Federal spending soaks up nearly 24 percent of the nation's income. That doesn't include the potential costs of ClintonCare. And the costs of federal programs exceed mere line-items on a budget. The feds can conceal the regulatory costs of such laws as the Clean Water Act by forcing state and local governments to come up with the money to pay for enforcement. The National Association of Towns and Townships estimates that these "unfunded mandates" cost taxpayers in cities almost $6.5 billion in fiscal year 1993. And unfunded mandates will get more expensive, costing nearly $54 billion over the next five years.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "You Can’t Make Me!".