Federalism Research Paper

Categories: FederalismGovernment

Federalism is a political system through which two or more governments have shared authority over the same geographical area. Most democratic countries in the world are governed by a federal system, including Canada, the U.S., Australia, India and Argentina. Federal systems are often governed by a Congress, with a President or a Parliament with a Prime Minister. All federal systems have a central government, a Constitution and a certain procedure that must be followed to resolve any disputes. Federalism has an impact on public budgeting and impacts the spending of public budget as will be discussed within the countries of the United States of America, Israel, and Turkey.

Federalism is a political system through which two or more governments have shared authority over the same geographical area (AskHON, 2018). Most democratic countries in the world are governed by a federal system, including Canada, the U.S., Australia, India and Argentina (AskHON, 2018). Federal systems are often governed by a Congress, with a President or a Parliament with a Prime Minister (AskHON, 2018).

All federal systems have a central government, a Constitution and a certain procedure that must be followed to resolve any disputes (AskHON, 2018). The Constitution serves as a guideline, which the different constituent entities use to check on one another (AskHON, 2018). The Articles of Confederation originally established the United States as a confederation, where each of the states operated separately and independently from one another (Study.com, 2018). The United States Constitution set up our current federal government and replaced the Articles of Confederation (Study.

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com, 2018). The Constitution recognizes the federal government as the highest governmental power (Study.com, 2018).

United States of America

The United States Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation. The Constitution recognizes the federal government as the highest governmental power (Study.com, 2018). The Constitution expressly grants broad powers to the federal government but not to the states (Study.com, 2018). The Constitution stresses what the states can’t do. The Bill of Rights tempers some of the imbalance concerning the states’ rights (Study.com, 2018). The Tenth Amendment gives the states all powers not delegated to the national government or denied to the states (Study.com, 2018).

Impact on constitutionally limited federal government. Madison’s concept of limited government maintained that the powers of the government should be limited internally by the Constitution itself but externally by the American people through the representative electoral process (Longley, 2017). The Ninth Amendment and the Tenth Amendment define the process of limited government as practiced in the United States (Longley, 2017). The Tenth Amendment defines the individual and shared powers of the U.S. government and the state governments forming the American version of federalism (Longley, 2017). The U.S. Constitution provides that Congress shall have the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the various states (Thomas, 2013). Congress has the power under the Spending Clause to require states to undertake certain activities as a condition of receiving federal monies (Thomas, 2013).

Impact on public budgeting. Congress has broad financial powers, including the power to tax and spend in order to pay debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States (Thomas, 2013). Congress also has the power to borrow money and to appropriate money from the United States Treasury (Thomas, 2013). The purposes for which Congress may tax and spend are very broad and are not limited by the scope of other enumerated powers under which Congress may regulate (Thomas, 2013).

Impact spending of public budgeting. One of the more significant ways that the federal government can encourage state behavior is to impose conditions on the receipt of federal monies by the states (Thomas, 2013). Considering the large number of funds provided to states by the federal government, this represents a significant power for Congress to exercise (Thomas, 2013).


Federalism has strong roots in the Judaic tradition of ‘brit’ or covenant (Mollov, 2018). The idea of covenant which is rooted in Judaism is considered to be the main organizing principle around which the ‘outlook of all Biblically rooted traditions’ and the ‘worldview of the Bible’ are built (Mollov, 2018). The aspects of federal relationships are reflected in the Hebraic idea of covenant and are expressed in both social as well as political terms: ‘the covenant relationship is to social and political life what Buber’s I-Thou relationship is to personal life. Through covenants humans and their institutions are entered into dialogue and are given a framework for dialogue’ (Mollov, 2018). Aspects of federalism which have their origins in fundamentally Judaic concepts were well-suited to deal with elements of Israel’s current reality (Mollov, 2018). In this society of subgroups, a need for inter-group dialogue has increased. This is a reversal of the expectation of Israel’s founders that the country would adopt a more uniform image of the ‘new Israeli’ as different cultural subgroups would merge into one (Mollov, 2018).

