I want that toy
Just like a bus full of immature teenagers, the states play games to get the best seat, start rumors and have become experts in retaliation and revenge. Recently, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that will increase post production tax credits for TV and film production to 35%. The legislation was directly aimed at poaching California’s Hollywood projects.
A bad TV reality show
The losers are both California and New York from decreased tax revenues. The winners are the production companies, which started the tax war in the first place. It is not unreasonable to speculate that California will in some way retaliate with yet another bigger tax break for Hollywood. That way the production companies will win on both coasts.
The United States is such a leader in the free world but when it comes to our own domestic progress we seem to be decades behind our counter parts. How is it that the USA can be first or near the top in agricultural production, military hardware, defense spending and financial services, yet be slackers when it comes to healthcare access, education, poverty, clean air and water? My only determination is we usually act more like the 50 Divided States of America.
Wanna be countries
All of our divided unity can be traced back to 10th Amendment to the Constitution, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, or to the people.” (An excellent commentary is From States’ Rights to a Smaller Government, an End to a Noble Idea). While the “states rights amendment” empowered the states to perform basic housekeeping functions, it has also been interpreted as a wink and a nod to the states to enact really stupid laws to discriminate against its citizens or promote a pet industry at the expense of other states.
Move to the back of the bus
When the states feel their little fiefdoms are being threatened, they enlist their congressional delegation to introduce, modify or prohibit federal legislation that might diminish their economic or social interests. Oddly enough, it was during the civil war, when the most contentious states left the Union, that congress was most productive. After the civil war, the southern states again took up the mantel of “states rights” to pass Jim Crow laws that were seemingly protected under the U.S. Constitution. How much time and money have we wasted on states that don’t want to work as a team?
Each player has a different uniform
The whole issue of states rights has prohibited the federal government from applying a uniform set of regulations to a variety national problems. In 1945 congress passed the McCarran–Ferguson Act which essentially ceded control of insurance regulation to the states. Consequently, each state got to establish its own set of health insurance regulations. This is a boon for the insurance companies because they get a shot at influencing laws to their benefit in 50 different states as opposed to one federal jurisdiction.
The 50 state insurance regulation option means that health insurance plans and premiums can vary widely between neighboring states. In California, all individual plans must include maternity coverage and can’t charge a different premium based on your gender. However, there are states that don’t mandate maternity coverage as benefit and allow insurance carriers to discriminate based on gender. The existence of the McCarran-Ferguson Act neuters the argument that healthcare deficiencies could be fixed by allowing individuals to buy across state lines. Insurance policies could only be sold on a nationwide basis if they all had to adhere to a set of federal rules and regulations which is not permitted.
I don’t have to play, its my right
The latest sanctioned blow to united progress is the Supreme Court’s ruling that states do not have to participate in the expanded Medicaid program to extend health insurance to all U.S. citizens under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Out of pure spite for the ACA and against the best interests of their own citizens, certain states will opt out of the expanded Medicaid and create regional disparities in health care within the United States. Their selfish actions under the guise of “states rights” helps push our infant mortality rate, and other indicators of a healthy populace, far above what it should be for an industrial nation.
Get off the bus
I have determined that the United States will constantly have retarded progress towards fixing our problems because many states are more interested in protecting their own turf than working as a unified body. At this point, all the fighting between the states and with the federal government has made national policies virtually impossible. If a state thinks they can drive the bus better, let them secede from the union. It will be far easier to resolve disputes through the WTO than to have certain states constantly throwing sand into the gears of progress.