Federalism is key to solving poverty
James Weill. President of Food Research and Action Center. “The Federal Government— the Indispensable Player in Redressing Poverty” June 2006. http://www.frac.org/pdf/Weil06.pdf. Accessed July 8, 2009.
The federal role, moreover, does not mean that individual self-reliance, a strong and effective charitable sector, a more supportive workplace, and engaged state and local governments are unimportant. The federal government does not substitute for the role of other sectors that themselves are critical components of a broad social strategy to build economic security, develop opportunity, and reduce poverty. American history, economic and government structure, politics, and culture all mean that a robust economy, a civil society, and vibrant state and local government are fundamental to economic security. But having real national leadership in the mix is essential.
Federalism not Modeled – Generic
U.S. federalism isn’t modeled abroad – countries look to Europe or South Africa instead.
AMERICAN DEMOCRACY: Once upon a time, the U.S. Constitution was a revolutionary document, full of epochal innovations—free elections, judicial review, checks and balances, federalism and, perhaps most important, a Bill of Rights. In the 19th and 20th centuries, countries around the world copied the document, not least in Latin America. So did Germany and Japan after World War II. Today? When nations write a new constitution, as dozens have in the past two decades, they seldom look to the American model.
When the soviets withdrew from Central Europe, U.S. constitutional experts rushed in. They got a polite hearing, and were sent home. Jiri Pehe, adviser to former president Vaclav Havel, recalls the Czechs' firm decision to adopt a European-style parliamentary system with strict limits on campaigning. "For Europeans, money talks too much in American democracy. It's very prone to certain kinds of corruption, or at least influence from powerful lobbies," he says. "Europeans would not want to follow that route." They also sought to limit the dominance of television, unlike in American campaigns where, Pehe says, "TV debates and photogenic looks govern election victories." So it is elsewhere. After American planes and bombs freed the country, Kosovo opted for a European constitution. Drafting a post-apartheid constitution, South Africa rejected American-style federalism in favor of a German model, which leaders deemed appropriate for the social-welfare state they hoped to construct. Now fledgling African democracies look to South Africa as their inspiration, says John Stremlau, a former U.S. State Department official who currently heads the international relations department at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg: "We can't rely on the Americans." The new democracies are looking for a constitution written in modern times and reflecting their progressive concerns about racial and social equality, he explains. "To borrow Lincoln's phrase, South Africa is now Africa's 'last great hope'."
American federalism isn’t modeled – multinational states prove
Alfred Stepan, Professor of Government at Oxford and Columbia, 1999, Journal of Democracy 10.4, 19-34, “Federalism and Democracy: Beyond the U.S. Model,” muse
In seeking to understand why some countries are reluctant to adopt federal systems, it is helpful to examine what political science has had [End Page 20] to say about federalism. Unfortunately, some of the most influential works in political science today offer incomplete or insufficiently broad definitions of federalism and thereby suggest that the range of choices facing newly democratizing states is narrower than it actually is. In large part, this stems from their focusing too exclusively on the model offered by the United States, the oldest and certainly one of the most successful federal democracies. One of the most influential political scientists to write about federalism in the last half-century, the late William H. Riker, stresses three factors present in the U.S. form of federalism that he claims to be true for federalism in general. 1 First, Riker assumes that every longstanding federation, democratic or not, is the result of a bargain whereby previously sovereign polities agree to give up part of their sovereignty in order to pool their resources to increase their collective security and to achieve other goals, including economic ones. I call this type of federalism coming-together federalism. For Riker, it is the only type of federalism in the world. Second, Riker and many other U.S. scholars assume that one of the goals of federalism is to protect individual rights against encroachments on the part of the central government (or even against the "tyranny of the majority") by a number of institutional devices, such as a bicameral legislature in which one house is elected on the basis of population, while in the other house the subunits are represented equally. In addition, many competences are permanently granted to the subunits instead of to the center. If we can call all of the citizens in the polity taken as a whole the demos, we may say that these devices, although democratic, are "demosconstraining." Third, as a result of the federal bargain that created the United States, each of the states was accorded the same constitutional competences. U.S. federalism is thus considered to be constitutionally symmetrical. By contrast, asymmetrical arrangements that grant different competencies and group-specific rights to some states, which are not now part of the U.S. model of federalism, are seen as incompatible with the principled equality of the states and with equality of citizens' rights in the post-segregation era. Yet although these three points are a reasonably accurate depiction of the political structures and normative values associated with U.S. federalism, most democratic countries that have adopted federal systems have chosen not to follow the U.S. model. Indeed, American-style federalism embodies some values that would be very inappropriate for [End Page 21] many democratizing countries, especially multinational polities. To explain what I mean by this, let me review each of these three points in turn.