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Force-Fed by the Nanny State

March 18, 2009

Some of the money that Obama wants states to take as part of the so-called stimulus bill widens the states’ welfare obligations to their respective citizenry. Of course, once the ‘American Europeanisation and Indebtedness Recovery and Reinvestment Act’ money is spent the continuation of those welfare programmes will rest on the individual states’ shoulders. This is why the more responsible governors like Jindal in Louisiana, Perry in Texas, Sanford in South Carolina, and Bredesen (a Democrat) in Tennessee don’t want to be force-fed with federal money. But that’s exactly what DC’s central planners are trying to do. As Professor Rotunda writes:

Because some governors might not accept the money, Congress added a unique provision, in subsection 1607(b): “If funds provided to any State in any division of this Act are not accepted for use by the Governor, then acceptance by the State legislature, by means of the adoption of a concurrent resolution, shall be sufficient to provide funding to such State.”

In other words: forget the 10th Amendment, forget the governors. All the federal government needs is enough support in the states legislatures and it can force economically unsound policies down the states’ throats. It would just be too unfair if some states could refuse to follow the recipe for financial disaster. There’s also the danger that a few years from now comparisons among states will show that those which didn’t take the welfare money fared better in the end. Also, people tend to vote with their feet (when they can) and might flee the ‘welfare states’ and move to places that have resisted the Obama transformation. Competition among states, too, is just so unfair and believing in states’ rights is an outmoded superstition. So the new battle cry from Washington is: united we fall!

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