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Democracy Under Pressure


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Title: Democracy Under Pressure

Democracy Under Pressure
  • Chapter 3
  • The Federal System

The Federal System
  • In 1995, Congress passed a law allowing states to
    determine their own speed limits.
  • Many states increased their speeds to 70 miles
    per hour or more.
  • Why were 55-mile-per-hour speed limits imposed?
  • To save gas after oil shortages in the 1970s.
  • Insurance industry studies say fewer highway
    deaths at lower speeds.
  • Same law imposed penalties for not requiring
    motorcycle helmet rules and zero alcohol
    tolerance rules by withholding federal highway
  • To get federal funds, states kept lower speeds
    until Congress changed the law in 1995.

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The Federal System
  • The federal system.
  • Federalism involves constitutional power-sharing
    between a national and regional (state) units of
    government, each having their own jurisdictions.
  • Not every country has a federal system. For
    example, France uses a unitary system of
  • The nation is divided into administrative units
    called departments, uniformly administered
    through Paris.
  • All policies are set by a centralized government.

The Federal System
  • Although the national government exercises great
    power, it must share power with the states, which
    in turn exercise certain exclusive powers. For
    example, the Rodney King case of 1992.
  • Rioting in Los Angeles erupted when an all-white
    jury acquitted white officers of savagely beating
    Rodney King, a black detainee.
  • Police in Los Angeles were slow to respond, so
    the governor called out the California national
  • The president placed the national guard under
    federal control, and also sent federal agents and
    troops to put down the disturbance.

The Federal System
  • How power is to be shared in a federal system is
    the subject of continuing debate.
  • The relationship among national, state, and local
    governments touches all lives. It affects the
    outputs of the political system.
  • Federalism is one way to govern a complex nation
    and has become popular in the 20th century.
  • By 1964, more than half of the world's land mass
    was governed by some form of federalism.
  • Federal systems include Switzerland, Canada,
    Australia, Mexico, India, and Germany.
  • Unitary systems include France, Israel, and South

Democracy Under Pressure
  • Federalism The Pros and Cons

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The Pros
  • Federalism permits diversity and diffusion of
  • Local governments, not remote bureaucracies, deal
    directly with local problems.
  • System allows more levels of government and more
    opportunities for political participation.
  • Because of diffusion and fragmentation, there is
    better protection for individual rights.

The Pros
  • Many units of government provide more avenues for
    innovation, experimentation, and problem-solving.
    Many of FDR's New Deal programs copied the
  • It suits a large country with a very diverse
    population like the United States.

The Cons
  • Federalism permits some state and local areas to
    continue race discrimination (Southern school
  • Under a federal system, special interests and
    certain localities may exercise considerable
    influence on the politics and economy of a state
    or locality.
  • West Virginia is the second largest coal
    producer, yet pockets of poverty exist, due to
    several factors.
  • Special interests-the auto industry or oil-often
    frustrate efforts to solve national problems.
  • Local officials may understand local problems,
    but lack the skill and money of a federal
    government to solve problems sufficiently.

The Cons
  • Diversity makes national unity difficult and more
    costly to achieve.
  • Law enforcement and justice may be unevenly
    applied among the states.

Democracy Under Pressure
  • The Checkerboard of Governments

The Checkerboard of Governments
  • Americans complain they are highly taxed by at
    least three levels of government-national, state,
    and local.
  • The Census Bureau counted 87,576 governments.
  • This includes 3,034 counties, 19,429
    municipalities, 16,504 townships, 13,506 school
    districts, and 35,052 special districts.
  • Morton Grodzins says the federal analogy is not
    of a three-layered (federal, state, and local)
    cake, but a marble cake with all parts interlaced.

