What are states, and what are they good for? Brother Rappaport had a very good law review article some years ago, arguing that for constitutional purposes, the word “state” means something close to “sovereign country.” (Of course, the Constitution explicitly strips the states of some of the traditional attributes of sovereignty, such as the power to wage war.) And the Supreme Court periodically swoons over the “dignity” of quasi-sovereign states. However, these and similar tributes to “Our Federalism” are increasingly at odds with reality. For operational purposes, “states” are best understood as undercapitalized health care and pension funds that write speeding tickets on the side.