When our Founding Fathers drafted the Constitution they carefully balanced the power of the Federal Government with the States and the People. The President was elected to serve the entire country. The House of Representatives was designed to represent the People. The Senate was designed to represent the States. This is why the Constitution provided that the Senators would be appointed by the State Legislatures.
In this way, the Senators answered directly to their States – not the People and not the Federal Government. If the House passed a bill because it was “the will of the people” the Senate could defeat the bill if it was not in the best interests of the States. For example, if the People are demanding universal health care they may be able to get such a bill passed in the House of Representatives. However, if the bill had provisions that passed the costs onto the States and made our health care system worse (as it has in all countries in which it has been tried), then the States could defeat the bill through the Senate because the Senators answer to their State Legislatures.
The 17th Amendment states: “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State Legislatures.”
With the passage of the 17th Amendment in 1913 this vital protection of the States was eliminated. Now, the balance of power has shifted to the Federal Government. While the People still elect their Congressmen, they have no control over them. They now work for the Federal Government. Of course, they can be voted out of office but they will be replaced by persons who still work for the Federal Government. This is why the People no longer have any power over the Federal Government and neither do the States.
The Federal Government now uses its taxing authority to bribe the States into doing what it wants. If the Federal Government wants to, say, implement mandatory seatbelt laws, or minimum age drinking laws, or motorcycle helmet laws, it can simply withhold Federal money from the States until they comply. 1937 the Supreme Court ruled in Steward Machine vs. Davis that the Federal government could coerce the states into providing unemployment compensation by requiring that employers pay into Federal Unemployment if the States failed to provide for their own state unemployment.
Then in 1987 in South Dakota vs. Dole the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a federal statute that withheld federal funds from states whose legal drinking age did not conform to federal policy. This decision was the final nail in the coffin of states rights. The States are now completely subservient to the Federal government.