Cooperation and Tension
  • In a system of 87,504 governments, federalism is
    seen as a rivalry and a partnership.
  • New York almost went into economic default in
  • President Ford declined to help, but later
    relented and Congress provided billions in loans,
    leaving a bitter and protracted political

The Changing Federal Framework
  • From the 19th century until 1937, the concept of
    dual federalism prevailed.
  • This concept holds that the federal government
    and the states were seen as competitors.
  • The Supreme Court became the referee.
  • B. FDR's New Deal social programs changed the
    competitive relationship in dual federalism.
  • Courts approved of New Deal programs that
    established social welfare and public works

The Changing Federal Framework
  • Cooperative federalism emerged in which various
    levels of government are seen as related parts of
    a single governmental system, characterized by
    cooperation and shared functions.
  • Michael D. Reagan says no wall of separation
    should exist between state and federal
    government. He says federal financial aid creates
    "a nationally dominated system of shared power
    and shared functions."

The Changing Federal Framework
  • LBJ called his innovative Great Society programs
    "creative federalism."
  • Nixon launched "new federalism," which returned
    large chunks of federal taxes to the state and
    local governments.

The Changing Federal Framework
  • A new concept, regulatory federalism, requires
    the states to implement federal programs.
  • Regulations dealing with the environment and
    other concerns created new requirements for
  • The Clean Air Act of 1970 set federal standards
    for air quality.
  • In the mid-1980s, President Reagan proposed that
    the states pick up more of the costs of welfare
    and other social programs. Congress did not

The Changing Federal Framework
  • In 1996, the Republican-controlled Congress and
    President Clinton implemented a law to end the
    largest federal welfare program and turned the
    program over to the states. The federal
    government provides block grants to help finance
    state programs.
  • Many state governors and local officials often
    complained that "unfunded mandates" placed the
    states under severe financial strain.
  • Columbus, Ohio faced costs of 1 billion to
    comply with the Clean Water Act and the Safe
    Drinking Water Act.
  • New York City officials estimated costs of 1.3
    billion to modify elevators and accommodate
    disabled persons.

The Changing Federal Framework
  • One goal of the Republicans' "Contract With
    America" was to restrict such unfunded mandates.
  • The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act became law in
    1995, requiring Congress to fund mandates placed
    on the states unless a majority of the House and
    Senate voted not to do so. The law only applies
    to new legislation.
  • In 2002, Congress passed the No Child Left Behind
    Act, with the goal of insuring that all students
    were proficient in reading and math.

Democracy Under Pressure
  • The Historical Basis of Federalism

A Middle Ground
  • James Madison wrote to George Washington, arguing
    that while the states could be completely
    independent, the creation of "one simple
    republic" would be "unattainable."
  • The bargain struck at Philadelphia in 1787
    created the concept of a federal system, with its
    sharing of power by the states and national

A Middle Ground
  • There are a number of reasons why a stronger
    central government would have been unacceptable.
  • Public opinion would not have permitted the
    adoption of a unitary form of government. Loyalty
    to the states was strong.
  • The diversity of Americans-via regional
    interests, slow transportation, and great
    distances-worked against the establishment of a
    stronger central government.
  • Federalism was seen as an effective device for
    distributing authority between states and the
    central government.

A Tool for Nation Building
  • The collapse of European colonial states after
    World War II confronted Asia and Africa with an
    urgent problem how to organize their new
  • Create a strong central government and exchange
    one form of imperialism for another.
  • Unite in some kind of federation, permitting a
    semblance of self-governance.
  • In the United States, federalism permits a
    disunited population to join a political union,
    but allows some room for the development of a
    national identity.

Democracy Under Pressure
  • The Constitutional Basis of Federalism

Federal Powers Enumerated, Implied,
Inherent,and Concurrent
  • The Constitution established a framework for the
    American federal system.
  • Enumerated powers are specifically granted to the
    three branches of the federal government. For
    example, Congress has the power to coin money.
  • Implied powers flow from the enumerated powers
    and the elastic clause to give Congress the power
    to make all laws "necessary and proper" in order
    to carry out its enumerated powers.

