a state politician with at least the backbone of an eclair to risk sending back a dime; so it almost never happens. But behind all of the weaseling and bs from the states is the simple truth that their politicians want to have it both ways...get the money so they don't lose a vote, but not get stuck with the requirements for that money which they don't care for.

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 Post Posted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 8:11 am 
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Weremensh wrote:
If that were all, the states would instantly say 'no' and it would be all over. Y'see, the Feds really can't force the states to do much except in the negative sense (forbid them from doing things). But as a number of red states proved by simply refusing their federal education funding to get out of Poor Child Kept Behind, you can say no to all of the 'positive' programs by just sending back the money they're tied to.

Of course, it takes a state politician with at least the backbone of an eclair to risk sending back a dime; so it almost never happens. But behind all of the weaseling and bs from the states is the simple truth that their politicians want to have it both ways...get the money so they don't lose a vote, but not get stuck with the requirements for that money which they don't care for.


To be fair to the states, though, doesn't the federal government have a tendency to relate important funds to completely irrelevant legislation, so as to force states to comply? As I understand it, the absurd drinking age limit you have in the US is only universal because it's coupled to funding for road maintenance, or similar. Or have just misremembered this totally?

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 Post Posted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 8:54 am 
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caffeine wrote:
To be fair to the states, though, doesn't the federal government have a tendency to relate important funds to completely irrelevant legislation, so as to force states to comply? As I understand it, the absurd drinking age limit you have in the US is only universal because it's coupled to funding for road maintenance, or similar. Or have just misremembered this totally?

The federal government has done such things. But I wouldn't say it's gotten so bad that it has a tendency to. Federal highway funds were also used to institute universal speed limits on the interstates.

Generally, requirements tied to funding are related to the funding. Occasionally they are not. However, the argument could be made that the drinking age is an attempt to reduce drunk driving, which has a negative effect on roads, costing more money in maintenance, so even that isn't entirely unrelated.

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 Post Posted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:27 pm 
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Generally, requirements tied to funding are related to the funding. Occasionally they are not. However, the argument could be made that the drinking age is an attempt to reduce drunk driving, which has a negative effect on roads, costing more money in maintenance, so even that isn't entirely unrelated.

Although the statistics say it hasn't worked (at least not for drunk driving...and a whole host of other things). And yet the government has never seen fit to change things to make more sense. At least not when it would cost them power influence over the state governments.

The arguments for continuing to vehemently enforce federal anti-drug laws despite State protests, using a rationalization grounded in the Commerce Clause, are a good example.

I'd say the tendency is for the Federal government to try and erode State independence, period. Whether the mechanisms used to do it are internally consistent or even credible is probably always incidental.

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 Post Posted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 9:36 pm 
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OldCrow wrote:
I'd say the tendency is for the Federal government to try and erode State independence, period. Whether the mechanisms used to do it are internally consistent or even credible is probably always incidental.

That really kind of depends on the issue and who the Feds in question have sold their souls to; but in fairness there's very little that 50 duplicative and decentralized bureaucracies can inherently do better than one centralized one.

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 Post Posted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:25 am 
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But they can't do it to as many people, and the people in question have a slightly higher chance of being able to change things once they realize they're being screwed.

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 Post Posted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 2:30 pm 
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OldCrow wrote:
But they can't do it to as many people, and the people in question have a slightly higher chance of being able to change things once they realize they're being screwed.


I'd say both of those are offset by, first, the fact that 50 states allows some to be a lot more extreme than the national government could get away with, and second, the fact that local elections tend to attract much less interest than national ones, which makes it harder for people to rally others to their cause. (Which may even be too much of a minority issue in that state to do anything, purely by geographical coincidence.)

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