Federalism: The Blessings and Curses

A plethora of government structures and concepts merit scrutiny and investigation. Federalism is one of the systems and concepts that make up these systems and ideas. Federalism is a complicated system applied in some countries. The flexibility to share power and meet the demands of students is only part of the numerous benefits of federalism. In addition, federalism has its downsides, including a lack of cohesiveness and accountability (Galston par. 4). The system of federalism has both advantages and disadvantages that should be evaluated in order to perceive and understand it.

The Article’s Topic and Federalism are Related

The advantages and disadvantages of federalism are discussed in the article by Galston (par. 1). The author claims that the power of state governments is ceded to local governments, but the control of national governments is not. Rather, they are protected by the constitution from being subordinate to the government. Federal and state authorities are not always well separated, but this is usually the case. Because the article shows that liberals and democrats who have advocated expanding centralized authorities for the previous nine decades should reconsider the merits of federalism, it is an illustration of federalism. Federalism’s virtues include encouraging policy development and political engagement, as well as allowing for a wide range of views.

States could use their legal power to implement policy changes that could be replicated across jurisdictions and at the national scale. Additionally, federalism’s two tiered structure means that if one level of government is unable to accomplish a policy objective, the elected representatives in the other phase can compensate for that failure. To assist create public policy, everyone—individuals, groups, and social movements—are encouraged to get involved (Galston par. 3). The US political system has a scheme of checks and balances that often prohibits the federal government from enforcing a uniform policy. States and regional institutions can now handle policy issues tailored to their constituents’ individual needs and interests.

The downsides of federalism are evident, for example, state economic disparities, race-to-the-bottom complexities (in which states find potential businesses by decreasing regulatory burdens), and the difficulties of taking action on national-importance concerns are chief among them. Stark economic disparities between states greatly impact citizens’ well-being. Social justice advocates argue that federalism hinders national attempts to equalize growing inequalities adequately. For those who advocate decentralizing government, the ongoing battle with COVID-19 should prompt them to reflect on the preceding ten months’ mistakes, resulting in a sluggish rollout for vaccinations. States were obliged to reduce financing for public health systems following the recession of 2007-2009 (Galston par. 8). The outbreak was exacerbated because nations were ill-equipped for the pandemic and lacked the workforce and resources necessary to conduct adequate tests and trace contacts.


All citizens’ equal voting rights, irrespective of ethnicity or color, are guaranteed under the 15th Amendment to the United States constitution. As a result, other constitutional provisions give states primary responsibility for deciding how the House and Senate are elected. States were given primary responsibility for elections because of the underlying constitutional facts. It was they, not Congress, who were to be responsible for selecting the nation’s chief executive. The courts were given exclusive jurisdiction over the resolution of electoral disputes, and Congress was not (Galston par. 3). The two months after the previous election may have been considerably different if the law had established a single framework for handling presidential elections. It would have been more effective for President Trump to try to bribe a single national institution rather than attempting to influence a slew of state legislatures, secretaries of state, and state electoral commissioners.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requested that all 50 states and the District of Columbia submit their preliminary vaccination delivery and administration plans by October 1. Several states have since been upgraded to incorporate new information, but the majority of them have not (Galston par. 9). There were shortages of trained people as the number of COVID-19 cases increased, which hindered the vaccine campaign. Some public information websites have succumbed to the pressure. Many older Americans are unsure of their state’s priorities or even their eligibility age when it comes to immunizations.

Preliminary results are not positive despite the efforts of medical specialists. According to the CDC, a total of 15.4 million Moderna and Pfizer vaccine doses had been distributed by January 4, 2021, but only 4.6 million patients had obtained their first shot. The situation for nursing home residents and staff is even direr. Only about 364000 of the 2.5 million medicines made available to them had been used (Galston par. 11). Nearly half of Israel’s most vulnerable residents were vaccinated against COVID-19 despite the country spending only 8% of its GDP on health care. The United States, which spends 17.7 percent, has vaccinated 1.3 percent of the population. The health care systems in both countries are highly developed. The problem is not the inadequacy of knowledge or resources; it is a lack of focus and structure. In a national health crisis, a more centralized health care system is advantageous.

The federal government could do better, but only if the White House took a more active role in setting policy. As soon as Joe Biden took the oath of office, he should have held discussions with the National Governors Association on how to get all Americans vaccinated. As a last resort, there should be an approach to access Congress for emergency funding or invoke the Defense Manufacture Act if it can help expedite vaccine production (Galston par. 13). The government may also make use of the military if it can assist in resolving logistical issues. If people are unsure, the federal and state governments should launch a public awareness campaign. There is no point in wasting time with thousands or even millions of lives on the line. As soon as this crisis is resolved, federal-state relations should be reformed to guarantee that the nation is better prepared for the next.

Federalism in the United States Causes More Problems than it Solves

There are more problems than solutions with US federalism as a form of government. Federalism, for example, has a strict constitution; a constitution that is difficult to change is referred to as a rigid one. In a federal system of government, this type of constitution is the best. However, the fact that it cannot be quickly changed even in the event of an emergency is a drawback to the policy. In order to alter a stiff constitution, there must be a lot of superfluous consultations and regulations. Another drawback is that the state has a great deal of power over the lives of its residents, which may vex some people. Furthermore, the national government will always have more influence due to the small size and limited strength of the state governments in the United States. For instance, if a fight arises between the national and state governments over a law, the national government will most likely win.

Federalism is a costly form of governance due to the high cost of running the federal government and all of its subordinate agencies. Every level of government has employees and officials who must be compensated and sustained by the country as a whole. In addition, the federal system forbids the countries from enacting the same laws and policies. Any guideline or law that a federal unit chooses to implement is entirely up to them. The federal government has no right to meddle in the internal affairs of a federating unit under the constitution. Consequently, there are as many rules and policies as federating states. People who are required to travel frequently due to the nature of their jobs or operations have additional difficulties because of paradoxical laws. As a result, each state has its own regulations and laws in most situations. Some people in the country experience many challenges because of arising inconsistencies. Some experts believe that a unitary government is preferable to federalism due to the underlying drawbacks mentioned above.


Despite the fact that federalism has numerous advantages, it also has numerous disadvantages. There is no one answer when it comes to whether or not federalism is a good or bad idea. Nonetheless, it is important to examine the concept of federalism, understand how it may be used for good, consider the system’s inherent dangers, and understand the best approach to avoiding or working through them.

Work Cited

Galston, William. “The Blessings (and Curses) of Federalism.” The Wall Street Journal, 2021, Web.

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DemoEssays. "Federalism: The Blessings and Curses." December 27, 2022. https://demoessays.com/federalism-the-blessings-and-curses/.