Jerry Brown in China Fred DuFour/AFP/Getty Images

Can US States Right Trump’s Wrongs?

This is a good time to remember that the US is a federal system, not a unitary state with an all-powerful central government. So, can Americans who oppose the contraction of social programs and revocation of progressive federal legislation use US states’ authority to counter these trends?

VENICE – US President Donald Trump, with the help of a Republican-controlled Congress, is undermining many of the fundamental values that Americans hold dear. He is jeopardizing their access to health care by seeking to repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). His budget proposes massive cuts in everything from early childhood education to food stamps and medical research. His tax reform plan, and especially its much lower top rate for “pass-through” business income, implies significant further redistribution of income to the wealthy.

Most recently, his misguided decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement jeopardizes America’s global standing. Worse, it puts the health and welfare of the planet at risk.

This is a good time to remember that the United States is a federal system, not a unitary state with an all-powerful central government (think France). Its system is enshrined in the Tenth Amendment of the US Constitution, which stipulates that all powers not expressly assigned to the federal government are “reserved to the states.”

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