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    Advantages and Disadvantages of Federalism – American Government 2e

    ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF FEDERALISM

    Learning Objectives

    By the end of this section, you will be able to:

    Discuss the advantages of federalism

    Explain the disadvantages of federalism

    The federal design of our Constitution has had a profound effect on U.S. politics. Several positive and negative attributes of federalism have manifested themselves in the U.S. political system.

    THE BENEFITS OF FEDERALISM

    Among the merits of federalism are that it promotes policy innovation and political participation and accommodates diversity of opinion. On the subject of policy innovation, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis observed in 1932 that “a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.”

    New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann, 285 U.S. 262 (1932).

    What Brandeis meant was that states could harness their constitutional authority to engage in policy innovations that might eventually be diffused to other states and at the national level. For example, a number of New Deal breakthroughs, such as child labor laws, were inspired by state policies. Prior to the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, several states had already granted women the right to vote. California has led the way in establishing standards for fuel emissions and other environmental policies ((Figure)). Recently, the health insurance exchanges run by Connecticut, Kentucky, Rhode Island, and Washington have served as models for other states seeking to improve the performance of their exchanges.

    Christine Vestal and Michael Ollove, “Why some state-run health exchanges worked,” USA Today, 10 December 2013.

    The California Air Resources Board was established in 1967, before passage of the federal Clean Air Act. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has adopted California emissions standards nationally, starting with the 2016 model year, and is working with California regulators to establish stricter national emissions standards going forward.(credit a: modification of work by Antti T. Nissinen; credit b: modification of work by Marcin Wichary)

    Another advantage of federalism is that because our federal system creates two levels of government with the capacity to take action, failure to attain a desired policy goal at one level can be offset by successfully securing the support of elected representatives at another level. Thus, individuals, groups, and social movements are encouraged to actively participate and help shape public policy.

    Federalism and Political Office

    Thinking of running for elected office? Well, you have several options. As (Figure) shows, there are a total of 510,682 elected offices at the federal, state, and local levels. Elected representatives in municipal and township governments account for a little more than half the total number of elected officials in the United States. Political careers rarely start at the national level. In fact, a very small share of politicians at the subnational level transition to the national stage as representatives, senators, vice presidents, or presidents.

    This table lists the number of elected bodies and elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels.

    Jennifer Lawless. 2012. Becoming a Candidate. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Elected Officials at the Federal, State, and Local Levels

    Number of Elective Bodies Number of Elected Officials

    Federal Government 1

    Executive branch 2 U.S. Senate 100

    U.S. House of Representatives 435

    State Government 50

    State legislatures 7,382

    Statewide offices 1,036

    State boards 1,331

    Local Government

    County governments 3,034 58,818

    Municipal governments 19,429 135,531

    Town governments 16,504 126,958

    School districts 13,506 95,000

    Special districts 35,052 84,089

    Total 87,576 510,682

    If you are interested in serving the public as an elected official, there are more opportunities to do so at the local and state levels than at the national level. As an added incentive for setting your sights at the subnational stage, consider the following. Whereas only 28 percent of U.S. adults trusted Congress in 2014, about 62 percent trusted their state governments and 72 percent had confidence in their local governments.

    Justin McCarthy. 2014. “Americans Still Trust Local Government More Than State,” September 22. http://www.gallup.com/poll/176846/americans-trust-local-government-state.aspx (June 24, 2015).

    If you ran for public office, what problems would you most want to solve? What level of government would best enable you to solve them, and why?

    The system of checks and balances in our political system often prevents the federal government from imposing uniform policies across the country. As a result, states and local communities have the latitude to address policy issues based on the specific needs and interests of their citizens. The diversity of public viewpoints across states is manifested by differences in the way states handle access to abortion, distribution of alcohol, gun control, and social welfare benefits, for example.

    Source : opentextbc.ca

    American Government, Students and the System, American Federalism, Advantages and Disadvantages of Federalism

    Advantages and Disadvantages of Federalism

    Learning Objectives

    By the end of this section, you will be able to:

    Discuss the advantages of federalism

    Explain the disadvantages of federalism

    The federal design of our Constitution has had a profound effect on U.S. politics. Several positive and negative attributes of federalism have manifested themselves in the U.S. political system.

    THE BENEFITS OF FEDERALISM

    Among the merits of federalism are that it promotes policy innovation and political participation and accommodates diversity of opinion. On the subject of policy innovation, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis observed in 1932 that “a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.”New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann, 285 U.S. 262 (1932). What Brandeis meant was that states could harness their constitutional authority to engage in policy innovations that might eventually be diffused to other states and at the national level. For example, a number of New Deal breakthroughs, such as child labor laws, were inspired by state policies. Prior to the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, several states had already granted women the right to vote. California has led the way in establishing standards for fuel emissions and other environmental policies (Figure). Recently, the health insurance exchanges run by Connecticut, Kentucky, Rhode Island, and Washington have served as models for other states seeking to improve the performance of their exchanges.Christine Vestal and Michael Ollove, “Why some state-run health exchanges worked,” USA Today, 10 December 2013.

