For example, we could consider a local agricultural project. The local and state expertise in determining what are the right decisions to be made on this project should be more useful and in a more timely manner than decisions that could be made at a federal level.
In the current security and economic environment, the answer is probably somewhere mid-way between all the notions previously presented. From this perspective, a combination of both cooperative federalism and decentralization can be used, with the pre-condition that the federal government fixes the overall goals that the country should try to reach and which should obviously be followed and sought at state and local levels as well. The current economic crisis provides an excellent example in this sense.
The current main objective for the United States is to find the appropriate ways by which to fight with the current economic crisis, probably the most significant one since the Great Depression. This can be fixed as a national objective, so that all federal, state or local instruments will work to reach that goal. The federal goal should provide the means to do so, while the state and local administration should find the right local instruments to use the funds received from the federal government, while keeping in mind, at the same time, the primary national objective.
At the same time, the federal government should also have in place the appropriate feedback and control mechanism by which it can record the changes, positive or negative, that occur at state and local level and whether what is going on at these levels are in line with the grander design at a federal level. The importance of such a feedback and control mechanism is critical, because it means that the federal government would also be able to intervene and correct the mistakes that may appear in the implementation of these local measures.
Basically, the relationship between the federal government and state or local administration should be the same as in any other organization, with the federal government/upper management providing the general means and guidelines that need to be followed, with the bureaus and regional managers overseeing the tactical and operational implementations within each of their areas of jurisdiction. As in such an organization, the rules imposed by the federal government should check-in some of the local and state initiatives. Some of the federal guidance will also lay the ground rules for the state and local activity.
From this perspective, the year 2028 is likely to look quite similar to what the present time looks like, with a federal government overseeing the general strategic policies of the country, while the state and local administrations are implementing these locally. At the same time, the federal government remains, at that point, the final regulative entity in the entire mechanism, curtailing any excessive decentralization of the states that could harm national goals.
2028 also shows a supervised decentralization process by which the states are able to take some of the decision making process into their own hands. This means that some of the solutions presented will be better matched with the local requirements and with more reliable information. This information can also be shared among the local and state administrations and entities so as to provide an overall better overview on the different matters.
If such a mechanism is respected, then 2028 could potentially show a period of prosperity and economic growth, mainly through a better use of resources at state and governmental levels and a more efficient cooperation between the federal government and local administration. Such an approach would also allow the federal government to focus on some of the decisions it needs to make related to the action of the U.S. outside its borders, its relations with other partners around the world etc. The federal government should thus only retain a primarily supervisory function.
1. Easterwood, Michael. 1984. "The Municipality and South Carolina Government," in Local Government in South Carolina. Vol. I. The Governmental Landscape edited by Charlie B. Tyer and Cole Blease Graham, Jr. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, Bureau of Governmental Research and Service, pp. 9-50
2. Hanson, Russell L. 1999. "Intergovernmental Relations," in Politics in the American States. 7th ed. Edited by Virginia Gray, Russell L. Hanson and Herbert Jacob. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, pp. 32-65.
3. Moore, William 2008. On the Internet at http://www.cas.sc.edu/poli/courses/scgov/IGR.pdf.Last retrieved on…