Federal Subjugation of States
Roughly $235 billion dollars of the Federal budget is granted back to the States. About half of this is "mandatory" to support federally programs which are administered by the States. The other half is "discretionary".
Since the US Constitution retains many rights to the States the Federal government has no legal way to impose its will on how States manage themselves and their citizens. So the Federal government created a method of extortion to subjugate the States.
The Federal government collects revenue from the individual residents of the States through the their tax laws, then provides it back to the State governments for their programs through a system of grants whereby State governments must meet the requirements of the Federal government or get no money at all... even though it is from their own citizens.
The classic example of this that is remembered well by all who were around at the time was the 55 mph nationwide speed limit enacted in the 1970s. The Federal government had no legal way to mandate this as highways fell under the purvue of the States, but by threatening to withhold funds from States that didn't comply with the "request" the Federal government extorted cooperation.
A more contemporary example is the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Similarly if the States didn't comply with the "request" the Federal government would not return the money to the State and local governments whos citizens paid it.
It is my belief that this is illegal and detrimental to the States, local governments, and the citizens therein. It is an excellent example of a corrupt system. This same corrupt system claims to be the watchdog for private enterprise while holding their behavior and actions outside and above the law.