is a state in the south eastern United States located in the Gulf of Mexico and
the Atlantic. Also known as Sunshine or Everglade state, it is one of the
confederate states that existed during the American Civil War. Tallahassee is
the capital city of the state of Florida. Federalism refers to a political
system where the powers are divided between a regional government and the
central government (Davies, Clarence and Mazurek 11). It works by concentrating
all the power in the hands of the national government while on the other hand
it gives all the power to the state government in a confederal system.
In America for example, federalism has
existed and practiced for almost a century now. The national or the central
government is charged with creating laws, declaring war, establishing an army
and printing money. On the other hand, the local government is charged with
regulating interstate commerce, provide public health and safety, conduct
elections and form local governments (Brambor, William and Golder 63). The two
governments also share various responsibilities such as building highways,
chartering banks, corporations, borrowing money and collecting taxes. It is
against this background that the paper seeks to examine how the American
federalism has both help and hurt the state of Florida and will proceed to give
examples of the two scenarios.
Federalism in the United States have been
beneficial in that it has fostered state loyalties, realized pragmatism, it has
created laboratories of democracy, created political stability, encouraged
pluralism, and it has also ensured the separation of powers and prevented
tyranny. In respect to the state of Florida federalism has been able to offer
representation to different groups of individuals. Federalism has been able to
share power that equalizes both the national government and the citizens.
Federalism has ensured that the government
of Florida is close to its citizens. This is because every region or state has
problems and needs that are specific to the region. Federalism has, therefore,
allowed state governments to address the needs of the people because they
understand the needs of the people. Central governments tend to address the
needs of majorities therefore by delocalizing power to state governments the
needs of minorities are addressed, and their rights are protected. For example,
the state of Florida has been in a position to have education policies that
attend to the minority like the Hispanics. The state of Florida has been in the
forefront to provide bilingual education more than the other states because of
the large population of Hispanics.
Another benefit of federalism to the state
of Florida is that it ensures that the separation of powers and prevent tyranny
and run away power. The independence of the arms of government ensures that the
citizens of Florida enjoy institutional independence. For example, in case the
independence the three branches of federal government are compromised then the
citizens of Florida are guaranteed the security of independence within their
local governments. Therefore, this ensures that the citizens are protected from
tyrannical and run away leadership.
Federalism has also ensured loyalty among
the citizens of the various states. In respect to the state of Florida,
federalism has helped fostered loyalties among the citizens of these states.
This ensures that citizens work harder to ensure that their state is among the
leading states regarding economic power and prosperity. This ensures that
citizens work towards state building by promoting activities that generate
income to the state. For example, citizens will be tax compliant, and this will
ensure that the state has income and wealth to support various projects in the
Federalism has also been able to create
laboratories of democracy. This has encouraged innovation in law and policy.
The existence of many state governments permits the trial of different sets of
policies thus contributing to state building (Schuck 57). Whenever policy
trials are conducted in the various states, the resulting laws end up being
beneficial when implemented in states. Therefore, federalism allows for
citizens to try and implement laws that attend to their needs and can be
extended at the federal level.
Another benefit of federalism to the
citizens of Florida is that it has been able to increase citizen participation
at the local level. The system expands government on national, local and state
levels thus giving the citizens an opportunity to access their leaders and
participate in their governance (Hamilton 9). Citizen participation ensures
that the people increase their ability to effect government policy, lawmaking,
and governance. It also ensures accountability of the state governance which
translates to proper resource use in the state.
Federalism also has various shortcomings in
the various states. Some of the shortcomings of federalism are that it prevents
the creation of a national policy. It also promotes the lack of accountability
in the state. Another limitation is that it allows for inequality between the
various states. In respect to the state of Florida, the major shortcoming of
federalism is inequality. There is a wide gap between the rich and the poor
states. For example, when it comes to education the wealth and earnings of the
state influence the state of education in Florida (Peck 21). Richer states like
Massachusetts have always led in education while states such as Florida,
Alabama, and Mississippi. These are some of the shortcomings federalism that
faces the state of Florida.
Another limitation is the inequality in
distributing the grants-in-aid system. States with larger concentrations of
income tend to pay a large bulk of the countryâ€™s income tax. When it comes to
spending states, also differ regarding spending. For example, in 2010, the
state of Florida received the lowest per capita amount compared to other states
(Seifter 6). The variations are caused by various factors such distribution on
a discretionary basis. Another limitation is that the aids are distributed
using formulas based on poverty levels, populations, and income levels.
Lack of national policy as a result of the
existing policies in the various states hinder development and policies
regarding the development of individual states. There are limited national
policies that address allocation of resources to the respective states thus
causing some states to suffer regarding resources allocation (Birkland 13).
Lack of such policies limits funding of state projects like health care and
In conclusion, it is evident from the text
above that the benefits of federalism to the state of Florida far outweighs its
limitations (Lakoff 14). Therefore, credit is given to federalism when it comes
to development in the state of Florida except that reforms ought to be
introduced to address the various gaps created by federalism.
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