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Federalism: the best medicine

Frustration with the federal government is nationwide. From Maine to California, folks are fed up with Washington’s health care “reform,” immigration “reform,” financial “reform,” and countless other missteps. But these issues are mere symptoms. The disease runs much deeper, right to the heart of the American system of government.

The shutdown, for example, was the result of an issue much larger than the health care debate. As Colorado State Senator Kevin Lundberg explains, the shutdown was caused by a disregard for one of the most important concepts in American government: federalism.

Federalism is a political structure in which power is balanced between the national and local levels. The Constitution describes a federalist system of government. The Founders wished for America to be a federalist, constitutional republic. Federalism is critical to the survival of a republic, but it’s being eroded as D.C. takes more and more control away from the states and the people.

Sen. Lundberg explains:

All of this concentration of authority into the central government is now proving impossible to manage. The people are disgusted with how dysfunctional national politics has become. I don’t disagree with them, but I hope they will see, regardless of their opinion of government control of medical care, that the only way to cure this dysfunction is to reestablish constitutional federalism.

In our state legislatures far too often we are not debating and deciding policy for our state, we are just implementing federal policies already dictated by Congress, the President, and even the courts. Laws today assume Washington is in charge of just about everything. If there was to be any superior authority in the balance of powers concept, it was to be the individual sovereign states, not the central government. But instead, the states have been relegated to a status of little more than a lap dog.

But the writers of our Constitution anticipated this possibility. They gave the states the tool they need to control a runaway federal government. In Article V, when 2/3 of the states call for a convention, they can initiate amendments for ratification instead of Congress.

You can read the full article here.

A Convention of States gives us the opportunity to restore federalism. We can take power from Congress, the President, and the Courts, and give it back to the states and the people, where it belongs.