Two Cheers for Federalism


Over at the Washington Times, Bruce Fein gives a long list detailing how the Democrats screwed federalism when they wuz in power. More interestingly, he then goes on a tear about the Republicans, who supposedly believe in federalism but have done exactly the same thing, concluding:

The Republican Party should return to the political enlightenment of Justice Louis D. Brandeis in New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann (1932): "It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country."

Whole thing here.

The only thing I take issue with is Fein's timeline: He suggests that the Reps didn't start cracking down on federalism until the '00s. I seem to remember Ronald Reagan–who campaigned on a "new federalism" platform–doing a pretty good job of centralizing power in D.C. when he had a chance. This he accomplished both through massively increased spending and, when he could, through policies that tied federal bucks to pleasing federal masters (for instance, that's the reason the drinking age went up to 21 during the 1980s). And, needless to say, federalism has been chipped away at pretty much since the ink on the Constitution dried. But kudos to Fein for calling bullshit on Republicans when it comes to federalism.