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I've had a bee in my bonnet for the past couple of days about this. Was talking to my husband about how the country is too divided and big, it's just ungovernable because we can't even agree on basic policy.

I said, maybe this SCOTUS isn't all bad, with going back to states' rights? Maybe it's good if politics gets refocused to a local level.

Obviously I disagree that SCOTUS should strip the fundamental human right to abortion in favor of states' rights. But if it becomes a local issue, maybe other things will too? What about other hot button issues like healthcare?

I just looked up an article on the size of Nordic countries: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2014/08/will-everyone-shut-up-already-about-how-the-nordic-countries-top-every-global-ranking.html

They are only as big as a moderately sized US state. Finland is really small compared to some states. Yet they are able to protect women so much better, they have such better safety nets.... If we could refocus the federal government on highways and national defense (and cut the huge military bills, yikes), couldn't states start acting like these countries? Why can't states provide free childcare? Why can't they provide statewide healthcare for everyone?

Just wondered if anyone else has ever thought much on this. I really think a big state like New York or California could do some very bold things, if they would just focus on it.

Doesn't really fit on any other sub, so into our catchall this post goes!

I've had a bee in my bonnet for the past couple of days about this. Was talking to my husband about how the country is too divided and big, it's just ungovernable because we can't even agree on basic policy. I said, maybe this SCOTUS isn't all bad, with going back to states' rights? Maybe it's good if politics gets refocused to a local level. Obviously I disagree that SCOTUS should strip the fundamental human right to abortion in favor of states' rights. But if it becomes a local issue, maybe other things will too? What about other hot button issues like healthcare? I just looked up an article on the size of Nordic countries: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2014/08/will-everyone-shut-up-already-about-how-the-nordic-countries-top-every-global-ranking.html They are only as big as a moderately sized US state. Finland is really small compared to some states. Yet they are able to protect women so much better, they have such better safety nets.... If we could refocus the federal government on highways and national defense (and cut the huge military bills, yikes), couldn't states start acting like these countries? Why can't states provide free childcare? Why can't they provide statewide healthcare for everyone? Just wondered if anyone else has ever thought much on this. I really think a big state like New York or California could do some very bold things, if they would just focus on it. Doesn't really fit on any other sub, so into our catchall this post goes!

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I've wished we could have more of a EU situation. I've always been politically (and culturally) aligned w/ Nordic countries so I'd be on board with some kind of states rights, but that's only because I know my particular state is better off financially than say Mississippi or Missouri. Is that fair that women in Missouri can't then immigrate to my wealthy state w/ strong abortion rights?

That's the thing, you easily can move to any state that you want (aside from financial reasons). Legally any US citizen can move to any state. You might be poor and it might be hard, but you can do it. You can also travel to any state for any reason on a temporary basis. Those are constitutional rights that can never be taken away.

So really, if you don't like what is happening in your state you can always just leave. And there are 49 other choices.

The problem with implementing free healthcare at a state level is that there is free movement and basically no borders ("open borders") with the other states. So really sick people will move to states with free healthcare, overburdening the system. Also, a state's system will still not be a single payer with enough negotiating power to lower the outrageous prices pharmaceutical companies charge.

It's true that there's free movement and open borders within the EU. However, each country has its own health insurance system and they all recognize each other's systems. If you want to be treated using the national system of a different country, you need to show proof that you are up to date on your contributions in the country where you reside. Quite often, a break in coverage means you're no longer insured until you pay off the missing premiums/tax payments. This prevents overburdening of the system. I just don't see a US state doing something similar (and without coordination between states, that's not even possible). A state that decides to implement free healthcare will have to limit it to people that have resided in the state for a certain amount of time (except for minors) but that would be politically untenable. I just don't see it working without some type of federal mandate.

That's a good point. I can see it being burdensome to verify residency requirements too (like 5 years after age 25 or something?) or requiring proof of payment for health insurance premiums or coverage elsewhere during that time.

What a boon potentially to employers in those states to no longer have to deal with it though!

And I think a large enough state really might be able to pull it off-- California for example no on is going to move to for the cheap standard of living, and their economy is enormous. They really could negotiate pretty well with pharma, I bet.

I see what you are saying, but I really would love to see a big state try it out. Medicaid for all! Haha

It's true that California is extremely expensive but without any residency requirements, you could have people going there for medical tourism - with some conditions it could actually be cheaper to fly and go back than to pay the full price.

But even if you have some residency requirements, for some people with pricy illnesses (especially rare ones), it might still be worth it to move to a higher cost of living state - and having all the high cost patients concentrated there will be a problem.

It would be interesting if a few states tried it for sure. I'm just afraid it might end up a big problem without a federal law.

Yeah it could. I wonder if there would be an employment boom though to compensate. Oh well, it won't be my red-assed state, but it might make me want to move!

Definitely a high risk, high reward move, which government is not known for.

I've always been a HUGE believer in states rights, even if it means I sometimes live in a state that does shit I don't like because it stops sweeping federal legislation like what just happened in Canada.

Remember, worst case scenario- if the federal govt is in charge, R's can enact sweeping legislation that bans abortion in ALL states instead of just their individual states. So asking for sweeping federal change when YOUR party is in charge is basically handing the keys to the kingdom for the opposition when they are in charge.

Local level and state level. That's precisely how the US was meant to function. This massive federal behemoth causes way more problems than it can ever hope to solve.

I honestly used to believe as a good progressive that we should just cram change down the throats of people who are too ignorant and backward to get with the program. So this is a huge about face for me. Nothing has opened my eyes to how scary that kind of authoritarianism is like this gender nonsense-- I didn't even realize to the extent I was only getting filtered news from 'my side'. Makes you wonder what else we don't hear about.

