Political Science Paper on Federalism
Federalism refers to a form of government that grants power to more than one central entity to rule. It is a combination of the national or central government with regional governments such as state, territorial, provincial or cantonal governments in a single political system. Federalism has various advantages and disadvantages; however, this paper will discuss the top two advantages and the major two disadvantages of federalism.
Firstly, federalism allows separation of power that serves as a prevention of tyranny since power is divided between the central government and the regional governments. Even in a case where an individual or a group of people controlled all the central government branches, federalism guarantees that the local governments would still work independently. Secondly, federalism permits diversity and a better understanding of changes and issues that affect the country at large. Notably, every state has social, economic and political issues that are specific to it. The representatives of these state governments in most cases are near the local community; therefore, they are more suited to understand the issues affecting the society and can offer specific solutions to them. For instance, traffic congestion in Savannah, Georgia is a matter that can be handled by the local government in a better way compared to if it was to be dealt with from New York.
However, with federalism the government costs and benefits are unevenly spread to different states. For example, in some states, the per capital spent on education is more than that in other states because it is considered a regional issue rather than a national issue. The same inequality applies in other sections like health, welfare and taxation. Another drawback of federalism is that it can bring about conflicts that could lead to blockage of certain central policies by local governments, and this can destabilize a nation. The states’ leaders can go to an extent of challenging the enforcement of these policies in a court of law. Conceptually, these national policies could be of diverse areas like pollution, poverty, and energy issues.