    The California Air Resources Board was established in 1967, before passage of the federal Clean Air Act. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has adopted California emissions standards nationally, starting with the 2016 model year, and is working with California regulators to establish stricter national emissions standards going forward.(credit a: modification of work by Antti T. Nissinen; credit b: modification of work by Marcin Wichary)

    Another advantage of federalism is that because our federal system creates two levels of government with the capacity to take action, failure to attain a desired policy goal at one level can be offset by successfully securing the support of elected representatives at another level. Thus, individuals, groups, and social movements are encouraged to actively participate and help shape public policy.

    Federalism and Political Office

    Thinking of running for elected office? Well, you have several options. As Table shows, there are a total of 510,682 elected offices at the federal, state, and local levels. Elected representatives in municipal and township governments account for a little more than half the total number of elected officials in the United States. Political careers rarely start at the national level. In fact, a very small share of politicians at the subnational level transition to the national stage as representatives, senators, vice presidents, or presidents.

    Elected Officials at the Federal, State, and Local Levels

    Number of Elective Bodies Number of Elected Officials

    Federal Government 1

    Executive branch 2 U.S. Senate 100

    U.S. House of Representatives 435

    State Government 50

    State legislatures 7,382

    Statewide offices 1,036

    State boards 1,331

    Local Government

    County governments 3,034 58,818

    Municipal governments 19,429 135,531

    Town governments 16,504 126,958

    School districts 13,506 95,000

    Special districts 35,052 84,089

    Total 87,576 510,682

    This table lists the number of elected bodies and elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels.

    If you are interested in serving the public as an elected official, there are more opportunities to do so at the local and state levels than at the national level. As an added incentive for setting your sights at the subnational stage, consider the following. Whereas only 28 percent of U.S. adults trusted Congress in 2014, about 62 percent trusted their state governments and 72 percent had confidence in their local governments.Justin McCarthy. 2014. “Americans Still Trust Local Government More Than State,” September 22. http://www.gallup.com/poll/176846/americans-trust-local-government-state.aspx (June 24, 2015).

    If you ran for public office, what problems would you most want to solve? What level of government would best enable you to solve them, and why?

    The system of checks and balances in our political system often prevents the federal government from imposing uniform policies across the country. As a result, states and local communities have the latitude to address policy issues based on the specific needs and interests of their citizens. The diversity of public viewpoints across states is manifested by differences in the way states handle access to abortion, distribution of alcohol, gun control, and social welfare benefits, for example.

    Source : oertx.highered.texas.gov

    Federalism: Advantages and Disadvantages of Federalism

    Federalism quizzes about important details and events in every section of the book.

    Federalism

    Federalism US Government and Politics

    Study Guide Summary

    Advantages and Disadvantages of Federalism

    Summary Advantages and Disadvantages of Federalism

    The pros and cons of federalism have been the subject of debate since the creation of the republic.

    Federalism’s Advantages

    Proponents argue that federalism does the following:

    Fosters State Loyalties: Many Americans feel close ties to their home state, and federalism maintains that connection by giving power to the states.Practices Pragmatism: Running a country the size of the United States, with such a diverse population, is much easier to do if power is given to local officials. Likewise, state and local officials are closer to the problems of their areas, so it makes sense for them to choose policies to solve those problems.Creates Laboratories Of Democracy: State governments can experiment with policies, and other states (and the federal government) can learn from their successes and failures.Example: California has frequently led the nation in environmental regulations: Many measures adopted by California are subsequently adopted by other states. And during the 1990s, Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson experimented with welfare policy, and those experiments influenced federal welfare reform.Leads To Political Stability: By removing the national government from some contentious issue areas, federalism allowed the early U.S. government to achieve and maintain stability.Encourages Pluralism: Federal systems expand government on national, state, and local levels, giving people more access to leaders and opportunities to get involved in their government.Ensures The Separation Of Powers And Prevents Tyranny: Even if one person or group took control of all three branches of the federal government, federalism ensures that state governments would still function independently. Federalism, therefore, fulfills the framers’ vision of a governmental structure that ensures liberty.

    Federalism’s Disadvantages

    Critics argue that federalism falls short in two ways:

    Prevents The Creation Of A National Policy: The United States does not have a single policy on issues; instead, it has fifty-one policies, which often leads to confusion.Leads To A Lack Of Accountability: The overlap of the boundaries among national and state governments makes it tricky to assign blame for failed policies.Citizen Ignorance

    Critics argue that federalism cannot function well due to ignorance. Most Americans know little about their state and local governments, and turnout in state and local elections is often less than 25 percent. Citizens consequently often ignore state and local governments, even though these governments have a lot of power to affect people’s lives.

    Previous section

    Federalism in Practice

    Popular pages: Federalism

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    Source : www.sparknotes.com

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