The States and Federalism

Should more power be shifted to the states?


The size and scope of the federal government has been a major issue throughout U.S. history. Now, after a century of steady growth, the federal government is being viewed by politicians in both parties and by many observers as too big and too powerful. Republicans took control of Congress in 1994 promising to shift power to the states. President Clinton supported some of their proposals, but opposed others. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has tilted toward the states in some important federalism cases. Advocates of the so-called “devolution revolution” say state and local governments are more efficient and more politically accountable than the federal government. But supporters of an expansive federal role argue that many social and economic problems are best addressed at the national level.

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