Impact on constitutionally limited federal government. In Israel the prime factor explaining the formation of federal factions is the joint desire of two or more parties to increase their political and electoral effectiveness by combining forces (Wittes, 2018). Israeli cultural politics need not be a zero-sum game, imposing the values of one community over others (Wittes, 2018). Solutions are to be found in countries like the United States, Switzerland, India and Spain. Just as U.S. states provide a framework for playing out America’s “culture wars” on a sub-national level, Israel’s cultural regions could create a more livable status quo (Wittes, 2018). While the U.S. may dwarf Israel’s population and landmass, the U.S. cultural chasms are more varied (Wittes, 2018). And just as the Swiss cantons afford their residents a high degree of autonomy in such areas as education, health and personal-status issues (including marriage), so should and can Israel’s (Wittes, 2018). Any two-state solution requires execution and tough decisions by leaders in both communities (Wittes, 2018).

Impact on public budgeting. Israel has a modern market economy with a thriving high-technology sector that attracts considerable foreign investment (heritage.org, 2018). The discovery of large offshore natural gas deposits has improved its energy security and balance-of-payments prospects (heritage.org, 2018). Despite the 2006 war against Hezbollah in Lebanon and the 2008–2009, 2012, and 2014 wars against Hamas in Gaza, as well as the constant threat of terrorism, Israel’s economy is fundamentally sound and dynamic (heritage.org, 2018). The government plans further economic liberalization, but fiscal consolidation has been deferred in favor of populist spending and tax measures demanded by the governing coalition (heritage.org, 2018). Competitiveness is enhanced by strong protection of property rights, efficient coordination of regulatory processes, and a sound judicial framework that sustains the rule of law (heritage.org, 2018).

Impact spending of public budgeting. Protection of property and contractual rights is effective, and businesses face a low risk of expropriation (heritage.org, 2018). The system for recording secured interests in property is reliable (heritage.org, 2018). Bribery and other forms of corruption are illegal (heritage.org, 2018). A strong societal intolerance for graft is reinforced by frequent investigations of high-level corruption (heritage.org, 2018). Government economic policies are generally sound and conducive to running a business (heritage.org, 2018). Israel is often supportive of start-up businesses, but restrictive trade policies that favor domestic producers and limit competition are a concern (heritage.org, 2018). The highly skilled and well-educated labor force is the economy’s biggest asset (heritage.org, 2018). Israel uses price controls largely to regulate the price of food, but also for products in markets with monopolies such as cement (heritage.org, 2018).


Turkey is one of the most centralized countries in Europe (Daventry, 2017). Various countries have presidential systems and almost all have federal mechanisms. Presidential systems can gradually turn into totalitarian regimes with all powers vested in one individual and require regional federations with independent decision-making mechanisms if democracy is to remain sound and healthy (Yahya, 2014). Following its official application for European Union membership, Turkey had to adopt the European Constitution and is bound by it (Yahya, 2014). One of the most contentious articles in that constitution for Turkey is the condition imposing local administrations (Yahya, 2014). Turkey has been implementing a system known as the Development Agencies since 2006 (Yahya, 2014). Under this, Turkey is theoretically divided into eight separate regions and the development agencies to be established will have the broader authority to maintain relations with foreign countries (Yahya, 2014).

Impact on constitutionally limited federal government. Turkey is divided into several regions. There are 81 provinces, and governor of each province answers directly to the ministry of interior. In Ottoman times, Greeks, Armenians and others did not want to live in a Federal State together with Turks. They wanted to build their own states, and exile (or kill) all the Turks that “happen” to be on the wrong side of the boundary they drew (Quora, 2016). The seven regions are at least officially, only geographic regions though they also roughly mark some ideological boundaries and ethnicities (Quora, 2016). The Marmara, Mediterranean and Aegean regions are more liberal than the Central Anatolian and Black Sea regions (Quora, 2016). The East and Southeast Anatolian regions were created in the ’40s in order to reinforce the Turkish Republic (Quora, 2016). If federalism was adopted, inter-communal violence would surge and political instability would prevail (Quora, 2016). It is a Kurdish majority region, with many people wanting greater autonomy and cultural rights (Quora, 2016).