Federal Powers Enumerated, Implied,
Inherent,and Concurrent
  • The Supreme Court has also held that the federal
    government has some "inherent" powers that it may
    exercise simply because it exists as a
  • One inherent power is the right to conduct
    foreign affairs.
  • The Court ruled in the Curtiss-Wright case that
    the "war power" is an inherent power.
  • The federal government and the states also have
    concurrent powers.
  • One concurrent power is the power to tax, a power
    shared by both the federal and state governments.
  • However, states cannot exercise powers belonging
    only to the federal government, nor can they take
    actions that conflict with the federal government.

The Supreme Court as Umpire
  • The Supreme Court serves as an arbiter in
    questions of state versus national power.
  • At times, the Court supports states' rights, and
    at other times it has supported federal power.
  • B. McCulloch v. Maryland (1819).
  • Ruling by Chief Justice John Marshall established
    the doctrine of implied powers giving the federal
    government the steps to move beyond the language
    of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court as Umpire
  • At issue Can the state of Maryland level taxes
    against a federal institution? Can Congress
    create a bank?
  • At stake What powers can be inferred by the
    federal government when invoking the "necessary
    and proper" clause?
  • Marshall ruled that the Tenth Amendment did not
    prohibit the exercise of implied powers.

The Supreme Court as Umpire
  • Marshall also ruled against the state, arguing
    that their power to tax was an effort to destroy,
    so therefore, the Maryland law was
  • As Chief Justice, Marshall established the
    concepts of implied powers, broad construction of
    the Constitution, and national supremacy.

The Division of Federal and State Power
  • The Tenth Amendment seems to limit Congress to
    powers specifically enumerated and delegated to
    the federal government by the Constitution.
  • In McCulloch, Chief Justice Marshall emphasized
    that the Tenth Amendment does not use the word
    "expressly" before the word "delegated."
  • In 1789, James Madison and others blocked the
    attempt to limit federal powers to those
    "expressly" delegated.

The Division of Federal and State Power
  • Chief Justice Taney invoked the Tenth Amendment
    to protect the power of the states.
  • Following World War I, the Court invoked the
    Tenth Amendment to invalidate a series of federal
    laws dealing with child labor and regulating
    industry and agriculture.
  • In 1935, the National Industrial Recovery Act was
    declared unconstitutional.
  • In 1937, the Court upheld the social security
    program and the National Labor Relations Act.
  • In 1941, the Court upheld the Fair Labor
    Standards Act.

The Division of Federal and State Power
  • In 1976, the Court struck down a federal law
    extending federal minimum wage and maximum hour
    provisions to state and municipal workers.
    However, that ruling was overturned in 1985.
    That was struck down in 1985's Garcia v. San
    Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority.
  • In 1995, the Court struck down the Gun-Free
    School Zones Act by stating the Congress has
    exceeded its authority when it passed a law
    making it illegal to carry a gun within 1,000
    feet of a school.

The Division of Federal and State Power
  • In 1996, the Court ruled that Congress could
    require the states to negotiate over gambling
    casinos with Indian tribes.
  • The Court also invalidated a key section of the
    Brady Law that required local sheriffs to check
    the backgrounds of gun buyers, declared states
    immune from lawsuits for violation of federal
    labor laws, struck down a key provision of the
    Violence Against Women Act (1994), and held that
    states need not respond to private complaints put
    to federal agencies.

The Division of Federal and State Power
  • Many state's rights advocates depend on the
    language of the Tenth Amendment for support.
  • They view the Constitution as a compact among
  • In can be argued that the national government is
    often viewed as representing the people, not just
    the states.
  • The "supremacy clause" makes it clear that the
    Constitution and federal laws and treaties are
    the supreme law of the land, prevailing over any
    conflict with state laws and constitutions.

The Division of Federal and State Power
  • Among many restrictions, states are forbidden to
    make treaties, coin money, or pass bills of
    attainder or ex post facto laws.
  • The Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth and
    Fifteenth amendments place further restrictions
    on the states.
  • Local governments derive their powers from the
    state, so state limits apply to them as well.

