If one happened to watch the presidential debate last night, or heard conservatives rail against Obama in the last four years, then one certainly has heard of the virtue in states rights. That is, the argument that states are better incubators for policy than the federal government, being closer to their citizens and more aware of problems within the state.
Mitt Romney himself stated over and over again in the debate last night, especially in fending off Obama’s attempt to equate Obamacare with Romneycare, that he would repeal the healthcare bill and leave the decisionmaking to the states. On the surface, it sounds attractive. Until one considers that in addition to GOP-corporate de-federalization campaign, there is a simultaneous and aggressive nationwide effort to write and pass conservative, pro-corporate state laws. Scott Walker’s work would be a prime example.
In Wisconsin, Scott Walker advanced an agenda that neutered public union collective bargaining rights, a tactic developed by ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. He also opened up the state to mining. Again, an ALEC-developed legislative campaign. And ALEC votes on these types of model legislation before the bills even make it to state legislatures.
In Moyers & Company’s documentary “The United States of ALEC,” the filmmakers, with the help of the Center for Media & Democracy, dive into the background and real world effects of ALEC. Involving several months’ work, it’s an enlightening education, to say the least.
As Bill Moyers himself narrates in the documentary, “ALEC is a nationwide consortium of state legislators working side by side with some of American’s most powerful corporations. They have an agenda you should know about. A mission to remake America, changing the country by changing its laws, one state at a time.”
One of the most alarming moments in the film occurs when Moyers notes that ALEC introduces 1,000 pieces of model legislation into America’s various state legislatures each year. Approximately 200 become law annually. This, according to ALEC’s own admission.
As one of the interviewees says, “If you really want to influence the politics of this country, you don’t just give money to presidential campaigns, you don’t just give money to congressional campaign committees. Smart players put their money in the states.”
Watch the video below.