The pros and cons of federalism have been the subject of debate since the creation of the republic.
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.
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.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Federalism
Federalism is a system of government in which sovereignty is completely divided constitutionally into a central authority and political units such as states or province. It is also a system where the central government shares the democratic and constitutional right with the province or state, as a result creating federation. Adolf Hitler viewed fidelity as a hindrance to his goals during Nazmas 1933 to 1945.Analytically people who had strongly not support for deisms up to date in South Sudan as an example poses the same fear Hitler had. Chinese did not support deisms since they thought it could act as a backdoor of succession and control of power will be in a central community or state. As a result of this fideism it has brought with it merits and demerits. This essay seeks to describe the significance of federalism as well as the demerits that come with it.
Federalism acts as a tool to protect against tyranny. One of the vital points in undertaking federalism is to act as deterrent to tyranny or runway power. Federalism divides the power between state government and national government and distribution of power to every state of government. Tyranny or runway of power has seen governments collapse but as a hindrance to that federalism helps to prevent such acts. Federalism diffuses the power since the three branches of government will have access to power of which is not in excess. Excess power in a group or state tends to influence rise in corruption. It increases citizen’s participation. This is archived through the state government which is closer to the citizens compared to the central government. Citizens take crucial part in the implementation of government policy and law making. Federalism also aids in conflict management by allowing different community states to make their own choices in terms of policies creating harmony. Those with strong differences can solve their differences in the state government. Federalism is efficient since by distribution of power it is easy to determine places with different problems. This is an advantage to the national government as power running is efficient. Innovation in policy and law is encouraged since state government can easily apply the policies and those not undertaken can easily be noted. The state government will therefore seek to adjust the policy in order to suit the people in the state.
Federalism has also its drawbacks. Federalism creates inequality between two states of the same country. For instance, education money set aside for the ministry to be used, states can opt to use more per chapter income in education than other states, and this will create in the state disparity. The same applies to other sectors. Another drawback is that elites or the rich in the state will try to proclaim their determination so that they may have a control of resources in the state. Major tribes or majority group in some state will try and build their kingdom and have influence over the state resource. Federalism can lead to tribal difference or conflicts and as a result vengeance and hatred will arise between the two states. With many states in the countries some will have poor policies, while other have good policy, others unresponsive or ineffective and corrupt while others doing well. The difference makes a country not stable.
In conclusion federalism has brought merits and demerits. As power is distributed to the states, one need to note that it has side effects, because it can influence change in people and implement policies, minimizes tyranny, encourages citizen participation in government work or even improve life standards because the government is near the citizens. However the state government should avoid tribal conflicts caused by it, use state resource well and ensure every sector receives equal share to avoid disparity.