Lesson Objectives:- Dual Federalism
- Cooperative Federalism
- Categorical grants and block grants
- Fiscal Federalism
- Federal mandates
A struggle for power is always going to exist, and depending on the context, that struggle can be positive or negative.
As far as Dual Federalism is concerned, the power struggle can be seen as positive. Dual Federalism is a model of federalism that looks at national and state governments as co-equal sovereign powers. Neither the state government nor the national government should interfere in the other's sphere.
Political scientists often refer to it as a layer cake because they are separate layers to the same cake.
During the Great Depression of the early 1930s, the national government did not offer much help. That was, until Franklin D. Roosevelt came into office in 1933.
What he ushered in was Cooperative Federalism, a model of federalism in which the states and the national government cooperate in solving problems.
Roosevelt brought solutions to those suffering from poverty. These programs often required the assistance of the state and local governments to be successful. In this analogy, Cooperative Federalism then is like a marble cake instead of a layer cake. The different types of cake are intermingled together.
Cooperation can almost be guaranteed through the act of giving. That is what grants are and that is how they encourage cooperation.
Categorical Grants are great ways to encourage cooperation. They are federal grants given to a state or local government for a specific program or project.
Programs like Medicaid, unemployment, housing assistance, and welfare benefit people in need. These are valuable programs, and it is through categorical grants that the national government encourages states to participate in them.
While categorical grants can be targeted according to the priorities of Congress, block grants give states more freedom in how they use the funds.
Block Grants are federal grants that provide funds to a state or local government for a general functional area, such as criminal justice or mental-health programs.
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 is considered a very successful block grant program. It ended the old federal welfare program and replaced it with aid to each state that participates.
The national government wants cooperation in their programs, but sometimes the money runs out. This creates a huge issue for the states that can lead to negative consequences.
Fiscal Federalism is simply a process by which funds raised through taxation or borrowing by one level of government (usually the national government) are spent by another level (state or local governments).
When states rely on federal grant money and then all of a sudden that money is gone, their budgets are negatively impacted. States have to cut back on important spending and sometimes that means cutting jobs or important programs.
Grant money always comes with strings attached. That is how the national government is able to get the states to cooperate in different ways.
When the national government wanted to raise the drinking age, it used grant money to make it happen. The states could have the money for their roads and highways if they would just agree to raise their drinking age.
It usually works because the states find they have needs and the needs typically outweigh the consequences.
The national government, at times, has the power to place requirements on the states. These are called Federal Mandates.
Federal Mandates are requirements in federal legislation that force states and municipalities to comply with certain rules; for example, the Americans with Disabilities Act which outlaws discrimination against anyone with a disability.
Sometimes, mandates that cost the states a lot of money are funded by the national government. But in other cases, such as with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the federal government does not provide funding even though compliance can be costly. The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act was passed in 1995 in an effort to limit the number of unfunded mandates imposed by the federal government.