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Protecting Children, Stifling States

August 1, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

At TPMCafe Nathan Newman writes that Congress has struck a deal on a strong new consumer safety bill that bans dangerous substances in children’s toys and bars individual states form enacting their own, stronger toy safety standards in the future. He point to a growing trend among today’s liberals to preempt the states:

> . One thing that distinguishes modern liberals from the New Deal left is that progressives back then assiduously expanded state authority to protect workers and consumers. The minimum wage enacted in the 1930s went out of its way to specify that the federal minimum wage was only a minimum and that states and local governments could enact higher wage rates. This has meant that when the federal government lags in protecting wage levels, states still have the ability to step into to raise the bar.
>Unfortunately, modern progressives have increasingly signed onto environmental, consumer and economic regulations that preempt state laws, meaning that when the federal government falls into the hands of conservatives, not only does federal vigilance fail but all proactive action by government can be blocked due to federal preemption. If Obama wins the Presidency, the question is whether progressives will recognize that he may not be in office forever, so policy should be designed to empower progressive legislators at the state and local level in order to safeguard progressive policy in the future, even when the federal government may be in hostile hands. .

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