State Powers

The states are powerful enough to stand up to the federal government when it violates citizens’ rights. Learn how we can better leverage the power of states.

<p>The states are powerful enough to stand up to the federal government when it violates citizens’ rights. Learn how we can better leverage the power of states.</p>

By Byron Schlomach and Christina Sandefur

In the old "Star Trek" series, the USS Enterprise would prepare for enemy attacks by raising its deflector shields. Two bills just passed by the Arizona Legislature can provide a similar defense against coming assaults from the federal regulatory juggernaut.

On Constitution Day, it's all too easy to forget that the U.S. Constitution is not the only game in town. There are 50 others to be remembered. Despite our nation's limited government roots, nearly all state constitutions do a better job securing freedoms than the federal constitution.

Remember the Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act that was on the ballot last year and barely failed with 49.8 percent of the vote? The Legislature has already ensured it will be back on the ballot next year, where it's likely to pass. If it does, it could be joined by other states around the country to trigger a much-needed reset of the relationship between the states and federal government.

It is often said that if we don’t study history, we are condemned to repeat it. The Pilgrims of yesterday have a valuable lesson for Americans in today’s health care debate.

Many today do not know that the Pilgrims initially faced continuous famine of their own making. In his history of the colony, the Pilgrims’ long-time governor William Bradford described the crisis and the eventual solution.

Until recently, state and local government interaction with the federal government seemed to consist mostly of local and state officials asking D.C. for more money. As a result, many states, counties and cities have ended up on their backs, hog-tied by federal mandates. What James Madison called our “compound republic” cannot stand unless state and local governments recognize their obligation to join with the people in resisting federal overreach.

In an extraordinary move, an expert in President Obama’s administration has challenged the federal health care law’s mandate to arbitrarily reduce funding for Medicare under as “unsustainable,” “unworkable,” and likely to block some people from seeing their doctors.

As our national debt rockets past $13 trillion, just imagine if a constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget had been ratified 25 years ago. That almost happened. During the 1980s, 33 state legislatures invoked their power to apply for a convention to draft a  balanced budget amendment. The effort fell short by just one state of the two-thirds majority needed to force Congress’ hand to call the convention under Article V of the U.S. Constitution.

President Barack Obama’s new health care law doesn’t just radically transform our nation’s medical system; it contains provisions that require discrimination on the basis of race.

The program is unassumingly titled the “United States Public Health Sciences Track,” and it’s among the many items hidden inside the massive, 2,000-page health care reform package adopted earlier this year. But it is anything but innocent. Instead, it is a first-of-its kind, federally funded and federally administered civilian medical school that grants advanced degrees (post-graduate, post-doctoral and technology) in medicine, dentistry, nursing and pharmacy, among others.