This is not to suggest that states won’t feel pain from the automatic federal spending cuts. But the pain to be suffered is not self-inflicted, much like the many unfunded mandates that the federal government impose on them.

Washington’s disconnect with Americans has to do with its distorted view of the critical nature of federal programs. In fact, Congress has aggressively attempted to big-foot on the states in areas that were once theirs alone — a troubling trend.

For years, the federal government provided funds for local school districts and “impact aid” to districts with large concentrations of military personnel or civil service employees. Other than ensuring that districts receiving federal aid did not discriminate, curricular matters and standards for teachers were determined by the states…

The idea that if anything is really important, it needs to be the subject of a federal statute is a cherished belief among some members of the special interest group community in Washington. When successful, this arrogation of power is usually at the expense of the states. Although the 10th Amendment to the Constitution has become something of a laughingstock because of some exaggerated claims — including that states have the power to nullify federal law — it is not a meaningless ornament on our fundamental law. That it has been so routinely trampled on does not make it irrelevant.