The Division of Federal and State Power
  • Federal obligations to the states
  • Guarantee a republican form of government to
    every state.
  • Protect the states from invasion or domestic
  • Congress may admit new states
  • Passing enabling legislation to admit new states.
  • Permitting them to write a state constitution.
  • Pass a joint resolution recognizing the new state.

The Division of Federal and State Power
  • Interstate Relations
  • Full faith and credit States are required to
    give "full faith and credit" to the laws,
    records, and court decisions of another state.
  • Normally means civil judgments made in a court in
    one state are expected to be recognized in
  • However, marriages legal in one state might not
    be recognized by another state. Example the
    Williams v. North Carolina case,
  • Privileges and immunities Citizens of each state
    are entitled to the privileges and immunities of
    citizens of the state they are currently in.
  • States still discriminate. Example in-state and
    out-of-state tuition for college students.

The Division of Federal and State Power
  • Extradition Upon request, a governor in one
    state can hold a person accused of a crime in
    another state, pending the person's being
    returned to the original state for disposition of
    the case against him/her.
  • Past governors have sometimes refused to
    extradite, especially in the cases of blacks who
    escaped from the South
  • The Scottsboro case is another example.

The Division of Federal and State Power
  • Interstate compacts States may enter into
    agreements with other states only with the
    approval of Congress.
  • One example The New York Port Authority, which
    allows New York and New Jersey to jointly operate
    three airports, Manhattan's bridges and tunnels,
    and the world's largest bus terminal.
  • Interstate compacts are a useful tool for
    planning and cooperative development in bi-state
    metropolitan areas, especially in the 20th

Democracy Under Pressure
  • The Growth of Strong National Government

The Rise of Big Government
  • As society grew more complex, the need to manage
    that population has spurred the growth of the
    national government.
  • The power to tax and spend for the general
    welfare have expanded.
  • Many of the social welfare programs took place
    under FDR's New Deal in the 1930s and in the
    1960s under LBJ's Great Society.

The Rise of Big Government
  • "The Reagan revolution."
  • Cut domestic spending in poverty programs like
    social welfare, food stamps, and housing
    subsidies for low-income people. The upshot the
    poor got poorer.
  • Some confusion mounted regarding what was
    accomplished In many cases, the cuts were
    reductions in what might have been spent.
  • Still, the impact was measurable Most of the
    budget cuts landed heavily on the poor.
  • According to the Congressional Budget Office,
    incomes of the very rich rose 75 percent

The Rise of Big Government
  • Under House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Congress
    dismantled and modified many programs and shifted
    the bulk of the federal welfare program over to
    the states.
  • Yet, the role of the national government is still
    debated. Many Americans still look to the
    national government to solve national problems.

Big Government and Foreign Policy
  • The responsibility of the federal government for
    the conduct of foreign affairs in the nuclear age
    has increased the size of the national
  • In 2005, the budget for national defense is
    estimated at more than 407.7 billion (16.7
    percent of the federal budget).
  • The State Department, CIA, and the National
    Security Agency have also increased in size.
  • Even with the collapse of the Soviet Union and
    the lack of a military threat, defense spending
    remains high because defense industries provide
    jobs for many Americans.

Democracy Under Pressure
  • The Impact of Federalism on Government and

Federalism and Government
  • Each state gets an equal number of senators,
    despite its size.
  • House members are chosen in local districts. They
    constitute an informal delegation from each
  • Federalism helps assure that the state and local
    court systems coincide with the federal system.
  • Federalism encourages senatorial courtesy, in
    which the president consults with senators of his
    party in a state before making an appointment.
  • The AFL-CIO, AMA, and ABA demonstrate that large
    interest groups also organize along federal lines.

Federalism and American Politic
  • Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts came from
    behind in the Iowa caucuses in January, defeating
    rivals Senator John Edwards of North Carolina and
    Governor Howard Dean of Vermont.
  • As a rule, national political candidates achieve
    victory long before their party conventions.
  • National political parties are organized along
    federal lines, as a federation of fifty state
    parties precariously held together by a national

Federalism and American Politic
  • State political machinery takes on special
    importance in building state parties and
    potential national leaders.
  • State political systems vary greatly in some
    states, there is lively competition, but in
    others, one party dominates. The quality of their
    performance also varies.

