Federalism: Federalism in the United States and Grants Categorical Grants Essay

Submitted By watermilonn
Words: 610
Pages: 3

Reasons for a Federal System in the US
Unitary government
Confederate system was also undesirable
A federal system:
Allows unity, but not uniformity (it allows for a difference between the states
Is more suitable for geographically large nations (again allowing for differences)
Is more suitable for heterogeneous people (again allowing for differences)
Racial makeup up of NY vs Montana
Federal System Makes the Government Less Efficient
Our system allows for blocking or delaying of majority action
We are satisfied to have a system that works slowly if it protects our rights
Federal System
Frees the federal government to concentrate on truly national matters
Frees state from excessive intrusion on strictly/local matters
Exceptions: federal mandates, especially unfunded mandates (No Child Left Behind)
***Encourages experimentation: states as “laboratories”
e.g. gambling in Nevada which has spread to other states, legal marijuana in California which is also spreading
Keeps the government closer to the people
Local needs can be addressed at the local level
It allows multiple access points to meet the needs of the people
Historical Developments of Federalism
Dual Federalism (layer-cake metaphor)
Layer Cake Federalism
Prevalent until about 1937
Cooperative Federalism
Marble Cake metaphor
Mingling of responsibilities between the state and government
New Federalism
There had been a shifting of some responsibilities from the federal government back to the states
Associated with Nixon, Reagan, and especially the 104th and the 105th Congress (under Clinton)
This was a Republican Congress (divided government) and this shift of power back to the states has been called the “Devolution Revolution”
i.e. continued use of block grants over categorical grants (favored Democrats) one such example would be the Welfare Reform Bill of 1996
Obama = Marble Cake

Block Grants v. Categorical Grants ***
A grant that is usually large that is given with only general provisions
Categorical grant:
Supreme Court Actions that Support Devolution
Struck down the Gun Free School Zone Act in 1995 in U.S. v. Lopez
The court ruled that Congress overextended itself when it linked gun control to the interstate commerce clause
Federalism and Federal Grants
The Trend
As fed gov’t gets more powerful, it used state and local gov’t to administer programs that are federally funded
Why? The dollar amount of these grants has consistently risen in the last several decades, though there has been a variation in grants as percentage of federal expenditures