So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
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Friday, January 18, 2013
How the Federal Government Dies
Federal law trumps state and local laws. States have been free to make all the laws they want, but only as long as the laws don't conflict with Federal laws.
What happens when states pass laws that conflict? In the past, the Feds came in and those state laws went away.
That's changing. The most obvious break was when states liberalized their marijuana laws. Those laws are in direct conflict with Federal laws, yet those laws are still on the books. What has happened? The Federal government decided to not enforce Federal laws. They claim to have bigger fish to fry.
The lack of Federal enforcement is one of the factors that has encouraged more states to pass marijuana laws. In this area Federal enforcement has proven to be weak to nonexistent. If a law is not enforced does it really exist?
Now states are making noise that new Federal gun laws will be ignored. In fact, some states are threatening to arrest Federal agents who try to enforce such laws.
What's going on here? I'd say it's the slow shift of power from the Federal government back to the states. During the civil war the Federal government, through force of arms, made it very clear that Federal trumps state law. The question today is: does the Federal government have the will and the means to tell states what to do?
My guess is that the Feds have their hands full. That's not to say they won't make a show of force now and then. In the long run, their power will diminish.
The Federal government rules with carrots and sticks. Their stick has developed a few cracks.
What about the carrot?
They have a lot of carrots yet: Food stamps, Social Security, Pensions, and Jobs. As long as they can still provide carrots, the Feds have influence.
The problem for the feds is that too many groups want those carrots. We can point to abuses with the social safety net, but the expense pales to the breaks big business receives. If they can't say no to giving money to the very profitable oil companies, they can't say no to any big business.
Let's face it, a worker on disability has a lot less political power than a major corporation. In the long run, who do you think will get the carrots?
People still have needs. If they are going to be provided by the Federal government, they will have to be provided in other ways. Will the states pick up the burden? Maybe some of it, but they have financial pressures too. Needs will be filled, but maybe by church groups, family, friends, and local communities. Those who provide what's needed will have the allegiance of the people. People may discover support networks that provide for their needs better than the Federal system. When that happens, the Federal government becomes irrelevant to a person's life.
At some point, the Federal government becomes more of a hindrance than a help. The carrots stop coming and the stick is weak. Once that happens, it's only a matter of time.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.