Federalism Essay

Due to the immense power of our federal government, people often argue that it is too powerful and should be lessened. Since the 1990’s there has been an effort to shift power from the federal government to the states. States’ rights have been an issue since our country was first founded, and even now we can’t seem to please everyone’s requests at equal power. This country was founded with the attempt to separate the federal government and the state government, known as federalism.

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The goal of federalism is to divide the power of state and federal governments, protect the rights of the state (through the 10th amendment), prevent tyranny of the majority, and have a government that is close to its people. An example of federalism would be the freeways. They are owned and operated by the states, but the federal government sets down some basic guidelines that all states must follow and also provides funding. Federalism has certain advantages to it such as, state governments have the freedom to adopt policies which may not be followed nationally or by any other state.

For example, same-sex marriages are not recognized by the federal government but they are given legal status within the states of Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, etc. This is an advantage because this gives the state some freedom from the national government. If the federal government controlled every little thing that the state governments do then the states would riot out on certain polices that they do not believe in. Another advantage is division of work between the central and the regional government’s leads to optimum utilization of resources.

The central government can concentrate more on international affairs and defense of the country while the provincial government can cater to the local needs. If the national government was trying to handle everything states would get pushed to the side as less important. State governments know what the state needs more than the federal government. Also, people that are elected into the state government are able to get to know the people on a more personal level that in the federal government. However, there are also disadvantages to federalism as well.

An example would be that federalism does not eliminate poverty. Even in New York, there are poor neighborhoods like Harlem with a majority of black population. The reason for this may be that during policy framing, it is the intellectuals and not the masses who are invited by the local government. These intellectuals may not understand the local needs properly and thus, policies might not yield good results. Sometimes there can be overlapping of work and subsequent confusion regarding who is responsible for what.

For example, when hurricane Katrina hit Greater New Orleans, in 2005, there was delay in the rescue work as there was confusion between the state governments and the federal government on who is responsible for which disaster management work. This resulted in the loss of many lives. “I do believe people should have to work or get an education while receiving benefits. Nobody should get to get a ‘free ride’ through life! Nobody pays my way through life. I have to work for what I get.

That quote is the word of a twenty-two year-old female who holds down a full-time job, pays rent, and taxes. Some, like her, may feel contempt toward welfare recipients who do not work for their benefits. The welfare system is a program for citizens who need assistance, but it should be considered a privilege, not a free ride. Everyone wants-or possesses to want-to “end welfare as we know it,” even though the welfare system is still thriving. The new program on the market, Workfare, is a reform tactic that will get recipients into the work force and eventually off benefits.

Workfare is the obligation to do unpaid work in return for welfare. This obligation is in addition to the general obligation when on welfare to seek paid employment. If a person on social assistance is considered employable then participation is required. If not placed in one of the other programs such as employment support and employment placement, the person will be required to look for work and do community service. Along with what the government is already trying to do there should also be a program that teaches people responsibility.

Since the welfare system is so often abused people using the system so know how to manage money, look for employment, etc. How do we expect to get people to stop abusing the system if we don’t make them have to follow the rules? It should be if they don’t go to monthly meetings and participate then they can be kicked off. However, if it is the elderly, or mentally ill (mentally ill as in can’t function alone) then these terms shouldn’t apply. There are always certain terms to which every policy should go by, but if the welfare system continues this way then it is going to kill the country.

There is not enough money going into it as there is being taken out of it. Federalism is a major part of our nation. It plays a role in everything we do, and there are certain areas in the system that needs to be addressed such as welfare, abortion, gun control, etc. If these issues are not handled they could get very out of hand. Federalism is a separation of powers which is a good and sometimes bad thing. If federal and state governments could work together life for everyone would just be so much easier.

You may also be interested in the following: concept of federalism

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