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>

The National Debt Relief Amendment would amend the U.S. Constitution to require any increase in the federal debt be approved by a majority of state legislatures. This would bring planning, transparency, and accountability to any more federal borrowing. The amendment would force the federal government to make the case for adding debt early in the budget process to secure approval by 26 states. Congress could never again impose a multi-trillion dollar mortgage on our children with a last-minute scramble to raise the debt limit.

A central feature of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is an option for each state to establish a health insurance exchange. In its simplest form, an exchange would be a website on which individuals and business people could shop for health insurance. However, insurance policies offered on the exchange must be heavily regulated by the state to apply federal standards and price controls.

Recently the Goldwater Institute hosted a standing-room only policy forum to discuss the ins and outs of states initiating the Article V process to amend the U.S. Constitution. If you weren’t able to attend the forum, you can watch the video here. During the question and answer session, a handful of questions were raised about the details of the amendments convention “process,” namely who will select the delegates to an amendments convention and what will the rules be once the delegates are there?

One year ago, President Obama signed “Obamacare” into law, the greatest expansion of federal involvement in medicine since the creation of Medicaid and Medicare and one of the greatest intrusions into individual liberty our country has seen. A majority of Americans opposed it when it passed and a year later a majority of Americans want it repealed.

With the U.S. Supreme Court rejecting an immediate review of the state of Virginia’s challenge to the federal health care law, the Obama administration can be expected to accelerate its effort to force citizens to buy federally-approved health insurance. At the same time, pressure will mount on states to integrate the individual mandate into the fabric of state law. If states yield, it will become impossible for them to challenge the individual mandate with a straight face.

Huge segments of state budgets are driven by federal spending. Few roads are built without federal matching funds. Large shares of states' budgets are spent on social programs initiated by the federal government such as Medicaid, KidsCare, and Aid to Families with Dependent Children.

The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently held that the robbery of an Ohio pizza shack was a federal crime. The shack made pizza from California sauce, Minnesota flour, and Wisconsin mozzarella. So, based on Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce, the Sixth Circuit ruled the robbery constitutionally was prosecuted as a federal crime.

With the next Arizona legislative session just ten days away, the Goldwater Institute has released 100 ideas to advance liberty. 100 Ideas for 100 Days provides one idea for each day that the legislature is supposed to be in session. Each idea is linked to a policy report or a Goldwater Institute analyst who can help legislators with research and analysis.

The full list of 100 Ideas for 100 Days is available. But, for those of you who like to cut to the chase, here is our top eight for 08:

A recent study by George Mason University's Mercatus Center found that Arizona ranks as the eighth freest state in the nation. It broadcasts loud and clear that Arizona is open for business to refugees fleeing our overly taxed and regulated neighbor to the west. But this is no time to rest on our laurels. Maintaining our competitive edge still requires systemic change.