My Latest Column: Washington’s Budgetary Seduction

In The Upside-Down Constitution, Michael Greve argues that the decision to establish a federal republic wasn’t about administrative convenience or about respecting the sovereign authority of the states that had declared their independence from the British crown. Rather, it was about protecting the interests of citizens by having state governments compete amongst themselves. With real competition, no state government could treat its citizens too shabbily, as these citizens would have the choice of finding a more congenial state government within the Union. To be sure, migration of this kind was an arduous process in the late 18th century, but the threat of large-scale defection was nevertheless a potent one that had the potential to keep would-be local tyrants in line. Over the last century, however, state governments have increasingly colluded with the federal government to dampen competition, just as business enterprises collude against their customers. 

So how can we restore real competition among the states? The first and best thing would be to establish clearer lines of authority between problems that ought to be handled by the states and by the federal government. That is the subject of my latest column for Reuters Opinion

Reihan Salam — Reihan Salam is executive editor of National Review and a National Review Institute policy fellow.

Most Popular


The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More
Film & TV

Why We Can’t Have Wakanda

SPOILERS AHEAD Black Panther is a really good movie that lives up to the hype in just about every way. Surely someone at Marvel Studios had an early doubt, reading the script and thinking: “Wait, we’re going to have hundreds of African warriors in brightly colored tribal garb, using ancient weapons, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More