The United States has a constitution in which a Federal Government is granted powers that are distinct from the power of the states that make up the Union. It is easy to think that as long as those distinctions are legally intact, that Federalism will continue to work at the Federal, State, and local level.
Don’t be naïve.
Those legal distinctions mean nothing of the Federal Government has the power to offer funding that is unavailable through other sources. Since the Federal Government has its own sources of taxation, including income tax, and since it can borrow far more money than the states, it has the financial power to constantly offer “gifts” to not only state but county and city governments. And every one of those gifts is a Trojan horse full or problems.
For example, what converts a sleepy local police force into a paramilitary outfit and hi-tech Big-Brother spy agency without any input from local voters? Federal “generosity.” Gene Healy reports for Reason Magazine on Senator Tom Coburn’s newly released study “Safety at Any Price: Assessing the Impact of Homeland Security Spending in U.S. Cities.” Healy shows incredible waste is sponsored by the Federal dollars flowing out, but then he writes,
“the media focus on “waste, fraud, and abuse” misses a graver problem with DHS’s decade-long spending spree. Sno-cone machines and “zombie apocalypse” parties aren’t the worst things DHS is underwriting. We ought to worry more about the proliferation of surveillance cameras, mobile biometric scanners, armored personnel carriers and police drones. As Coburn’s report recounts, with DHS’s help, local police departments ‘are arming themselves with military assets often reserved for war zones.’ For example, Fargo, N.D., which averages two homicides a year, bought a ‘new $256,643 armored truck, complete with a rotating [gun] turret” using homeland security funds.’ Closer to home, the Fairfax County Police Department used DHS funds to buy mobile, digital fingerprinting devices for its patrolmen. The Coburn report quotes a police lieutenant: ‘Sometimes officers just get a feeling about someone.’ The scanners can tell you if it’s ‘a housewife, or a businessperson, or if you’re really wanted by police.’”
The Revolutionary War was galvanized by the cry, “no taxation without representation.” Since we didn’t vote on the members of Parliament, they should not be taking our money. But we can also learn something important about civil government by reversing the slogan: no representation without taxation.” If our local police are getting massive amounts of free shwag from the Feds, then we no longer really matter. The Federal Government has effectively become the rich lobbyist to subvert our will.
And it is all done so seductively. Who doesn’t want free James Bond toys or special vehicles? By this process, the local police actually request the gifts and work to meet any requirements that are imposed. So the effective policy makers are not local, but the elites who live and work in Washington DC.
I really can’t express enough how dangerous this is. Our country is being taken over by people who are not authorized to rule it. Washington DC has no more business micromanaging your local police force than does Moscow or Beijing.
This is an alien invasion of the American people carried out by the power of fiat currency and seduction.