"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
That is the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution. With the debate on health care, cap and trade, and TARP/Stimulus, the 10th Amendment has become more relevant.
The healthcare bill in congress is not compliant with the 10th Amendment. It forces every citizen in the country to purchase a private product (health insurance) as a condition of citizenship. This type of top-down, Washington-based solution is not good for the country.
Ben Franklin said that in the system the Framers designed, the States would be the “incubators” of democracy. The design was for the States to come up with solutions, in competition with each other. The “competition” would make the country stronger. The genius is in designing a system that allows each state to compete against each other with ideas and solutions.
Dirigo-Health is a great example of this competition in action. Maine came up with a “solution” to get more people insured and lower costs. By any measure, Dirigo-Health failed. Other states with similar health care problems could learn by Maine’s experience and not duplicate our failure. Only Maine had to go through the cost and expense and the rest of the states got the benefit of the experience. The country is stronger as a result.
Texas was one of the first states to offer tax incentives for film production. People in the neighboring states of Louisiana and New Mexico saw that these incentives were creating jobs and investment in Texas, and not in their states. New Mexico and Louisiana developed their own tax incentives, and created educational programs to lure film production in to their states. This iterative process, driven by competition, makes each state more competitive. The competition makes companies who do business there stronger. The result is a stronger country.
The 10th amendment matters. States competing to solve problems is good for the country. The Federal Government needs to stop forcing solutions from Washington, and get back to letting the States compete for the best ideas.
Matt Jacobson is a Republican candidate for Governor of Maine. He currently serves as President and CEO of Maine & Company, a private business attraction company which aims to create jobs in the state of Maine.