The Tea Party's success has shown federalism, fiscal discipline, and small government to be enduring ideas that wide swathes of people support in North Carolina. Progressives, bureaucrats, and state legislators have co-opted this language and are in the process of twisting it into Wonderland distortions of the words' original meanings.
The latest example comes from the News and Observer editorial page, not surprisingly. In a complaint about deregulation, that is getting government out of the way, the N&O editorialists write, “these moves come from lawmakers who often complain about the intrusion of 'big government' into people's lives.”
This General Assembly has addressed annexation reform, zoning, and landlord registries to restrict local governments' power to intrude into citizens' lives. It also fits with a provision included in the budget to eliminate state regulations that are more burdensome than federal regulations.
Now, we can only hope that the Senate continues to apply this same logic to the creation of an ObamaCare health insurance exchange. Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, health care lobbyists, and legislators from both parties have all said that the state needs to set up its own exchange or the federal government will take over. But the state must meet all of the federal requirements and only has flexibility to add more regulations. This isn't federalism in any sense that matters, except to Mad Hatters.