Impact on public budgeting. President Erdogan enacted a massive purge of citizens with any connection to Fethullah Gulen’s movement, resulting in more than 50,000 people imprisoned and the seizure of more than $10 billion of assets from private companies (Caywood, 2018). Turkey’s move toward authoritarian rule has dire economic consequences as an erosion of rule of law generally does not create a climate hospitable to free markets (Caywood, 2018). Immediately following the 2016 attacks, Turkey’s tourism industry found itself in a state of decline with the overall economy slowing to 3.5 percent for the year (Caywood, 2018). The April 2017 referendum vote further solidified the end of Turkish accession discussions, confirming the threat that Turkey’s descent into authoritarianism poses a severe threat to its economy (Caywood, 2018).

Impact spending of public budgeting. The budget bill foresees the revenues and expenditures of the state for the next period and authorizes and permits the executive organ to collect revenues and spending (tbmm.gov, 2018). The budget bill forecasts the expenditures and revenues for the next fiscal year (tbmm.gov, 2018). The fiscal year starts on the first day of January and ends on the last day of December (tbmm.gov, 2018). The budgets of the central government are prepared and executed as the budget of central government, budgets of social security institutions, and budgets of local governments (tbmm.gov, 2018). The budget of central government consists of a general budget, a special budget, and a budget of regulatory and supervisory organs.

Judeo-Christian Analysis

God still holds men accountable for their actions, and that nations still rise or fall according to the righteousness of their people (Fischer, 1998). If one is to understand the story of the United States of America, it is important to have a proper appreciation for its Christian colonial roots (Hall, 2011). Colonists of European descent who settled in the New World were Christians whose constitutions, laws, and practices reflected the influence of Christianity (Hall, 2011). The Declaration of Independence, proclaims: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” (Hall, 2011). This references “the laws of nature and of nature’s God” and “appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world” and the signers’ “reliance on the protection of divine Providence” (Hall, 2011). Covenantal politics links ‘people and communities as partners in common tasks,’ and allows them space to be free (Hall, 2011). The tribes of Israel, for instance, were in a covenantal relationship with one another. They had common purposes, such as to uphold the law of God and provide for national security, but they also had the freedom to live as they chose, provided they lived according to God’s law (Hall, 2011). Freedom and diversity are possible because the covenant is based on achieving certain goals (Hall, 2011). Outside of those goals, the covenant does not place any restraints on any of the parties (Hall, 2011).


The strength of federalism lies in its flexibility and adaptability (Elazar, 2018). Federalism seeks to encourage unity and diversity together (Elazar, 2018). Federalism, self-rule/shared rule, involves both structure and process (Elazar, 2018). A federal process must be combined with a federal structure to create a viable federal system or arrangement (Elazar, 2018). A successful federalist process hinges on some sense of partnership among the participating parties based on a commitment to negotiated cooperation on issues and programs (Elazar, 2018). There must be a commitment to open bargaining among all parties to achieve consensus or, at the very least, an accommodation which protects the fundamental integrity of all parties (Elazar, 2018). There are a number of different federal structures successfully functioning in the world today (Elazar, 2018). Many polities combine more than one arrangement and many of these structures can accommodate a multiplicity of needs (Elazar, 2018). What is crucial is that there really be a will to achieve a solution utilizing federal principles, whether it is based on a commitment to federalism or upon interests (Elazar, 2018). Among the factors which must be developed are a commitment to democratic government, a willingness to accept pluralism and power-sharing, an agreement to resolve conflict through negotiation, and finally, a sense of self-restraint in pursuing political goals and in the exercise of power which reaches beyond the other tenets of democratic government to include a commitment to power-sharing (Elazar, 2018).


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Federalism Research Paper. (2021, Apr 23). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/federalism-research-paper-essay

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