Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Will the American left finally embrace federalism?

I had an argument a few months ago with Scott Lemieux about whether the left should be so centralist on federalism issues. For a while, I have thought that the US left could do well to refocus its energies at the state level, and to start defending some constitutional autonomy for states in court. As far as I can see, if the American left is going to have any forward momentum in the next generation, it is going to be in the states.

Well, Massachusetts is now poised to become the first state to offer universal health care. More would follow, and would have done so earlier, were it not for the Court's imposed restrictions on residency requirements for state social programs.

Update: Sensible man-of-the-left Kevin Drum complains about the "kludges" in the Massachusetts plan. The Pithlord is no helath economics wonk, but counters that this misses the bigger point. Once the principle of universality is conceded, it is always possible to come up with more efficient ways of delivering it, since there will be no lack of pressures to do so. Its the principle itself that matters. Massachusetts, then Hawaii, then NY and CA. LBJ ain't coming back, so there's no point pining after Washington any more.

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