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POL203Y1 (58)
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Department
Political Science
Course
POL203Y1
Professor
Ryan Hurl
Semester
Fall

Description
October 4 On Medicare - Basically, it’s a subsidy for healthcare towards the elderly - Becoming an issue due to demographic changes (0.7% of GDP to 3% of GDP from 1970 – 2010) - Explains differences in the plans of Obama and Romney - Obama: Healthcare ‘rationing’ - Romney: Market approach (insurance companies bid for policies of individuals) Federalism (Slide 2) - A lot of it comes down to money - Many of the transformations have come about because of the unconstrained spending power of the federal government - When you move from a system of states to central, that’s not right. Federal power should be used to increase state power, thru spending (state constitutions) - Constitutional Level, two basic perspectives: 1. Process Federalism - Federalism is a political issue - Jurisdiction of the federal government and states is something that isn’t determined thru constitution and contours of federalism are meant to change over time - Constitution built protection of federalism into it, but policy authority is meant to be flexible over time. 2. Constitutional Federalism - Federalism is built into the constitution - These doctrines can be enforced by the courts - Madison: threat comes from states. Demographically un-diverse states mean that they are economically un-diverse. Therefore, they will have political elite and political power will be monopolized permanently over time. Democracy will become safer if the ‘sphere is extended’. Make it difficult to form majorities. - Constitutional structure is meant to strangle faction; creates competitive federalism Federalism and the Constitution (slide) - General Welfare Clause - General overview - Federal spending power - Commerce Clause - General overview - Creates conditions of competitive federalism - It’s about undermining the connection between business and government (an aspect of factionalism) - Creates a kind of free trade zone amongst the states - Going forward, there will be criticisms of this perspective - States gain at the expense of another state’s loss - Competition amongst states places severe limits on the social policies enacted (race to the bottom – repeal environmental laws in order to compete with another state that has no environmental laws) - Later in the 20 Century: By cooperating with the federal government, states will be able to circumnavigate around these ‘competitive barriers’ to growth - Madison’s perspective: this isn’t a very detailed constitution, but many provisions prevent the states from doing the worst things (from using power in a factional sense) - Article 4: State to State - Full faith and Credit - Privileges and Immunities - Can’t create barriers on citizens from state to state - Creates kind of a national free trade zone from state to state The Development of Federalism (slide) th - Most of 19 Century: Decentralized Federalism - The Dormant Commerce Clause - Congress has been dormant in terms of regulating commerce amongst states - States cannot discriminate against other states - Federal courts maintain crucial role in maintaining ‘competitive federalism’ - Doctrine of Nullification - States can resist federal laws that they regard as unconstitutional - Based on erroneous interpretation of the constitution - Erroneous notion: The constitution is a compact amongt states, so the states can nullify federal laws if they so please. - It’s not like an international treaty! - Civil War - Its effects are diluted - Ended Slavery - 14 Amendment – give congress more power to protect individual rights - Republican party loses the will to enforce reconstruction on the south (1876) - Racial hierarchies are still intact - State Action Doctrine - Formed first in the ‘civil rights cases’: federal laws that dealt with acts of discrimination - Congress thought they had the power to create these laws under 14 th amendment th - Courts: 14 amendment only meant ot prevent explicit state acts of discrimination - National government cannot try and prevent private acts of racial discrimination - If a state govt is using the stat police to prevent people from voting, the national govt can do something. But if it’s just a bunch of private citizens preventing people from voting (e.g. KKK), then that’s just the people doing their thing. th - Moving into 20 Century, we begin to see crucial tensions of federalism - 20 Century developments: - US is going through immense economic changes - Demographic changes (immigration, etc.) - Sense of dislocation; sense that the national govt must adjust in order to deal with forms of economic power that previously had not been seen as adverse to the general public The Progressive Era and Conflict over Federalism: Examples (slide) - The Interstate Commerce Act, 1887 - An attempt to regulate the pricing of railroads (affects railroad monopolies) - New modes of transportation put farmers in a disadvantage - Minimal at first because railroads are part of commerce amongst the states - The Sherman Anti-Trust Act, 1890 - Point is to explain the judicial resistance to the expansion of national policy authority - E.g. some sugar company ends up controlling 90% of sugar production. This corporation falls under the ‘interstate commerce’ act. - Controlling sugar monopoly does not fall under the commerce clause -Nothing about this particular - The mere size of the corporation does not mean that it is commerce. Commerce is movement/trade amongst states. - Regulation falls on the states - Commerce clause: it has to be a part of interstate commerce. Producing something in different states isn’t necessarily ‘commerce’ - Distinction between commerce and production is a central distinction when spe
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