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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Federal Power Trumps State Rights

This article in Money magazine is about how airport security will no longer accept certain state licenses as ID. New York, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Louisiana, and American Samoa residents will be unable to use their driver's licenses to board airplanes, both foreign and domestic.

I'm a resident of New Hampshire and remember when our state would not comply with Federal Real ID requirements. Sometime in 2016 the Federal government will enforce the new rules. Residents from those places will need to have a Federal Passport to board a plane.

So much for State Rights. While they can't force states to comply with Real ID standards, they can put pressure on in other ways. It's just like when Federal government wants states to change driving laws. They legally can't make a state pass things like seat belt and speed limit laws, but they can deny Federal highway funds to states that refuse.

The Federal government really has no right to set national education standards. Once again, they use the big stick of withholding money to get what they want.

Sometimes the Federal money big stick isn't even all that big. The contribution to education is often just a few percentage points of a district's budget. It's just big enough that most places don't want to do without.

Sometimes Federal requirements raise the cost so high that it's economical to give up the Federal money. A small town near me decided to do just that when building a bridge. It was significantly cheaper to keep the Feds completely out of the project.

Of course, we see that money isn't the only way the Feds twist arms, as the new TSA airport requirements demonstrate. State rights have been eroding for years. Refusing driver's licenses from a handful of areas doesn't make the nation safer. It does, however, show the states who's boss.

There is one upside to requiring people to get passports to fly. It makes it a bit easier to leave the freaking country when we can't take it anymore.



  1. We fought a war on our soil one hundred and fifty years ago over State's rights. I'm afraid with the sheep finally waking up, there is going to be another one.

    1. Our rights have been chipped away little by little, until the Patriot Act -then they started to take them away by the double handfuls.

  2. ...Chickenmom beat me to the punch, the real reason for the war of northern aggression, states rights, is coming full circle...almost past time to do it again

    ...We still remember...

  3. States are local offices of the corporate headquarters. It happened because we vote by popularity not morals and intelligence.

  4. Besides flying, the ID issue also prevents these US residents from visiting government facilities on business, such as Kennedy Space Center and other NASA facilities. Royal pain in the behind. Happens all the time, especially for delivery truck drivers, engineering visitors, and the like,

  5. Wonder why these particular states.

  6. I have a British passport and green card so guess I am covered