Differences Between Dual and Cooperative Federalism

Federalism is a governmental system in which authority is divided between two sovereign levels of government: national and regional. This notion of federalism was the founding fathers’ solution to the difficulty of creating a nation out of thirteen sovereign states. For instance, the United States government and Ohio government share powers, such as creating and collecting taxes, but others belong solely to one. Dual federalism is a doctrine based on the idea that a precise separation of national power and state power is both possible and desirable.

This is commonly known as "layer cake" federalism. Dual federalism can be defined by three main parts: I. The national government can regulate solely by the enumerated powers, powers explicitly enumerated by the Constitution. II. The national government has a constrained set of dedications. III. Each lawmaking unit is sovereign. It contends that powers not allotted to the national government are solely for the states and the people, and asserts that the elastic clause is inflexible.

Also, the Tenth Amendment reserves, for states, powers not allocated to the national government or denied to the states via the Constitution. Cooperative federalism, or "marble cake" federalism, is the situation in which the national, state, and local governments work together to solve problems. They could also share expenses, administration, and even liability for programs. Cooperative federalism can be well-defined by three components: I. National and state agencies assume government functions supportively rather than solely. II. The nation and states characteristically share authority.

III. Authority is not concentrated at any government level. This partition of responsibilities gives voters access to many localities of power. It rejects the idea that governments must exist separately, and limits the Tenth Amendment. It also suggests the elasticity of the elastic clause. This avoids any misconception of the laws of either party and permits improvement for the entire country. The main difference between dual and cooperative federalism is the interpretation of two sections of the Constitution describing the correlation between state and national governments. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution defines the enumerated powers of the national government and it closes with the elastic clause.

The elastic clause gives Congress the authority “to make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers” suggesting the enumerated powers. The problem is that the understanding of the laws of both the state and national governments may vary and create a clash, which, in turn, might stop the entire country from developing due to a lone conflict.

In a dual federalist country, the state and national governments are two sovereign governments. In contrast, a cooperative federalist government provides further authority to the national government than the state. But then again a cooperative federalist government has several disadvantages as well. Since the national government has additional powers than the state, it could generate laws which it deems good for the majority of the people but not essentially good for a particular state. This shortcoming can make the application of some programs slower than a dual federalist government.