Federal Takeover of States’ Rights

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

The 10th Amendment to the US Constitution (part of the Bill of Rights) says, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

This tells us two things:

  1. The federal government is limited in what it can do to the powers that have been delegated to it
  1. The federal government may not usurp the rights of the states or of the people

However! The federal government is taxing the people of the 50 states to raise funds to dictate what the states should do. This “federal money” accounts for between 24% and 49% of each state’s spending.


States are giving up the right to decide their own healthcare, education, energy, and other policies – or else they will lose the “free” money previously extracted from each state’s citizens. Some of the federal money is in the form of grants, while other money is matching funds (if the state spends so much, they get so much from Uncle Sam).

It takes a lot of integrity for a state politician to give up this money and risk the ire of the voters. This is the reason so many states are going along with ObamaCare, Common Core, and dozens of other federal programs.

Now, an argument could be made that each individual program does not offer so much money that it constitutes a capture of state policy making. But when you add up the sheer magnitude of the bribe money coming in, there should be no question that the federal government is in violation of the intent of the 10th Amendment.

It also is worth noting that the amount was $561 Billion in 2013 (likely higher this year). With the federal budget in deficit, all this money had to be borrowed by the federal government. So our federal officials are using borrowed funds to violate the US Constitution.

This excellent piece on the history and specifics of “federal aid to states” is well worth the read.

Action Item: Pass a Constitutional Amendment prohibiting the federal government from providing part or all the funds for any program at the state or local level.

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