The steps taken to consolidate the states into one homogeneous “nation” range from capitalizing on the complete ignorance of two words in the Supremacy Clause (pursuance thereof) all the way to the distorted doctrine of incorporation. And each layer of usurpation erodes the constitutional structure laid down by the founders.

However, the easiest way to get the states to do the bidding of a central government and destroy a union of sovereign states is not found in a bastardized interpretation of one sentence in the Constitution or Supreme Court legal gymnastics. Erosion of state sovereignty is much simpler.

It’s all about the “free money!!!”

What kinds of “free money” does the federal government slosh around? The feds use subsidies, grants, loans, drones, SWAT tanks, healthcare, and even defense contractor related jobs to bribe state and local governments to do their bidding.

Today, we like to sugar coated terms and have developed a new syntax to allow us to sleep at night. We use words like enhanced interrogation instead of torture; traitorous leaker instead of whistleblower, and Nobel Peace Prize Winner instead of War Criminal. So let’s call “free money,” what it really is: today’s version of tribute.

Tribute is one of those words frequently used incorrectly. Most people say they pay tribute to an icon or an idea. But really, they are paying homage. Tribute, however, is defined as a payment by one ruler or nation to another acknowledging submission, or as the price of protection. And that is exactly what this “free money” is.

And it is by no means, free!

The grand illusion is that the federal government pays tribute to the states with all of its grants and handouts. But in reality, all states are being bled in the form of taxes to pay for some pet project in another state, while submitting their sovereignty to the feds for some sort of perk like security, jobs, and even job security for representatives. And if a state tries to free itself from the tangle of strings always attached to the money, the feds pull out the stick, threatening to yank the funding. Faced with a gaping budget hole,. states quickly fall back in line.

Anyone in opposition to this tribute usually gets fed these lines: “Do it for the children.” “It’s a matter of national security.” Or, “Who will build the roads?” If you are a representative who opposes “free money,” you can bet you will not have enough votes to pass the next election.

The system of tribute creates the illusion of benefit to the states, while funneling all control and power to the federal government. This flips the intended constitutional system on its head. While the states may claim control of education, transportation, law enforcement and a myriad of other objects that rightly belong under their authority, in reality the feds control things through the purse strings.

While it will prove a difficult road, states MUST begin weaning themselves from the federal feed trough. It will require courage, sacrifice, and strong political will. But ultimately, the future of the United States depends on it. The feds don’t have any money. Unless we want to see America go the way of Detroit, state lawmakers must take control of their own budgets, reassert their sovereignty and stop trowing shekels at D.C. politicians.

Kelli Sladick

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