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News Could you give power to the states?

  1. Oct 5, 2009 #1

    mgb_phys

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    Someone reopened an old thread which had devolved into mud slinging but it made me think.
    Is it possible to move power to the individual states/
    This is the same problem facing the EU but from the other side - in the eu all new rules eg. to remove trade barriers, seem to lead to a more federal state - would the US face the same problems coming from the other end?

    Some points that have caused problems in europe:

    You allow free movement of workers, do workers in eg. Texas then object to those people from Chicago taking their jobs (in the same way they might object to foreigners?)
    If Florida has better subsidized health care for seniors do you stop people from N. Dakota retiring there?

    US states already have more individual tax powers than eu countries, would it be a problem if all US companies registered in Delaware or some other state tax haven? In the same way that US companies worked out of Ireland to reduce tax.

    If some state subsidized it's own industry would you have trade sanctions stopping cheap potatoes going to Minnesota and cheap cheese being dumped in Idaho?

    Are states in the middle at a disadvantage? If oil is landed in Texas can Texas then charge a huge duty on it before piping it to north? Could Ca make Long Beach a duty free port so Japanese cars or chinese DVD players are tax free - would other states then tax these when they arrived at their state line?

    Do territorial waters belong to the state? So do Alaskan fishermen have to share their King Crab quota with boats registered in Utah?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 5, 2009 #2
    That's not how it works. The jobs do not belong to the citizens in Chicago, it belongs to the market and private firms have the right to give that job to whomever they want. Furthermore, you assume that there is only a fixed amount of jobs and that if Texas individuals take Chicago jobs, this somehow subtracts from the amount of jobs available. As prosperity increases, old firms can expand and open up more jobs and new companies can start from scratch.

    But you do being up some interesting points.
     
  4. Oct 5, 2009 #3

    mgb_phys

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    Yes but that doesn't seem to be the attitude when the job is taken by an immigrant!
    I just wondered if the same reaction applied when the job was taken by somebody the same nationality.
     
  5. Oct 5, 2009 #4
    That's a very interesting and timely question.

    A health insurance salesperson licensed in N. Dakota can't sell a policy to a person in Florida and a N. Dakota citizen (with a N. Dakota policy) typically isn't insured if they move to Florida. The reverse is also true (Florida salesperson and insured moving to N. Dakota).

    In the case of health insurance, every state issuing it's own mandates and approvals is a major part of the national health care problem.
     
  6. Oct 5, 2009 #5

    Ygggdrasil

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    This is the attitude when the job is taken by a legal immigrant (or at least it is according to the law). Illegal immigrants are the ones who some people have problems with.

    This does cause some problems in the US, but it is not something that people are fundamentally looking to change. California has many problems because it, in general, has higher taxes and more strict regulations, so many companies stay away from headquartering in California. Of course, there are still ways to enforce some of these regulations (i.e. regulations on goods sold in CA, like emissions standards for cars) that force companies to meet their standards if they wish to access the large market of consumers in CA.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2009
  7. Oct 9, 2009 #6
    While in the US there are some contentions between states as to taxes and things of that nature we pretty much have a stream lined network between the individual states. The States are not really in contention with one another when it comes to their people in the way peoples in Europe may be.

    The problem with illegal immigration is that illegals do not pay their share of taxes which puts an unfair weight on the US social systems. If they were legal, they would be required to pay taxes and would have to make at least minimum wage. If that was the case they could not undercut the citizen working the same job.

    This is a overly simple explanation, but I hope it make since.

    The Federal taxes and State taxes are coordinated between each other to avoid undue burden. I don't think you would find any one place in the country where they were not reasonable balanced out.
     
  8. Oct 9, 2009 #7

    cristo

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    But this is the exact 'problem' that Europe is facing (which, I presume, prompted mgb's point). Whilst a minimum wage exists, I think it's fair to say that there are many jobs paid above the minimum wage. Thus, workers from another area could undercut locals by simply being paid less to do the same job. This is currently happening in the UK with, say, Italian or Polish workers (to name but a few). There's nothing that a minimum wage can do to stop such undercutting.
     
  9. Oct 9, 2009 #8
    I think in the US the system is different. I don't think we have many illegal immigrants who are taking jobs from people who are actually making large amounts of money. Usually they are working in physical skilled/unskilled labor. A bricklayer can make up to $30 dollars an hour if he has a few years of experience. He can get undercut by an illegal for half that and there is your problem. The illegal does not pay taxes yet still has access to public schools, and emergency room. Also any children born in the country are citizens.

    This is a problem with illegals, but not really a problem with citizens who are working across state borders. The tax system is pretty elaborate, but usually the business will have to worry about cross state taxes. The individual only has to worry about their income taxes on the Federal level and in their state of residence.

    I imagine this is a very complex issue in Europe.
     
  10. Oct 9, 2009 #9

    cristo

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    But the people I'm talking about are not illegal immigrants-- any EU citizen can come into the UK and work without restriction, under European law. Hence the analogy with Europe could possibly arise where someone from one US state is willing to work in another for a wage less than that of the locals.
     
