The the piece The “Marble Cake” Theory of

The definition of Federalism
provided in our text American Government: Power and Purpose is the division of
powers and functions between the national government and the state government.
In the piece The “Marble Cake” Theory of Federalism, Morton Grodzins gives a
description of the American federal system of government. Before the “Marble
Cake” theory or Cooperative Federalism, there was the “Layered Cake” theory or
Dual Federalism. In Dual Federalism, the states and their local governments did
most of the governing, and the National government didn’t have a lot of power
because of the way the constitution. In The American Commonwealth, James Bryce
discussed his interpretation of the government was that the federal government
had its tasks and goals separated from the state government; there is no mixing
of efforts. Grodzins thought that Bryce’s idea about federalism was incorrect, that
the national and the state government had a shift in power and shared functions
especially after the New Deal. Grodzins talks about the federal grant programs
—these grants provided to the state by the national government for a specific
purpose. Then, the states use the money and run a certain program. It is a way
that the federal government has some influence in how the state and local
governments run because without the “aid” the federal/national government
provides the state and local government can’t make certain programs of
activities happen.

I felt that this piece was accurate
and very interesting. The National and the state/local governments do work together
to achieve a common goal. This piece caught my attention because I am a social
work major and the 1930’s and the New Deal caused a shift in the role of the
government in social welfare. The New Deal brought about many significant
programs to social work such as Social Security, the Federal Emergency Relief
Act, and the Civilian Conservation Corps. In my social work readings, I read about
the Welfare System which ties back into The Marble Cake Theory of Federalism
and how the national and state/local governments work together. The Welfare
system is run in federal, state, and local programs. States have the power to
create their own programs and run them but they are usually funded by the
federal government These funds are given to the state as block grants. This
funding can be used however the state deems necessary as long as the state
follows some rules. An example of how block grants can be  used is by Louisiana Department of Child and
Family Services. The Federal Government allocates funds to States/Territories to support social services for vulnerable
children, adults, and families through the SSBG (Social Services Block Grant). There is a report made every
year on what the state’s objective is, who is eligible, the limitations to
using the grant, the federal goal, and expenditure reports. These reports are
available to view on the Department of Child and family Services website.

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