Federalism and American Politic
  • Policy outcomes in the states
  • Does the nature of a political system in a state
    affect the types of public policies adopted in
    the state? In other words, do the politics of a
    state make a difference? Answers vary.
  • States with large, two-party elections are likely
    to enact broad social welfare policies because
    both parties need the votes of the poor.
  • Later studies show that socioeconomic factors,
    rather than political, seem to account for most
    of the differences in welfare expenditures and
    for differences in taxing, spending, and social
    services between states.

Federalism and American Politic
  • Another study concluded that if taxing and
    spending were measured in terms of their
    redistributive impact, then the politics of the
    state was more important than the economics.
  • The federal system influences people's lives
    because the quality of the services provided by
    the states varies greatly.

Democracy Under Pressure
  • Federalism Today

Federalism Today
  • The Budget of the United States Government,
    Fiscal Year 2005 is a black-and-white volume the
    size of a telephone book and four-and-a-half
    inches thick.
  • Federal aid to the states has increased every
    year since 1950, with an estimated 416.5 billion
    going to the states in fiscal year 2005.
  • Categorical grants are also known as
    grants-in-aid. They are earmarked for specific
    purposes like Medicaid, pollution control,
    schools, and hospitals.
  • Block grants are used for community development.
  • General purpose grants may be used by states and
    localities as they wish.

Categorical Grants
  • The bulk of federal aid comes as categorical
  • This is money paid for specific purposes, as
    spelled out by law or administrative regulations.
  • Typical grants were in the fields of education,
    pollution control, and Medicaid.

Categorical Grants
  • Requires state and local governments to meet
    matching requirements. That is, the recipients
    must put up some of their own funds in order to
    get federal funding.
  • Requirements are determined by a formula that
    considers the ability of the state to pay Poor
    states pay less than rich states. However, all
    states pay the same matching share.

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Block Grants
  • These are used broadly at the recipient's
  • Major ones were community development, social
    services, health care, employment, and training
    and education.

Where the Money Goes
  • In fiscal 2005, an estimated 416.5 billion will
    be spent on states.
  • Almost all will go to categories that include
    health, education and employment.
  • Fiscal headaches in the federal system.
  • State and local spending has increased at a
    faster rate than federal spending.
  • Yet, the federal government collects 81 percent
    of the income tax, four times as much as the
  • Local governments rely on real estate taxes, and
    states rely heavily on sales taxes, both of which
    grow less rapidly than the economy as a whole.

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Regulatory Federalism
  • In the 1960s, regulatory laws were passed to
    impose strict standards on state and local
  • 1. Clean Water Act required cities to spend 120
    billion on building wastewater treatment plants.
  • 2. Other examples Civil Rights Act (1964), the
    Highway Beautification Act (1965), and the
    Occupational Safety and Health Act (1970). Other
    programs deal with endangered species, clean
    water and air, education, employment, the
    disabled, and age discrimination.
  • 3. Equal Employment Opportunity Act (1972) bars
    job discrimination on the basis of race,
    religion, sex, and national origin.

Democracy Under Pressure
  • The Future of Federalism

The Future of Federalism
  • The relationship between Washington, the state
    houses, and city halls has evolved over the
    years. Both conflict and cooperation remain.
  • New ideas have been introduced
  • Minnesota revamped a system of school aid to
    ensure equal funds for students, regardless of
    the wealth of the district.
  • By the mid-1990s, two-thirds of the states and
    the District of Columbia had adopted a "circuit
    breaker" system of property-tax relief for
    low-income homeowners and the aged.
  • The vast problems of metropolitan areas provide
    one of the greatest challenges to the federal
    system. More efforts are being made at developing
    new approaches.