As time has passed since the founding of America the federal government increasingly regulates nearly all activity within the nation. While originally states were able to decide what is best for them, based on what local residents wanted, its now the feds calling the shots.
Or make that corporations.
Federal regulation makes it easy for corporations to get laws changed to their advantage. Lobby one group in D.C., get the entire country on board.
The latest shining example of this comes courtesy of internet retailer Amazon, which warned a House oversight committee that states and cities "must not be allowed" to regulate unmanned aircraft that get the Federal Aviation Administration's approval.
If Amazon wants to fly a drone in your backyard and the FAA gives it permission to fly a drone, it can put it in your backyard, so the theory goes.
Amazon argues that there should be only one set of rules for airspace, purpose and qualifications of drone aircraft, such as those that would be used in its drone delivery service.
For Amazon, this makes sense. It would be very hard to run a nationwide drone delivery service if some states or cities have strict requirements or ban these services entirely.
Yet that's precisely what states and cities ought to do. They already do it with airports, to ensure planes aren't flying over residential houses at all hours of the day and that planes fly in an orderly pattern so as to avoid chaos in the skies.
Commercial airlines are subject to a variety of such restrictions as they fly people across the country, meaning there's no reason why Amazon, the U.S. Postal Service or anyone else shouldn't be subject to the same set of rules as well.
The push for the new rules comes, as nearly always, from a billionaire looking to make more billions. In this case Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who notoriously fought the idea of paying state sales tax because his company was from the internet, is looking to mass-invade the rights of American citizens by lobbying DC, all so he can make a buck.
Its a case study in what's wrong with American democracy, not to mention the political process in Washington.
But don't expect Amazon to go down without a long, drawn-out, tooth and nail fight. Jeff Bezos didn't buy the influential Washington Post newspaper because he's suddenly into journalism. He bought it to lobby, hard, for changes, such as establishing a single American rulebook for robotic shipments, that benefit him personally.