- Governmental structure
- Federalism: good or bad?
- Definition: political system with local governmental units, in addition to
national one, that can make final decisions
- Examples of federal governments: Canada, India, and Germany
- Examples of unitary governments: France, Great Britain, and Italy
- Special protection of subnational governments in federal system is the result
- Constitution of country
- Habits, preferences, and dispositions of citizens
- Distribution of political power in society
- National government largely does not govern individuals directly but gets
states to do so in keeping with national policy
- Negative views: block progress and protect powerful local interests
- Laski: states "poisonous and parasitic"
- Riker: perpetuation of racism
- Positive view: Elazar: strength, flexibility, and liberty
- Federalism makes good and bad effects possible
- Different political groups with different political purposes come to power
in different places
Federalist No. 10: small political units dominated by single political faction
- Increased political activity
- Most obvious effect of federalism: facilitates mobilization of political activity
- Federalism lowers the cost of political organization at the local level.
- The Founding
- A bold, new plan to protect personal liberty
- Founders believed that neither national nor state government would have authority
over the other because power derives from the people, who shift their support.
- New plan had no historical precedent.
- Tenth Amendment was added as an afterthought, to define the power of states
- Elastic language in Article I: necessary and proper
- Precise definitions of powers politically impossible because of competing
interests, such as commerce
- Hence vague language--"necessary and proper"
- Hamilton's view: national supremacy because Constitution supreme law
- Jefferson's view: states' rights with people ultimate sovereign
- The debate on the meaning of federalism
- The Supreme Court speaks
- Hamiltonian position espoused by Marshall
McCulloch v.Maryland settled two questions.
- Could Congress charter a national bank? (yes, because "necessary and proper")
- Could states tax such a bank? (no, because national powers supreme)
- Later battles
- Federal government cannot tax state bank
- Nullification doctrine led to Civil War: states void federal laws they deem
in conflict with Constitution
- Dual federalism
- Both national and state governments supreme in their own spheres
- Hence interstate versus intrastate commerce
- Early product-based distinction difficult
- "Original package" also unsatisfactory
- State sovereignty
- Mistake today to think that doctrine of dual federalism is entirely dead
- Supreme Court limited congressional use of commerce clause, thus protecting
state sovereignty under Tenth Amendment
- Supreme Court has given new life to Eleventh Amendment
- Not all recent Supreme Court decisions support greater state sovereignty.
- New debate resurrects notion of state police powers
- Many state constitutions open door to direct democracy through initiative,
referendum, and recall.
- Existence of states guaranteed while local governments exist at pleasure
- Federal-state relations
- Grants show how political realities modify legal authority.
- Began before the Constitution with "land grant colleges," various cash grants to states
- Dramatically increased in scope in the twentieth century
- Were attractive for various reasons
- Federal budget surpluses (nineteenth century)
- Federal income tax became a flexible tool
- Federal control of money supply meant national government could print more money
- "Free" money for state officials
- Required broad congressional coalitions
- Meeting national needs: 1960s shift in grants-in-aid
- From what states demanded
- To what federal officials found important as national needs
- The intergovernmental lobby
- Hundreds of state, local officials lobby in Washington
- Purpose: to get more federal money with fewer strings
- Categorical grants versus revenue sharing
- Categorical grants for specific purposes; often require local matching funds
- Block grants devoted to general purposes with few restrictions
- Revenue sharing requires no matching funds and provides freedom in how to spend.
- Distributed by statistical formula
- Ended in 1986
- Neither block grants nor revenue sharing achieved the goal of giving states more freedom in spending
- Block grants grow more slowly than categorical grants.
- Desire for federal control and distrust of state government
- No single interest group has a vital stake in multipurpose block grants,
- Categorical grants are matters of life or death for various agencies.
- E. Rivalry among the states
- Increased competition a result of increased dependency
- Snowbelt (Frostbelt) versus Sunbelt states
- Difficulty telling where funds spent
- Difficulty connecting funds to growth rates
- Focus on formulas and their impact
- Census takes on monumental importance
- Federal aid and federal control
- Fear of "Washington control" and jeopardy of Tenth Amendment
- Failed attempts at reversal in trends (block grants and revenue sharing)
- Traditional and newer forms of federal controls on state governmental actions
- Conditions of aid tell a state government what it must do to obtain grant money
- Mandates tell state governments what to do, in some instances even when they do not receive
- B. Mandates
- Most concern civil rights and environmental protection
- Administrative and financial problems often result
- Growth in mandates, 1981 to 1991
- Features of mandates
- Regulatory statutes and amendments of previous legislation
- New areas of federal involvement
- Considerable variation in clarity, administration, and costs
- 1Additional costs imposed on the states through:
- Federal tax and regulatory schemes
- Federal laws exposing states to financial liability
- 6. Federal courts have fueled the growth of mandates
- Interpretations of the Tenth Amendment have eased flow of mandates
- Court orders and prisons, school desegregation, busing, hiring practices,
- Conditions of aid
- Received by states voluntarily, in theory
- Financial dependence blurs the theory
- b. Civil rights generally the focus of most important conditions in the 1960's, a proliferation has continued since the 1970's
- c. Conditions range from specific to general
- 2. Divergent views of states and federal government on costs, benefits
- 3. Reagan's attempt to consolidate categorical grants; Congress's cooperation in name only
- 4. States respond by experimenting with new ways of delivering services (e.g.,
child care, welfare, education)
- A devolution revolution?
- Renewed effort to shift important functions to states by Republican-controlled
Congress in 1994
- Key issue: welfare (i.e., the AFDC program)
- Clinton vetoes two bills, then signed the third, to give management to states
- These and other turn-back efforts were referred to as devolution.
- Old idea, but led by Congress
- Clinton agreed with need to scale back size and activities of federal government.
- Block grants for entitlements
- Most block grants are for operating and capital purposes (contra entitlement programs).
- 2. Republican efforts to make AFDC and Medicaid into block grant programs
- 3. Partial success and possible effects
- AFDC and a number of related programs are now block grants
- Possible triggering of second-order devolution
- Possible triggering of third-order devolution
- Dramatic decrease in welfare rolls increase in unspent dollars
- Surpluses and Medicaid costs, shortfalls in state revenues and funding surges
- What's driving devolution?
- Beliefs of devolution proponents
- Realities of budget deficit
- Citizen views
- Congress and federalism: nation far from wholly centralized
- Members of Congress still local representatives
- Members of Congress represent different constituencies from the same localities.
- Link to local political groups eroded
- Differences of opinion over which level of government works best