The question regarding the amount of power of the federal government has been one of the most debated among the American citizens and a section of the leaders in the country. While some people feel that the government has enough power, there is a large percentage of the citizens who think the federal government of the United States has too much power. Statistically, only approximately a third of the Americans feel that the government has enough amount of power, while about 55-60% opine that the government is too powerful (Swift). However, there is a small percentage (7%) of people who see the powers bestowed to the federal government as being too low (Shafritz and Weinberg 27). Each of the proponents of the different positions has their reasons for their stand. Some of the people who think that the government has too much power feel that the Federal Government fails to respect the Constitution.
It should be noted that the issue of power has been in contention for an extended period. Even the founders of the nation did not seem to agree on the size, the form or even the structure that the government should take. These disagreements led to two factions, namely federalists and anti-federalists. It is the two factions that eventually culminated to the two major political parties of the United States. Federalists believed that the central government should be powerful as that would be the best model to serve the needs of the Americans while anti-federalists, on the other hand, believed that the interests of America would be best served when power is bestowed on the state government (Shafritz and Weinberg 32). This paper argues that the Federal Government has too much power since it has excessive control over the citizen's affairs as well as the State Government and hence the power ought to be reduced to improve service delivery.
Reasons as to why the federal government has too much power
One of the reasons as to why the federal government can be regarded to have excess powers is that it can infiltrate the privacy of its citizens. The government is spying its citizens in everything they are doing. It sees their text messages, listening to their phone calls, reading their emails and observing everything that they are doing without their knowledge and their consent. According to the government, the right to collect all phone records and track text messages that are made to, from or within the United States of America is accredited by Section 215 of the Patriot Act. The National Security Agency (NSA), which is under the federal government spies all the communications in the United States of America in the name of fighting terrorism. It is the right of every citizen to enjoy their privacy. Therefore, when the national government does not respect the call for the privacy of its citizens, it can be said to overstep its powers or other applying to much power than it should. According to the original author of this law, the federal government was only supposed to spy on call records and communications about a foreign intelligence investigation that is being carried out. However, the citizens of the United States no longer have any trust in their government in that it does not respect their privacy (ATR).
Also, the government continues to spend taxpayers' money even on projects that have continually proved to be a failure. There are numerous projects in which the government has indulged in, but they have backfired in some cases. For instance, federal education spending has consistently increased despite the fact that it has not achieved significant benefits. Its failures are measurable by a great extent. There have also been concerns about the health care provisions- which have been at the center of politics of nearly every administration that has been at the helm. The Affordable Care Act was developed with the primary objective of improving the quality of health and reduce the cost of health provision. However, this realization is yet to be attained. Despite these failures, the government continues to spend taxpayers' money on these projects. The public does not have the powers to control how its money is spent despite the fact that they are the contributors to these budgets through tax. In other words, the federal government has the control of money that in the real sense does not belong to it. As a result, citizens feel that it has too much power since it continues to spend public money despite not delivering the public expectations meaning it can misuse the funds without much intervention actions by the citizens (ATR). There should be regulatory measures to control or other to regulate how the government spends money even in cases where the relevant authorities have approved the budget.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is another government agency that extends the excessive powers of the federal government. The agency has been accused of targeting specific organizations and requesting them for information regarding their employees' salaries and wages. It also seeks donor information as well as other private data that is seen to be relevant for tax. IRS is an agency that offers revenue services such as tax collection for the federal government. Most of the organizations targeted by the IRS are those that have different ideologies from those of the existing administration. On top of seeking private information from the organization, the IRS has also been accused of not being able to keep track of how the money is spent. A case in point is where $67 million that was meant for Obamacare was said to have disappeared without any explanation (ATR). As stated on ATR, through this agency, the federal government has been acquiring financial information for citizens without their consent. This case, therefore further demonstrates that the federal government has too much power since it is the right of every person to have their financial information kept secret unless in situations where there are legal suits against the specific individuals.
The power distribution between the state government and the federal governments has mainly been unequal. Federal government instills too much control over the state governments. For instance, the state governments have to depend on funding from the federal governments in most cases. Besides, it is the federal government that is supposed to give powers to the states. This case means that the national government holds the supreme power. It is the ruling government and can regulate all the other operations that take place in the country. By the mere fact that the states have to rely on funding from the national government, it means that they cannot make significant decisions regarding the projects in which they are to execute. They have to carry out projects based on the financing they get.
Also, since it is the federal government that finances them, it can influence how the funds are to be utilized. In reality, states are not sustainable since they cannot function less the support from the federal government. In other words, without the national government, the state government will either be non-existence or will be not functional. Despite the fact that there are three levels of government in the United States of America, it is the federal government that is actually in control. It is the one that makes most significant decisions and at the same time controls funds and hence projects. This scenario, therefore, means that the Federal Government is very powerful in comparison to the state and local governments, an issue that is to the disadvantage of Americans.
However, some people believe that the Federal Government does not have too much power since it allows the State Government to make their policies and conduct their operations. This idea is wrong because State Government can only make policies that adhere to the laws put in place by Federal Government. They also cannot make policies concerning certain departments such as national security. They also believe that when the Federal Government has more power over the other levels of government, there are fewer or no conflicts of power. It can govern and oversee operations in the country without challenges such as difficulties in deciding which level of government should execute certain roles. This idea is also faulty because this only means there could be possible interference from the Federal government.
It can be adduced that the federal government has too much power. It has too much control over the major institutions, citizens as well as the other levels of government. There are no measures to regulate its functions, and hence it can misuse its powers if it wishes to. There is a need to minimize some of the federal government's powers and allocate them to the state governments to ensure equitable development and execution of duties. The powers of the federal government that overrides the rights of citizens should also be minimized. It is the right of every citizen to enjoy privacy unless in exceptional cases that may involve legal or security issues
ATR. 6 Reasons Why 60% of All Americans Now Think Government Has Too Much Power. Americans for Tax Reform. 2013. <https://www.atr.org/reasons-percent-all-americans-government-power-a7890?amp> Accessed May 4, 2018
Shafritz, Jay M, and Lee S. Weinberg. Classics in American Government. Belmont, Calif: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2006. Print
Swift Art. Majority in U.S. Say Federal Government Has Too Much Power. Gallup. 2017. < http://news.gallup.com/poll/220199/majority-say-federal-government-power.aspx > Accessed May 4, 2018
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