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America’s history of federalism defines what our country’s belief and value system is based on.  Our melting pot of cultures and different opinions have guided the basis of our government.  In comparison to other systems, federalism is the world’s most complex system that contains 88,000 bodies of legislation and there are hundreds of thousands of agencies amongst the entire United States and states have unique and different amounts of control in them.  One of the positive aspects to federalism is the many ways the public can influence policies and change their communities for the better by having the right to have their voices hear.  Another positive is that federalism helps increase the rate of economic growth which helps create more jobs and increase incomes.  A negative of federalism is because there are so many departments or agencies involved between the state and federal levels, sometimes that can create a delay in times of crisis such as natural disasters.  As the example in this week’s lecture mentioned Hurricane Katrina and the delayed responses from the government to aid those affected by the disaster.  The term “iron triangle” is most simply defined as when a federal agency works with an interest group and a congressional committee are work together for the like-minded agenda at hand and they set the policies for such association.  A well-known example of an administration that relies on the workings of the iron triangle would be the Social Security Administration.

When looking over the presidencies of Reagan and Clinton and how their federalisms differ showed in my opinion what each was trying to cut funds and where they were trying to broaden funds.  Reagan’s new federalism goals was to reduce the amount of grant programs and wanted to lower or eliminate some federal support for state programs.  The Clinton era and its new federalism wanted to decrease the military and reduce the power of the federal government and give more authority to the states.  He also wanted to reduce the federal participation of welfare for those Americans in need.  So, it seems that the goals may differ slightly per President, but the actions are similar; take money from one agency to give to another is part of the game plan.  While one agency may gain funds for their programs, others will suffer because of it.  It is a give and take system.

Regarding the President Trump and federalism, there is a dramatic difference from past presidencies and how they used federalism in their terms of leadership.  President Trump has had a history of throwing federalism out the window and take a more absolute power type of authority, which in most cases he does not have the authority to do. It seems in some cases involving certain states and the COVID-19 response, he has threatened the states with various consequences, and he did not have the right to do so.  I am not going to be too political here and bash any president as no one is perfect and mistakes will be made along with positive changes that each President has done.  As for this new era we just entered with the Biden/Harris presidency, I can only be optimistic and hope for our country’s future that things will get better for all of us, no matter what party you belong to. 

Works Cited:

https://news.bloomberglaw.com/us-law-week/insight-president-trumps-misunderstanding-of-federalism

Chapter 2: Federalism

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