  11. Oct 9, 2009 #10
    Ah, I see. That is a rather unique problem.
     
  12. Oct 11, 2009 #11

    f95toli

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    Not quite true. Even if the workers are employed by a company from another EU country some national rules still apply to them (even if they don't actually live in the country where they work, quite common for e.g. construction workers).
    This has been an issue in Sweden where the labour market is actually quite deregulated in the sense that that most conflicts are handled by the unions (which are strong, partly because if legislation) and the organizations representing the employers , the government does not really get involved (there are no laws about minimum wage etc).
    The unions have been trying to force foreign companies/workers to follow agreements made between the unions and employers (working hours, agreements about minimum wage) and so far they have been quite successful, most of the ruling in the EC court have been in their favour and they have been able to force foreign companies to sign up to some local agreements.

    edit: fixed a typo
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2009
  13. Oct 11, 2009 #12

    cristo

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    What's not true about my statement? I said that any EU national can come and live and work in the UK with rights equal to those of a UK citizen. This is correct, at least for the UK.
     
  14. Oct 11, 2009 #13

    f95toli

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    True, but what I did not agree with was your statement that e.g. Polish and Italian construction workers (that still live in their respective countries but come here to work for a few months at a time) can automatically undercut British workers because of EU regulations. As far as I understand the British government (or more likely the unions, since they are the ones that would act) could -in accordance with EC law- prevent these workers from working here if they could show that they were paid less than the minimum wage in the UK. Even it that wage would be much higher than the average wage in e.g. Poland.
    I am not sure it the unions could argue that they should also be paid according to national agreements between unions and employers, simply because the system here is quite a bit different here from what it is in Sweden and such agreements only exist for a few sectors (civil servants etc).

    Most of the conflicts so far have been about workers that are not living here permanently but just come here to work for a short while (usually because a contract has gone to e.g. a foreign construction company who then brings their own workers with them)
    Once someone is actually living here permanently it is no longer really an issue, since they as you say just have the same rights an obligations as anyone else (and the same bills, meaning you have to pay us a decent salary:wink:).
     
  15. Oct 11, 2009 #14

    cristo

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    I wasn't thinking of immigrant workers remaining living permanently in their respective countries, but still, I don't see that it makes much of a difference.

    Of course the employers wouldn't be allowed to pay them less than the minimum wage; this isn't the point I was making. I merely said that, since most of these wages are paid above the minumim wage, foreign employees will be able to come in and undercut the British workers (especially if they plan on returning home after several months). It's this undercutting that will happen and, until recently, there's not a lot that can be done about it!
     
  16. Oct 11, 2009 #15

    f95toli

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    It makes a huge difference. The salaries in the UK are much higher than in most other parts of the EU but so is the cost of living. This means that someone who works here but has his-her family in e.g. Poland can get by on a much smaller salary than someone who lives here permanently. Not too long ago even minimum wage here was still much higher than the average salary in many other countries (and it is still true in some parts), which is why you had well-educated people coming here to work as unskilled labour. However, once someone settles here they have have the same expenses as anyone else meaning they will need (and demand) a higher salary.

    I can take myself as an example; my salary is probably about 30-40% higher than what it would be in Sweden and the taxes are lower. However, my rent here in London is also about 3x as high as for a similar flat in Stockholm so my standard of living is about the same. I would never take a job here where the salary was at the same level as in Sweden, it would make much more sense for me to leave England and try to find a job in Stockholm (or -more likely- somewhere else in Europe).
     
  17. Oct 12, 2009 #16
    I am failing to see the objective of the argument. The problems that exist in Europe are similar to those of the United States in regards to the US's illegal immigration problem. Between the states the problem is not as big as we have a federal government overseeing the interactions between the states and for the most part the free market fills in any gaps that might be found lacking in the inter-state relationships. The problem in Europe as I understand it is their is not an overseeing government agency that can actually prevent the problem you are describing. I am not saying that a single governing body would be the best solution, I'm saying that is why the United States does not have a problem. It took a civil war for all the states in the United States to submit to the cooperative Federal government as all the states have.
    The problem with Mexico is that their is no single overseeing authority in place to resolve the problem. Mexico certainly doesn't want to put a total stop to illegal immigration and their is no humane way to stop it completely.
     
  18. Oct 12, 2009 #17

    cristo

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    No they're not. The 'problems' mentioned in this thread have nothing to do with illegal immigration: perhaps you're not understanding the points put forward.
     
  19. Oct 12, 2009 #18
    That is the point, he is trying to compare apples and oranges. The interstate workers relationship is not a widespread problem in the United States. The problems being outlined for Europe more closely resemble the problems the United States has with illegal immigration. Their really isn't that big of a problem between the states in the United States.
     
  20. Oct 12, 2009 #19

    cristo

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    But that was one of the points in the OP. It was a question: is the inter-state movement of the workforce a problem in the US, and does it put a burden on certain states? The answer to that question could be no, without having to draw incorrect analogies with illegal immigration.
     
  21. Oct 12, 2009 #20
    This is off topic, but how are the analogies incorrect?

    I believe the illegal immigration discussion entered the topic in later posts, not in the original question.
     
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