POLS 15 – Federalism Pros & Cons
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POLS 15 – Federalism Pros & Cons

[music] Like most things, federalism has its
advantages and its disadvantages. First, let’s examine the benefits of federalism. Like separation of powers, one of the main benefits of federalism is that it helps prevent tyranny. Just as separation of powers divides power between the three branches of the federal government, federalism divides power between the
federal government and the states. Another advantage of federalism is that it encourages states to adopt innovative approaches to tackling public policy issues, and if they’re successful other states can adopt them too. In fact the states have been called
“laboratories of democracy” for their tendency to encourage policy innovation. Federalism also allows government to be responsive to diverse conditions. California is not the same as Montana, and different levels of government
can account for those differences. Federalism also has its disadvantages, however. One is that it can lead to confusion
on the part of citizens. Sometimes it’s difficult to know which level of government is responsible for what. Another problem with federalism is that it can lead to inequality between the states. For example, Connecticut is one of the richest states in the country and has great
schools and healthy citizens. Yet at the same time, Mississippi,
being one of the poorest states, has terrible schools and unhealthy citizens. And yet, we’re all Americans. Federalism can also lead to inefficiency, because sometimes both levels of government are doing the same thing. And finally of course, federalism can lead to conflict between the states, as well as conflict between the states
and the federal government.

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