Friday, January 30, 2009

Obama and Federalism

Today's NYT contained an enlightening article on the Obama administration's view of federalism.   The Times describes the approach as "progressive federalism" or "cooperative federalism."  As support, the Times offers Obama's pledge earlier this week to allow states (California) to create emissions standards that are more stringent than those imposed by the federal government.    The best description of the Obama Administration's approach is given by UNC law Professor William Marshall who states:

“The pro-regulatory folks realized in the last eight years that the old line on federal power being the only good power wasn’t correct . . . “It doesn’t mean you abandon the federal regulatory process — you don’t, of course,” Mr. Marshall said. “But you treat it as a floor and not a ceiling.”  He added, “The Obama administration is signaling that state regulations may very well complement federal regulations, and they can both work together to achieve important goals.”

Improved federalism could have a multitude of benefits, especially in our new, softer economy.  The article is well worth the read, as the issue is one that the administration will no doubt be confronting frequently in the first 100 days and beyond.


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