This is a season of lamentation for believers in the American federal system, or at least for those who believe state governments ought to occupy a position of honor and respect within it. States and their advocates complain that they are being bullied and pushed around by every branch of government in Washington: preempted, mandated, zeroed out, lectured to and generally dissed.
Decades ago, on a long car ride home from college, a friend of mine and I were talking about whether the liberal arts education we were getting had any practical use. He said he thought his might. He was majoring in medieval history, and in the event of a new Dark Age-- post-nuclear chaos or the aftermath of a huge natural catastrophe--he would know exactly what to do.
Nationally, six straight years of revenue declines have put enormous pressure on state and local governments, nevertheless, some are thriving. Standard & Poor's, the credit-rating agency, reports that it issued more bond upgrades than downgrades in 2012.
The Medicaid expansion and the Affordable Care Act are in full swing. With the influx of people who will be applying for benefits and the ACA requirement for online enrollment, it is more important than ever to verify the identities of those accessing benefits up front.