Federalism Pros and Cons List

Federalism, like anything else, can be good for your country or state, but it can also be harmful in many ways as well. For those who are unfamiliar with the laws of federalism, it basically means that states will have say so in most minor issues and can dictate to a degree what residents are allowed and not allowed to do. Basically meaning that not all the governmental power is in one place, but instead dispersed through regions etc. Below are some basic pros and cons related to Federalism and what it means for you.

List of Pros of Federalism

1. State Control
States are allowed to put into motion certain policies that affect only them. For example the death penalty. Most of the southern states such as Texas have the death penalty for criminals, but most of your northern states like Michigan and Iowa have not adopted this policy.

2. Focus on Larger Issues
With responsibilities being dispersed into other branches your government who holds higher ranking can focus more on the larger issues. Including foreign policy, terrorism and epidemics. While your local government can focus on their own local region. Land owning is an example of this, outlawing a type of fertilizer or crop dusting can affect the farming states such as Ohio, but this policy won’t do any good to people in New York.

3. Dispersed Power
One of the biggest advantages of federalism is the power that one group can hold. Americans are constantly saying that the government has too much power over what we do, however think what it would be like if there were no state leaders and legislatures. You never want to put all your eggs in one basket, as this could very easily lead the country into a dictatorship type state.

List of Cons of Federalism

1. Wealth Factor
Probably one of the biggest cons to federalism is the wealth factor. For example, states with national monuments such as the Grand Canyon in Arizona draw in a lot of tourist, which draws in more money than other states. Federalism keeps money within the states, so basically wealthy states get richer, and poorer states may end up in poverty one day. The gap between rich and poor grows more and more every year as well.

2. Confusion with Governmental Rule
Federalism also causes confusion between the local governments and the national government as well. If an epidemic of aids broke out in one quadrant of the US, the National government may not know when to step in and take responsibility as they would think the locals are taking care of it. However, the locals may think the national government will help out. In history, this has happened with hurricane Katrina as well as 911; no one was quite sure who would step in first.

3. Potential for Corruption
Corruption can also occur at the local level and national level due to the power of authority. Let’s say a certain congressman wants same sex marriages legalized, and the local state does not. A local power can put the plan in motion for same sex marriage in order to get something in return such as money, goods or other valuable assets.