Free Federal Government vs Local Governments Essay Sample
Federalism is a form of governance. This type of governance has three structures and features which defines how it operates. It has two level of government: the central and the state or individual government. These two governments are independent and they have been allocated different powers and function. The central or the national government governs the country with the common policies at the state level while the state government is answerable to its electorate. In as much as the both governments are independent the central government has much control in terms of resource allocation and control of important arms of government such as security. The federalism type of government in the United States of America started in 1789.
The federal system of governance offers its people several benefits compared to unitary system of governance. Since the power is divided between two jurisdictions, that is the central and state government, the level of accountability and responsibility is high. While the national facilitate the provision of goods and services the state government will provide goods and services that are preferable by the people of that state. Because of the preference factor, different states will be competing amongst each other thus creating pressure on governments to respond to peoples needs.
The 50 states of the United States of America have different developmental and governing policies. This provides a foundation for learning from different and best policies. Principally, specific functions and responsibilities lie to the state government (Kasper, 1996). This is because the state government understands and have the knowledge the needs and the preferences of its people. Because of a high level of accountability, the electorate will be constraint not to work to the disadvantage of its people.
It is with the above reasons that I would prefer more power to be devolved to the state government rather than the central or national government. Since each state collets its own revenue and taxes the power should be vested on the state itself to mange and control its finances and resources. When power is delegated to the state to control taxes and expenditure, the electorate will not deviate from the needs of the people but rather enhance political responsibility and accountability (Brennan & Buchanan, 1983). With the autonomy to manage its own taxes and revenue, the level of progress is high. However, there is need for supervision of the state government by the central or the national government.
Supervision of the state government by the state should not interfere with its operation, but improve the standards, continuous support, reviewing the decision made, monitoring and evaluation of policies and intervention incase of disagreements or conflicts. The state government creates a close link between the rate of expenditure and revenue collection which creates voter awareness on the government expenditure on goods and services hence greater accountability and responsibility (Gemmell, Morrissey & Pinar, 2002).
Another aspect relating to taxes and expenditure is that states which rely fully to the central or national government for finances are vulnerable to run into deficits and the country would have high inflation rate, whereas states which have there level of expenditure have smaller deficit compared to government spending (R, Jonathan, 2003).
Nevertheless the function of both the national and state government should be reviewed from time to time to cope and adapt to the changing economic and social matters. The worst of the economic change is the recession which affected many sectors of the economy and other economies in the world. With better legislation at the state level such recession cannot be felt or the effect can be minimal.
The balance of political power between the central and the state government is very vital. There are other powers which are central to the operation of the national government and are of interest to the whole country and thus cannot be taken to the state government. Diplomatic and interrelation between America and other countries should remain at the national level of governance.
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The defense of the country should remain at the heart of the national government because of its sensitive and precautious nature. The financial issues, the appointment of defense secretary and the appointment of senior military officers are issues which cannot be handled at a state level. However, more intelligence power should be delegated at the grass root level. This will enable real time and accurate intelligence since the people at the local level understand what’s happening.
In determining what political powers should be left to the state government and what powers should be added to the state government it is important to discuss the importance of the state government authority. The state government discretionary authority and autonomy is described as the power of the state government to conduct its own affairs which circles in to the organization, function it performs, collecting and borrowing of revenues and the human resource aspect.
The autonomy of the state government is guided by four principles which decide which powers should be retained by the state government. This principle differentiates between the power of authority and autonomy and the power of immunity against the central or national government (Clark, 1984). The constitution of Colorado states that, ‘the people of each city and town of this state…. Are hereby vested with, and they shall always have power to make, amend, add to, or replace the charter of said city or town, which shall be its organic law and extend to all its local and municipal matters’. It continues to state that ‘such charters and the ordinances made pursuant to thereto in such matters shall supersede within the territorial limits and other jurisdiction of said city or town any law of the state in conflict there with’. Such laws and policies provide both the immunity and initiative o the local people of Colorado. These laws should be strengthened to wield more power at the state level and the people of that state. This will minimize the interference from the central or national government.
There are other state constitution which promotes initiative while compromising its authority and immunity. A good example is Pennsylvania constitution, which states that, ‘exercises any power or perform any function not denied by this constitution, by its home rule charter or by the general assembly at any time’. With loopholes from interference for m the central government more powers should be instilled ton create immunity to such states. The central government will have more hand in defining and limiting state power and jurisdiction.
Although some state government may create policies which make their localities to be vulnerable, the central government should intervene and regulate such laws and policies. A good example is the Connecticut constitution. It states that ‘the general assembly shall….delegate such legislative authority as from time to time it deems appropriate to towns, cities, and boroughs relative to the powers, organization and form of government of such political subdivisions’. As such more political powers should be vested in such state to create autonomy, initiative and immunity in terms of legislature to give it political strength. However, there are other state constitutions which are silent about there autonomy, initiative and authority.
The judiciary system, pension scheme, health care system should also be strengthened at the state level and be given more political powers. This is because they directly affect the people within the state. The political power should also be watered down to the citizens who are the voters and are affected by various legislations constituted by elected officials. The focus on entrenching rules, policies and regulation relating to the operation of the state may divert attention from the local citizen’s participation in decision making in respect to the structural and operational function of the state. The tax revolt in California in 1978 is perceived to be as a result of citizen’s perception of loss of control over local taxing policy.
The Pennsylvania constitution is regarded to have vested power to its citizens, because it permits its citizens to ‘cooperate, delegate, or transfer any function, power or responsibility to other governmental units, the federal government, any other state or any other state or governmental units, or any newly created governmental unit.’ It gives the local electorate the powers to ‘consolidate, merge or change boundaries without the approval of any governing body’.
The balance between the central government and the state government is very vital in the democracy of America. This balance will led to the advancement of the democratic representation in America, because of high level of accountability and responsibility at both the national and state level. After all, America is tasked with the responsibility of setting a good example to the rest of the world. Most nations in the world are trying top replicate the American system of government and it is up to us to show them how to do it correctly. If we fail here, our failure will be replicated across the world. But should we succeed, democracy and good governance will be a principle adopted and enhanced in all nations of the world. It is on this sound principles of governance that international cooperation will grow and disharmony rooted from our midst.