Not to say that conservatives have it right-- I really really do not agree with a lot of things about conservatism or neoliberalism. But they may actually be right on this issue too, along with the gender stuff.

I dunno, I hate being wrong, but I am learning that a lot of what you think is right when you are young and inexperienced you live to regret.

I dunno, I hate being wrong, but I am learning that a lot of what you think is right when you are young and inexperienced you live to regret.

My dad used to say that most people were idiots. I used to argue telling him it wasn't true and defend the DUMBEST humans on earth time and time again. Boy did I have it wrong. lol.

A Pattern Language suggests that the ideal size of a country is two to ten million people. They argue that fewer than two million people and a country has a hard time holding its own internationally (though Iceland seems to be doing ok and it has the population of a medium-sized city) while more then ten million and ordinary people lose control of government to larger forces like big business lobbies. Others argue that a country with more than one million people is too big to be a participatory democracy and think Vermont is the ideal size.

You would just need a manageable way of coordinating things between many smaller governments.

To me the advantage to having more power at the local level is that you can have lots of smaller experiments and then others can copy the ones that work. That's happening at the city level with making cities more pedestrian-friendly and affordable – different cities try different things (when higher levels of government allow it) and see what works.

Right, I think marijuana legalization is a great example of the copycat thing. At first only a few states were doing this on a limited basis, but it took off almost everywhere because one state really leaned in to legalize it essentially completely and had pretty good results.

Two things to remember. First, originally "states' rights" meant the right to own other human beings. Second, most people advocating states' right in the present are only in favor of states' rights when it comes to state laws they agree with. They're all in favor of states' rights when it's draconian abortion laws in Texas. Not so much in favor of states' rights when it's stricter emissions standards in California. And they are ALL in favor of federalism when they're pushing for a federal law outlawing abortion or requiring all states to allow open carry.

I only used that term because if you say federalism it does confuse people sometimes. (Some people incorrectly interpret it to mean more federal power, IME.) But you are right that was the use of that term originally, and it does connote a more conservative meaning than federalism does, and is associated originally with defenses of slavery.

I think most people will interpret these issues to benefit themselves in some way. I do believe abortion is a fundamental right, which is not the federalist view to take of the issue. Constitutional rights trump federalism of course.

If we could refocus the federal government on highways and national defense

Ya that's kind of how it was supposed to work in the first place, but over the years we've given the government more and more power and turned it more and more into a nanny state.

[–] Fluffy_gender 6 points Edited

The federal government should focus less on highways because driving is environmentally wasteful and shouldn't be subsidized by non drivers (who tend to be less affluent than drivers). They should instead focus on a federal train network. Actually, the government should stop subsidizing driving altogether and let drivers pay the full price of their luxury - using toll roads and other similar measures. What needs to be subsidized and promoted instead should be environmentally responsible transportation such as rail. Even busses are better for the environment than cars.

The federal government should focus less on highways because driving is environmentally wasteful and shouldn't be subsidized by non drivers

Works for me. I'd love to have better public transportation, bike lanes, rail system, etc. Idk why everyone seems to enjoy driving so much, for the most part I'd prefer to do it as little as possible.

Yeah, it should be on states and cities to establish walkable neighborhoods, bike infrastructure, local rail and on the federal government to do something like bullet trains between states.

It would be pretty cool if you could take a railroad trip across the country the same way people now take road trips - and instead of having to pay attention the whole time, you can just relax, enjoy the views, walk around, read, sleep, play a game with your companion, etc.

Not to mention the boon that would be on women. Currently, a woman, especially a mother, in an abusive relationship almost always needs a car in order to escape and become independent, get a job, etc. It would be so much better if she can just get on the train to go to a new city or a new state, or even stay in the same city and get a job. And how much easier life would be for mothers if children could just take themselves to places and mothers didn't need to chauffeur them around until they're 16.

[–] banjo 1 points Edited

I don't really believe in states rights or think that power should be returned to the states. I think federalism is just an artifact of how the country formed and not the objectively best way.

The size argument doesn't make much sense to me. In the 18th century they thought a democracy/republic could only work in a city-state, but if Finland etc aren't too big then I don't see why the US is too big.

Why can't states provide free childcare? Why can't they provide statewide healthcare for everyone?

I support those efforts at the state level but I don't think it's necessarily the best way and definitely not easy. For one thing, it's the same reason the Federal govt can't, because the capitalist class don't want us to have those things let alone want to pay for it. But the states also have less options for funding than the Federal govt and less resources.

Yeah, but it's way easier for legislatures to get things done on a state level. That's the thing... Yeah, you'll have a whole lot of backward regressive shit coming out of the South and Midwest, but if progressive stuff can actually be put into action on the coasts, it creates a model that the backward states can then follow our of jealousy if nothing else. See the legalization of marijuana.

I dunno, I used to think like you, but I think my mind has changed on this. I mean why does it have to be national? It's hard as hell to get anything done in Washington. Too polarized. I don't think the capital class can lock things up quite as easily across 50 different legislatures as it can in just one. Anyway, they will always fight us on everything, so that's almost a non issue as it's always an issue.

you'll have a whole lot of backward regressive shit coming out of the South and Midwest

You'll have that when/if what? Is it just people focusing more on their local and state govts (if so I'm with you) or is it the SCOTUS reducing the power of the national govt over the states (then I'm not on board).

. Anyway, they will always fight us on everything, so that's almost a non issue as it's always an issue.

True, but I was trying to say that it's better to think along those lines when thinking about why the government isn't working, rather than things like it being too big.

To be clear I'm not trying to discourage any effort for statewide healthcare systems or similar projects. Mostly I'm against the SCOTUS reducing the power of the national govt over the states part, speaking from a backwards state here. Although I do ultimately think there are some things that if not 'have to be national' at least should be done nationally to be done properly.