Federalism and Poverty in the United States

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Federalism and Poverty in the United States Many Americans believe that the federal government is too big, both in the number of agencies it directs and in the scope of its powers. Some people also think that the daily business of Capitol Hill has no effect on their lives, in part because they believe that politicians do not understand their problems. This dissatisfaction with Washington, D.C., in recent years has renewed debate over the division of power between federal and state and local governments. Federalism—the sharing of power between the states and the national government—has been a major issue throughout U.S. history. Thomas R. Dye defines federalism as "a division of power between two separate authorities—the nation and the states—each of which enforces its own laws directly on its citizens" (Dye, 1999, p.98). When the U.S. Constitution established the federal government in 1787, it only exercised limited or enumerated powers, such as making treaties and printing money. The Tenth Amendment of the Bill of Rights, ratified in 1791, clarified that all other powers belonged to the states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people," (U.S. Const., 1791, Amend. 10). Over the years, in response to national crisis, many of the government's powers, particularly those over social programs, were centralized to the federal level. However, in recent years, an increasing number of people on Capitol Hill and across the country want to devolve, or transfer, power from Washington, D.C. to state and local governments. After the 1994 elections, the Republican majority in Congress pu... ... middle of paper ... ...eve, M.S. (1999). Real federalism. Washington D.C.: The AEI Press. Johnson, L.B. (1964). "State of the Union Address." Washington D.C. Kasich, J. (1994). "Congressional Speech." Washington D.C. Reed, B.N. (1998, December 30). States meeting standards of welfare law. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Retrieved October 16, 2000 from the World Wide Web: Regan, R. (1981). "Inaugural Address." Washington D.C. Rivlin, A.M. (1992). Reviving the American dream. Washington D.C.: The Brookings Institution. U.S. Constitution. (1791). Amendment 10. U.S. General Accounting Office, Health, Education, and Human Services Division. (2000). Welfare Reform: States early experiences with benefit termination. Retrieved November 13, 2000 from the World Wide Web:
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