The Federal System as an Institution of Government
The Institution of Federalism
The Nature of Man
Good, or Not So Much?
Confederal, Federal, Unitary
Ways Governments Relate
The Federalist Dessert Tray
Laboratories of Democracy
Why do we do this?
Feds, Speed and Sp. Ed.
Mandates and Devolution
Can the Tide Turn?
The Institutional Model:
Policy as an Institutional Output
Political Science has an intrinsic focus on institutions.
The Three Branches:
Legislative, Executive, Judicial
The Federal System:
National, State, Local
It can’t really be PUBLIC policy until it is adopted by a governmental institution.
Government policies possess:
Legitimacy (authorized power)
Universality (applied uniformly)
Police Power (Dye calls it coercion)
Because I DON’T trust you…
Two questions before we can begin:
One is philosophical:
The Nature of Man
On is structural (and highly dependant upon your answer to the first question!)
Confederacy or Federal system (anyone for unitary?)
The Great Beast?
Man is inherently good, and only needs to be empowered vs. Man is inherently selfish, power-hungry and greedy, and needs to be restrained.
Federalist: Optimistic, but suspicious of the mass of mankind; wanted to check the power of the demos
Anti-Federalist: More optimistic about mankind, but suspicious about POWER; wanted to check the power of the rulers
The Nature of Man?
NOT Perfect; but not irreversibly Evil incarnate. Sinful, but redeemable.
The Constitution must control our “lesser angels” and keep our appetites in check
"In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution." --Thomas Jefferson
How Do Governments Relate?
Unitary Nation State
States vs. National Government
The power originates in the citizens!
Separation of Powers and Federalism
The principles that the powers of government should be separated into multiple branches and multiple levels.
It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?
If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.
In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.
A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.
Calls for political authority to be distributed between a central government and the government of the states. (“Shared Power”)
Both the federal and state governments may act directly on the people
Each has some exclusive powers
Political authority is spread out to prevent power from being concentrated in any one group
Which all sounds like a really great plan, BUT…
Imperium in Imperio
The contradiction of federalism:
How can you have a state within a state?
How do you know who’s in charge?
The Convention and Compromise
Federalists and anti-federalists
Federalist: Strong national government
Anti-federalist: stronger state role; want guaranteed rights for citizens
A federal system was “more than just a reasonable principle for governing a large country divided by regional differences…the only realistic way to get the states to ratify the constitution.” (Wasserman)
An Experiment in Self Governance
Both the state and federal governments “are in fact but different agents and trustees of the people, constituted with different powers” (Madison)
The levels of government would keep a check on each other’s power, much as the three branches reign in each other’s powers.
But, there was no historical precedent to predict that the experiment would work!
Who Rules and to What Ends?
“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” (Madison)
Hamilton Argues for national supremacy, Jefferson for state’s rights.
In the end, we have both the Supremacy Clause and the 10th Amendment.
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
The tenth amendment:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Remember: the amendments of the Bill of Rights were part of a political deal to appease the concerns of the anti-federalists
When is 6 greater than 10?
When you ask the courts.
Two Significant Cases:
McCullough vs. Maryland (1819)
An expansion of federal powers
Said that the Necessary and Proper Clause (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 18) gave Congress the flexibility to create a National Bank as an aid to carrying out its enumerated borrowing and taxing powers and that Maryland's taxation of the bank violated the Supremacy Clause (Article 6, Clause 2)
Laid the groundwork for a significantly more significant federal government!
Answered a pivotal question about who would be the “most equal”
This is especially important in terms of both the size and scope of the federal government and in terms of the balance of powers
John Marshall Puts in His $.02 Worth on Federalism:
“Let the ends be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the Constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited, but consistent with the letter and the spirit of the Constitution are constitutional.” (McColloch v Maryland)
One More for the Road (or the bay)
Gibbons vs. Ogden (1824)
established that the power to regulate interstate commerce was an exclusive national power
forbade states from enacting any legislation that would interfere with Congress's right to regulate commerce among the separate states.
Woodrow Wilson, Political Scientist
The relations of the states and federal government cannot be settled …“by one generation, because it is a question of growth, and every new successive stage of our political and economic development, gives it a new aspect, and makes it a new question.”
How Many Governments?
One National Government
Fifty State Governments
89,476 Local Governments!
2.5 million Federal Employees
3.8 million State Employees
11.05 million Local Employees
Almost 1 million local officeholders!
State Centered Federalism:
“You’re not the boss of me!”
Post Civil War – 1930’s
National Supremacy in specific areas mentioned in Constitution
State Supremacy in all others
The New Deal (1913-1964)
States and Federal Government work together to solve BIG problems
Meet conditions of aid as required by federal grants
New Federalism (1980-85)
Reagan (actually, New-New. Nixon was New.)
Didn’t last long, did it?
Political controls are the only things left protecting federalism
Poor Old Federalism…
She’s not dead yet…
She doesn’t want to go on the cart…
Are we at the end of true federalism?
A Little Visual Aid:
The Federalist Dessert Tray
Layer Cake (Dual Federalism)
Marble Cake (Cooperative Federalism)
“The frosting has moved to the top.”
Some Strings Attached
If this is so complicated,
Why do we do it?
What’s the “upside”?
#1 – fewer tyrants
As an extra added bonus:
Policy diversity – like biodiversity, only better!
And, best of all…
Laboratories of Democracy
It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system," Justice Louis D. Brandeis wrote in 1932, "that a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country."
Besides, It Isn’t Really That Complex.
(It all comes down to money!)
Pikachu, I Choose YOU!
“What many of us forget when we think about ‘the government in Washington’ is that it spends much of its money and enforces most of its rules not on citizens directly, but on other, local units of government.” Wilson, p. 52
A Sampling of State Policies Subject to Federal Pressure:
Downtown Improvement Districts/ Empowerment Zones
Environmental Programs for Clean Air and Water
The Intergovernmental Lobby
Superintendents of Schools
State Directors of Public Health
County Highway Commissioners
Local Police Chiefs
ALL count on federal funds!
Like any lobby, they want more money with less strings!
Not just putting conditions on a grant, but telling a lower level of government what to do.
States hate these.
States impose these on their own local governments.
Mandates come from Legislative, Executive AND Judicial actions.
Agency Rules and Regulations
Telling a lower level of government what to do AND not providing the funds to do it.
States REALLY Hate these.
You guessed it: States impose these on their own local governments
In 1995, the new Republican Congress enacted a new Federal Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, banning unfunded mandates. They also increased funding for the Toothfairy…
Speaking of the Speaker - Devolution
Devolve: to send responsibility and sometimes resources to a lower (more responsive?) level of government
Combination of devolve and revolution
Negative spin: Reversing an evolutionary trend
James Q. Wilson Gets the Last Word:
“Finally, Americans differ in the extent to which we like federal as opposed to local decisions. When people are asked which level of government gives them the most for their money, relatively poor citizens are likely to mention the federal government first, whereas relatively well-to-do citizens are more likely to mention local government. If we add to income other measures of social diversity-race, religion, and region-there emerge even sharper differences of opinion about which level of government works best. It is this social diversity, and the fact that it is represented not only by state and local leaders but also by members of Congress, that keeps federalism alive and makes it so important. Americans simply do not agree on enough things, or even on which level of government ought to decide on those things, to make possible a unitary system.” (Wilson, page 80)