1. States’ Budgets Limit Expansion of Government. State governments are not able to spend money they don’t have, a key check in the excessive expansion of government.  The states can’t print money into existence like the Fed can.  Many states, including Iowa, are limited by balanced budget amendments.  These limitations mean any expansion in government services must be accompanied by increased state revenue (taxes).  This direct link between state services and your wallet means you will be much more conscious as to whether or not the service is really necessary, and you will be more likely to ensure it is run efficiently.
  2. Reduced Moral Hazard. We have seen in recent years that the knowledge that the federal government will be there with bailouts leads to risky business decisions that wind up costing you money.  The same is occurring with many state governments.  As states like California, Illinois and Nevada have spent their way to the brink of bankruptcy; they are now looking to the federal government for a bailout.  Iowan’s tax dollars may soon be spent on other states’ fiscal irresponsibility as they made poor decisions that we had no say in.
  3. Reduced Lobbyist Influence. Centralizing power in DC allows lobbyists to concentrate their efforts on the 535 individuals that are dictating both policy and the distribution of tax money for the entire country.  Returning power to the states will not completely eliminate lobbyist influence, but with nearly 7500 state legislators nationwide, they will be spread too thin to manipulate the system as they do now.
  4. You Will Be Better Represented. Your state representative is someone you can get to know, he or she may even be your neighbor.  If you contact them, you are likely to get a quick and personal response answering the actual question at hand.  You will likely never meet your federal representative.  Send him or her a question and you will likely get a form letter response, often completely unrelated to the question you had.
  5. Iowans Making Decisions That Affect Iowans. If states retook authority usurped by the federal government, you and your neighbors would have much more impact on the regulations, laws, taxes, etc imposed on Iowan’s.  We would no longer need the approval of representatives from other states and their constituents when it came to determining how Iowa will be run.
  6. Innovative New Ideas for Government. The founders considered the states laboratories.  For instance, each state could experiment with policies and determine what works for them.  Competition as well as trial and error with collaboration between all 50 states would allow us to evolve to the most efficient delivery of services.
  7. Matching Federal Funds Encourages Overspending. When the federal government matches the funds from state government for a program, the state is incentivized to expand the program in order to get more of other people’s money through federal taxes.  The expansion is often on services that are of little benefit and run inefficiently because it is easy to spend other people’s money.  Keep in mind that the other states are doing this as well, this system encourages other states to expand unnecessary services in an effort to get YOUR money.
  8. Federal Tax Funds Held Hostage. The federal government holds our money hostage in an effort to micromanage our policies.  For example the federal government threatened to withhold state highway grant money (YOUR money) unless that state imposed a national 55mph speed limit.  This is a decision that should be left to each state.  To suggest the speed limit on long stretches of open road in Western states should be the same as the congested byways of the East coast defies common sense.  State representatives must then waste valuable time and resources passing numerous unnecessary laws and regulations to comply with federal guidelines in an effort to get their money back.
  9. Sending Money to Washington is Like Flushing it Down the Drain. The federal government adds an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy to the system.  Implementation of local projects and programs should not require sending money to Washington who skims a large percentage off the top before funneling it back with multiple strings attached.  We can do better.
  10. Federal Representatives would be Freed to Deal with National Issues. Federal representatives spend unnecessary time dealing with local issues instead of focusing on truly national issues.  Instead of dealing with their constitutional responsibilities such as national defense our representatives must determine if the latest spending bill includes bridges to nowhere built at Iowan’s expense.  If Alaska wants a bridge to nowhere they can fund it, don’t bother our representative asking for our money.
  11. Ignoring the Tenth Amendment Will Lead to Others Being Ignored. Allowing the federal government to ignore the 10th amendment which grants most of the responsibility to states, implies that we no longer take our founding document seriously, giving them implied permission to ignore other rights protected by the other amendments.  This has already begun.  The Patriot Act is in direct conflict with the 4th.  The 5th is ignored as land is seized by eminent domain, and citizens are targeted for assassination without trial.

These 11 reasons, as well as others, make a strong case for Iowa to reassert her sovereignty.  We must push our state representatives towards policies that stand up to the federal government’s theft of our authority.  If they prove unwilling to do so, as they have in the past, it is time to vote into office those who will.

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