Posts Tagged ‘centralization’

LeBron & the 10th

Fm: Keith Allison via Flickr

Sports commentators have suggested that one reason LeBron James chose Miami over Cleveland and New York is that Florida has no state income tax while Ohio and New

York do – a difference likely to make quite a difference to someone who will make gazillions of dollars.

This sort of choice, a political scientist might note, would not have happened in almost any other country in the world. I don’t mean hopping teams for tax reasons; apparently soccer players react similarly to tax differences between countries. I mean hopping teams within a country for tax reasons.

And that brings us to the 10th Amendment.

Voices are being raised to amplify the force of the 10th Amendment to the constitution, the plank in the Bill of Rights reserving much authority to the states. It is a plea for more states’ rights,  more local control – more cases like the income tax case, where states have their own laws.

Here is the irony: The U.S. is already one of the most politically decentralized nations (perhaps the most) in the modern world.  The unusually high degree of local authority is one of our distinctive features. Is that good or the bad? That depends.

The historical trend has been away from localism – although not much by world standards. Is that good or bad? That depends.


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