The issue of the federal government involvement in state/local government is one of the most controversial questions nowadays. It is reasonable to analyze the arguments of both parties and make the overall conclusion. It seems that the federal government should get less involved in local affairs as it will both lead to higher rates of economic growth and will correspond to the traditional principles of democratic society.

The advocates of a higher federal government involvement in all local affairs claim that it is necessary in the current era of globalization. They believe that a more intense economic environment requires additional control, and the federal government is the optimal way to achieve this purpose. However, this reasoning is incorrect. First, the structure of modern information is such that it may be efficiently utilized only if it is examined at the local level. For example, the local government is more efficient in understanding the demands and preferences of the local population. Consequently, it may allocate scarce economic resources more efficiently.

Second, the effectiveness of control functions is also higher at the local level where almost all members know each other. Thus, both the incentives for any illegal activities and social risks tend to decline. Finally, a higher involvement of the federal government necessarily means additional taxes. It means a higher taxation burden on the entire US population (Wolfe, 2009). Consequently, the expected profitability of potential investment projects will decline. In the long run, it will lead to higher unemployment and low rates of economic growth. Therefore, the correct path is opposite: additional decentralization of government functions.

Another relevant aspect is the examination of this situation from the perspective of traditional US values and basic democratic principles. The Founding Fathers realized that the main threat for individual liberty comes from the concentration of power (Holmes, 2006). On these principles, the US Constitution was adopted. These principles contributed to the development of the US as one of the leading economies in the world. If the federal government expands its functions, the concentration of power will occur. Government officials will be able to control almost all spheres of public life and violate individual liberties on a permanent basis. 

It seems that the correct solution to this threat is not the election of moral politicians (because it is impossible to know the moral qualities of other people in advance) but higher decentralization. The federal government should concentrate only on the most basic functions such the protection of the US from its external enemies, the neutralization of domestic violence through the efforts of police, etc. All secondary functions should be fulfilled either by the state or local governments. In this way, additional bureaucratization will not occur. The experience of Obamacare and similar programs demonstrates the efficiency of the federal government in dealing with such issues (Jacobs & Skocpol, 2010).

Although these fundamental principles and ideas were explained by the Founding Fathers and other liberal thinkers, a large fraction of the US population cannot comprehend them. It seems that some government officials are highly interested in obtaining additional control and try to find ideologists that will promote the idea of the necessity of high involvement of the federal government. However, these ideological attempts are based on the desire of obtaining more power and privileges at the expense of ordinary citizens. Therefore, the only correct way of achieving the high rates of economic growth as well as maintain the basic democratic values is to reduce the federal government involvement in the state and local governments. If the majority of the population realizes the threats of concentration of power, this objective may be effectively achieved.


Holmes, D. (2006). The faiths of the Founding Fathers. Oxford University Press.

Jacobs, L. & Skocpol, T. (2010). Health care reform and American politics. Oxford University Press.

Wolfe, A. (2009). The future of liberalism. New York: Random House, Inc.

Related essays