ID Cards and Drinking 2 comments

Matthew Yglesias supports a new “smart card” drivers license if drinking age limitations are removed:

In a rational country we would let teenagers drink and then I’d be cracking down on fake IDs in good conscience,…

I agree 100% with this position but I don’t support a tradeoff with new federally mandated drivers licenses.
The text of the 2002 bill, HR 4633, which NDOL says will be reintroduced is here. Its purpose:

… to establish standards for State programs for the issuance of drivers� licenses and identification cards, and for other purposes.

I don’t understand how congress gets to set state standards for this (it’s late, so help me out here) or how the $300 million bribe included in the bill to help the states implement the new smart cards would be near enough to entice the states to give up their authority to the feds.
There are other aspects of the proposed legislation that bother me much more.

Some examples,

(6) Identification card technologies that can accommodate other government and private applications will provide the best return on the investment in the new cards.

What other goverment and private applications might these folks be thinking of? Perhaps a tracking device that any level of gendarme can use to locate you? Let your imagination run wild with this.
And this:

2 thoughts on “ID Cards and Drinking

  • Lilith

    I don’t understand how congress gets to set state standards for this (it’s late, so help me out here)
    Two words: Commerce Clause.
    The Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce. It’s incredibly easy to tie something like driver’s licenses to interstate commerce – travel, tourism, employment mobility, yadda, yadda, yadda. That would be how they get around the argument that it should be regulated by the states.

  • Steve

    Thanks Lilith. Makes me think that removing the commerce clause should be a higher priority then some of the other amendments that folks are floating these days.

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