An Essay on Fiscal Federalism

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Category: Federalism
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According to the article Principles for State-Federal Relations “preamble”, Federalism is ultimately the system of governments. It is described as the balanced relationship between the state or local government and the federal or national government, and the powers divided between. While the national government holds specific powers granted by the United States Constitution, the state and local governments are reserved all other powers. As stated in the article, some the different principles of federalism include laws or guidelines such as state standards being upheld, Congress not intervening with states revenue systems, the judicial branch valuing states authority, a federal intervention if a state fails to act on certain issues, exercising federal forbearance, and lastly that there should be both federal and state programs.

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All of the principles stated are laws that the National Governors Association (NGA) mentions, in order to keep a balanced working relationship between states and the federal government. For instance, in regards to the judicial branch respecting state authority, the NGA believes that this helps limit federal intrusion by encouraging the restoration of the Tenth Amendment, powers not delegated to the United States are reserved to the states.

Also, with something such as designing state and federal programs, this should provide an opportunity for transformation as well as enabling both the federal and state programs to work together and maintain a well-balanced relationship. In addition, having laws such as a federal intervention if a state is unable of acting on a particular problem is something that is crucial not only to maintain and uphold certain laws but to ensure that people are not suffering if a state fails to do their job. Ultimately, when it comes to the state and people, Federalism means the rules and laws that all have to obey according to the national government. The NGA implies a significance of a close working relationship between states and the federal government in order to protect the basic rights of citizens. They also encourage federal officials to follow certain limitations and guidelines when developing laws. However, it also states that in some cases a few of the problems faced are best handled at a state and local level. Despite the fact that a few may view Federalism as a bad part of our government, it is simply a system put in place to help protect citizens and to deal with issues beyond the state’s capacity. To me, it is like an onion, all the layers must exist so that the onion can exist.

Federalism has created quite a bit of conflict between states and the national government and also sometimes between the states themselves, however, the division of power is also a crucial part of our government. According to the article Democrats Rediscover Federalism, there are many political controversies that are presented when Federalism occurs. A few main conflicts that were presented during president Trump’s first year include political controversies concerning immigration, the travel ban, tax reforms, and legalized marijuana. To begin, immigration is one of the main controversies presented in the article. President Trump’s immigration reform has caused multiple states, cities, and counties to no longer divulge information about citizens. One reason for this is many states and cities are stating they are sanctuary areas or areas where the rule of law does not apply. The outcome of this is a signed executive order from the President pulling many states and cities federal grants. This obviously causes quite a quarrel between the states and federal government, though, if the states would merely share the information, this would not be the case. In addition to the controversy with immigration, more issues exhibited in the article are the travel ban and the tax reform. The travel ban is quite contentious seeing as how it excludes millions from entering the United States.

The controversy is that the president claims this is for national security purposes, though many believe it violates the Constitutions First Amendment. Also, tax reform limitations ultimately place a limit on the amount of deductibles businesses can claim on their tax returns. Many states are suing and stating this violates equal protection rights based on the fact that the states that will suffer would be the blue states or Democratic states. Lastly, is the controversial topic of legalized marijuana and the laws that surround it. Many states and even the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana in some way though federal law enforcement continues to crack down on making it illegal. However, when Trump was running for office he ultimately agreed to ease up on enforcement of it in places like Colorado, where there is legalized marijuana, in order to ensure his nominees.

It is situations such as this one, according to the article, in which a Federalism truce is found. To conclude, though Federalism may create conflict between states and the federal government, it is also an important part of our government as it is the division of powers. Federalism, according to the article and concerning Trump’s first year, can cause political issues on things like immigration, the travel ban, tax reforms, and legalized marijuana. Though throughout the many political controversies, Democrats are not just allowing for the federal government to change laws, they are aware of their Constitutional rights and are using them to ensure they are awarded what is rightfully theirs.

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An Essay on Fiscal Federalism. (2021, Aug 04). Retrieved from