New Federalism

New Federalism refers to the transfer of power from the United States federal government back to the states. Its main aim was to give states power that they had lost after President Franklin Roosevelt signed the New Deal between 1933 and 1936. The first New Deal that was signed in 1934 gave the federal government powers of acting as the nation’s largest employer (Mettler, 1998). It mainly aimed at ensuring economic recovery of United States. New Federalism occurred from 1970 and it ensured that states were given block grants and thus they would spend money at their own discretion.

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New federalism affected public policy in several ways. It made devolution of power and thus it made the federal government to become unaccountable in most instances. Critics argue that new federalism has affected the provision of education in United States. This is because some states fail to formulate policies that will ensure that all citizens achieve quality education. Several positive aspects resulted from how new federalism affected public policy. New federalism allowed states to formulate most policies that affected their citizens. This makes the authorities governing the states to formulate good policies since they know the needs of their citizens as they are in direct contact with them. In addition to this, the states were given the power to spend money in the programs that they felt that would benefit the society (Erk, 2009). Due to this, they formulated policies that ensured that the financial stability of the state is achieved. However, the new federalisms did not give states complete devolution of power to formulate policies and critics argue that this is one of its disadvantages. In Gonzales v. Raich (2005), the Supreme Court gave judgment that the federal government had the power of outlawing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. This was despite the fact that the marijuana did not cross state lines and it was never bought or sold. This showed that state courts did not have autonomy of overseeing formulation and enforcing of state policies.

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