The New Uncivil War

Now that their Federal master can't afford them anymore, Arizona and Wisconsin are suddenly rebellious servants; other states must follow. Arizona didn't surprise when it diverged from its master's border policy but Wisconsin taking on teachers' unions is one Progressive family member turning against another, causing panic among relatives and adding civil war viciousness to the knee-jerk Federal response.

The Feds hauled Arizona into court to be spanked at leisure; with Wisconsin, national Democrats and their administration have precipitously invaded the state with high-powered campaign staff and cash to amplify the buses and teachers at the capital into an Egyptian street mob. That high-priced, high-stakes Federal intervention into state affairs clarifies the local Democrats' flight from their legislature and suggests that the Obamacrats may be overreaching again as they did with the Stimulus and ObamaCare. Their actions do have an audience.

Observers may consider Arizona a fair target for Federal reaction; border policy is clearly as much or more a Federal than a state matter and the reaction was targeted, not massive. Wisconsin's budget and work laws are local matters; the Federal reaction is very much an intrusion into what is properly state business. And the relatively massive intrusion-by-mob is undeniably an Federal attempt to intimidate a state government.

These preview a bigger show to come. The Federal wallet is empty; without it, the profligate states must face their own financial mismanagement since they lack the Federal ability to print money. However, just like the Feds, they're stuck in budget paralysis midway between their political promises and their real cash flow. Worse, though the Federal cash has dried up, Federal spending mandates remain, recently enlarged by ObamaCare and larger unemployment benefit requirements that many states can't afford. That, as they say these days, is unsustainable.

The Democrats are caught in a self-crafted trap; their policies (with Republican help) have bankrupted state and Federal governments but they fear the spending-cut cure as much as the disease: who rides the tiger, cannot dismount. State Democrats must answer to their voters; in Wisconsin, it appears those voters may recognize the impact of school spending in the state budget, forcing the state government to take on the unyielding unions. The national Democrats can't tolerate a threat to supporters so important to them as the unions; that splits the local from the national Democrats. With stop-spending voters on one side and you-can't-cut Feds on the other, no wonder the locals have dug their holes and pulled them in after them. This sort of thing can get very dirty before it's settled.

The Obamacrats are not limiting their attack on state independence to Wisconsin; reports have it advancing to Ohio, Indiana and Michigan with Minnesota in the wings. There will be more. Maybe the 10th Amendment failed to print in the White House version of the Constitution? But this has to be; the virus that could defund unions must be killed at any price before it can spread. If a few Dems are sunk by friendly fire, so be it. Washington pouring Egyptian-style street mobs onto independent state politics is just the beginning. The Feds' control of the states is as much at stake as the Democrat-union symbiosis; such stakes will magnify the resources poured into the game while removing entirely any rules of fair play.  Republican opposition to the Democrats' onslaught against state governments seems likely to be very careful.

This developing civil war pitting national Democrats against local Democrats and the Federal government against the states will progress to more states, powered by nearly universal budget deficits and political divergence between the needs of the locals to appease voters and the nationals to support clients. If the Feds prevail, state budgets will face ongoing tax increases to support spending that can't be cut, weakening state economies. If the states prevail, their economic recoveries will force the Feds eventually to follow...unless the retrenchments and their related pain interfere at elections or produce Egyptian-style street mobs of their own.

There are other directions from which streets full of angry people might come and those could interfere with the process we've been considering, though none of them would prevent it. A new stock market collapse for instance, will certainly complicate things and seems reasonably likely at some point. But the diverging interests of states, unions and the Federal government will have to be sorted out and reconciled in some way at some time and that time seems to have come.

Now that their Federal master can't afford them anymore, Arizona and Wisconsin are suddenly rebellious servants; other states must follow. Arizona didn't surprise when it diverged from its master's border policy but Wisconsin taking on teachers' unions is one Progressive family member turning against another, causing panic among relatives and adding civil war viciousness to the knee-jerk Federal response.

The Feds hauled Arizona into court to be spanked at leisure; with Wisconsin, national Democrats and their administration have precipitously invaded the state with high-powered campaign staff and cash to amplify the buses and teachers at the capital into an Egyptian street mob. That high-priced, high-stakes Federal intervention into state affairs clarifies the local Democrats' flight from their legislature and suggests that the Obamacrats may be overreaching again as they did with the Stimulus and ObamaCare. Their actions do have an audience.

Observers may consider Arizona a fair target for Federal reaction; border policy is clearly as much or more a Federal than a state matter and the reaction was targeted, not massive. Wisconsin's budget and work laws are local matters; the Federal reaction is very much an intrusion into what is properly state business. And the relatively massive intrusion-by-mob is undeniably an Federal attempt to intimidate a state government.

These preview a bigger show to come. The Federal wallet is empty; without it, the profligate states must face their own financial mismanagement since they lack the Federal ability to print money. However, just like the Feds, they're stuck in budget paralysis midway between their political promises and their real cash flow. Worse, though the Federal cash has dried up, Federal spending mandates remain, recently enlarged by ObamaCare and larger unemployment benefit requirements that many states can't afford. That, as they say these days, is unsustainable.

The Democrats are caught in a self-crafted trap; their policies (with Republican help) have bankrupted state and Federal governments but they fear the spending-cut cure as much as the disease: who rides the tiger, cannot dismount. State Democrats must answer to their voters; in Wisconsin, it appears those voters may recognize the impact of school spending in the state budget, forcing the state government to take on the unyielding unions. The national Democrats can't tolerate a threat to supporters so important to them as the unions; that splits the local from the national Democrats. With stop-spending voters on one side and you-can't-cut Feds on the other, no wonder the locals have dug their holes and pulled them in after them. This sort of thing can get very dirty before it's settled.

The Obamacrats are not limiting their attack on state independence to Wisconsin; reports have it advancing to Ohio, Indiana and Michigan with Minnesota in the wings. There will be more. Maybe the 10th Amendment failed to print in the White House version of the Constitution? But this has to be; the virus that could defund unions must be killed at any price before it can spread. If a few Dems are sunk by friendly fire, so be it. Washington pouring Egyptian-style street mobs onto independent state politics is just the beginning. The Feds' control of the states is as much at stake as the Democrat-union symbiosis; such stakes will magnify the resources poured into the game while removing entirely any rules of fair play.  Republican opposition to the Democrats' onslaught against state governments seems likely to be very careful.

This developing civil war pitting national Democrats against local Democrats and the Federal government against the states will progress to more states, powered by nearly universal budget deficits and political divergence between the needs of the locals to appease voters and the nationals to support clients. If the Feds prevail, state budgets will face ongoing tax increases to support spending that can't be cut, weakening state economies. If the states prevail, their economic recoveries will force the Feds eventually to follow...unless the retrenchments and their related pain interfere at elections or produce Egyptian-style street mobs of their own.

There are other directions from which streets full of angry people might come and those could interfere with the process we've been considering, though none of them would prevent it. A new stock market collapse for instance, will certainly complicate things and seems reasonably likely at some point. But the diverging interests of states, unions and the Federal government will have to be sorted out and reconciled in some way at some time and that time seems to have come.