Reduce state sovereignty to improve governance

Let me ask a question, can you name an instance where the states in opposition to the federal government were on the right side of history?  On a more mundane level, there are obviously huge inequalities in the quality of government between states.  Look at Kansas which has turned farcical under the poor management of Brownback.  Look at all the Republican states that refused Medicaid expansion, which ended up costing them money!

If we just abandoned this idea of state sovereignty we could drastically improve the quality of services in many poor areas (usually Republican-controlled) and reduce inequality stemming from arbitrary state borders.  The biggest sham is the idea of state block grants usually proposed by Republicans.  This, as far as I am aware, has never worked. States find ways to spend it on what they want or do so poorly.  See the sorry state of TANF  in Red states.

For instance here are some low hanging fruits if we got rid of this ridiculous notion:

  1. Health care.  Medicaid expansion should be mandatory It is ridiculous that anyone can refuse this, on either fiscal or moral grounds.  This is free and it helps the poor, especially poor children.  Even better we should just combine everything into one federal program and provided basic healthcare to all.
  2. Schools.  Currently schools are mostly financed by local property taxes.  This means schools in rich areas get more money when their students are probably going to do well regardless.  This is completely backwards.  Federal funding of schools would more equitable.  Furthermore, why are we not just having the government provide free open source textbooks for every subject written by experts?  This would save so much money and ensure a baseline level of quality of materials.  But no, we have to appease the idiots that are still horrified that evolution is taught in school.
  3. Taxes.  Many states are engaged in a race to the bottom offering staggering tax breaks to lure businesses.  This is a beggar thy neighbor policy at best and a beggar thyself policy in many cases.  If most of the tax base was at the federal level it would be much harder to get away with this.  Also, state taxes are regressive in general, while federal taxes are usually progressive.  We  can hope that a shift to federal tax collection would make a more progressive tax burden.
  4. Unemployment insurance and other welfare programs are a mess of state and federal programs.  I already mentioned the sorry state of TANF in many states, but it’s indicative of other programs neglected by states not very interested in providing for their poor.  And again, the poor are mostly concentrated in conservative states where these programs are skimpy.  Apart from reducing administrative overhead, federal consolidation of these programs would eliminate much of the wide disparity in the generosity of welfare among states.

 

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