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BACKGROUND ‘Halfway house’ between the concept of acentralised unitary state & the idea of aconfederation which would have been a weakassociation of autonomous states Grant ‘It arose out of a desire to bolster nationalunity whilst …accomodating regional diversity’ Wheare –method of dividing powers so that thegeneral and regional govts are each within asphere coordinate and independent A degree of decentralisation. Madison –a middleground. Compromise between federalists & antifederalists
FEDERALISM &CONSTITUTION Constitution does not mention words federalism, but inconstitutional terms the federal and state govts are seen asbeing of equal status within their own distinctive realms ofauthority Written into the enumerated (Article 1- federal Congress canlegislate on defence, currency, naturalisation of citizens etcand implied powers (not explicit but shown in constitution’swording Congress can make laws that are necessary andproper/general welfare – healthcare), concurrent powers(shared), and 10th amendment- links to reserved powers ofthe states – diversity of laws in the states Supreme Court settles any disputes about the division ofpowers between them and its judgements are binding. ChiefJustice Hughes 1907 – ‘We are under a Constitution, but theConstitution is what the judges say it is’. Mc Culloch vMaryland 1819
DEVELOPMENT Several factors have been adopted which haveserved to increase the influence of Washingtonover the states Constitutional amendments – 14th amendmentprovided equal protection of the law to all citizens–school segregation Supreme Court decisions especially 1937-1970s –allowed an expansion of national intervention –the congressional power to tax for the commondefence of the USA Financial – education, health, welfare (grants inaid)
DIFFERING CONCEPTIONS Relationship has fluctuated in different periods ofUS history Dual, cooperative, creative, coercive, new,progressive Categorical grants – grants from federal govt tobe used for specific purposes Block grants – discretionary grants, states canchoose how the money is spent State resurgence in late 20th century – reasons –election of state governors (Reagan,Clinton), lesstrustful of Washington, policy laboratories,Republican appointed Supreme Court decisions
PRESIDENTS Roosevelt- Great Depression & New Deal –deploy resources of centralgovernment/interventionist measures JFK – promised to take the country forwardwith federal money. Policy taken up byJohnson in Great Society programme .War onPoverty –categorical grants Nixon –new federalism –block grants Regan –new/dual federalism-reduction ingrants in aid and federal regulations
BUSH & OBAMA –FEDERALISTS? Clinton - era of big govt is over –wanted to cut budgetdeficit and spoke of increased opportunities for localexperimentation George W Bush- expansion of federal govt-homelandsecurity, expansion of Medicare and educationprogrammes and economic crisis Obama –progressive federalism? October 2009 –reversed the Bush policy of prosecuting medicalmarijuana cases in states which had legalised thepractice Critics argue that Obama’s record on the 10thamendment is mixed – he will let the states have theirown way when their policies please him
OBAMA – FEDERALIST? Granted California a waiver to allow it to raiseauto emissions standards, but called in thefeds when the state tried to cut payments tounionised health care workers Health care reform – demise of federalism?Currently states regulate the health insuranceavailable in their states. Under Obama’s planthe federal govt would take over the role ofregulator, leaving governors to implement newfederal framework
Federalism –a good thing? Allows diversity Frustrates the ‘national will’ Well suited to a geographically large nation Policy laboratories Protection of individual rights Continuous source of conflict Can mask racial inequalities Creates more access points
Conclusion Bennett – US Government and Politics ‘SomeAmericans may think that federal-staterelationship has at times got out of kilter, butmost believe that its strengths far outweigh itsweaknesses’ Degree of govt intervention has tended to varyaccording to economic necessities and the tideof public opinion. Sometimes public have hadconfusing aspirations – smaller govt butdecisive national leadership