Complicated Relationship Between the Federal, State, and Local Governments

Complicated Relationship Between the Federal, State, and Local Governments

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The relationship between the federal government of the United States and the state and local governments is unique. This relationship in the modern age has become more interconnected and complicated than ever before. The weaknesses of American Federalism has never been as glaringly obvious as it was in the response by state, local and federal governments to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Failures by multiple elected officials and government agencies exacerbated an already dire situation by delaying much needed aid to the gulf region. This, combined with a fundamental misunderstanding of the physical geography of the region, led to policies that weakened the coastline and made New Orleans extremely susceptible to hurricane damage.
When the founders convened in 1787 in order to revise the Articles of Confederation, there was one major goal in mind. They wanted to strengthen the federal government in order to ensure that the union as a whole would be stronger. The weakness of the Articles of Confederation was that the federal government had no authority to collect taxes in order to pay off the significant debt incurred during the fight for independence. Shay’s Rebellion caused enough fear and unrest to spur legislators to action and a constitutional convention was called. The convention produced the U.S. Constitution and the first American political party.
The Federalist Party was formed in order to push for ratification of the Constitution. An Anti-Federalist Party popped up in opposition almost immediately. The Constitution was eventually ratified with the addition of the 10th Amendment to the Bill of Rights. This guaranteed the states the rights to make decisions on anything not granted to the federal government through t...


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...clearly communicate with one another in the periods before, during and after the storm combined with confusing organizational jurisdictions and bad policy severely hindered the federal government’s response to Katrina. In order to prevent a repeat of those mistakes, the federal government needs to put into place new procedures for disaster response and recovery. These procedures must be clear and concise with minimal bureaucracy so that response time will be maximized and leaders will know exactly what authority they have. Federal, state and local governments need to increase preparation and prevention measures while gaining a better understanding of the relationship between physical geography and city planning. This combined with improvements in resource management and communication, will go to show that the government has truly learned from the lessons of Katrina.

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