Federalism is the sharing and distribution of powers and resources between a central government and state/local governments. This system differs from a unitary system where a central government exercises its authority the state/local governments. A federal system of government is also different from a confederacy. In a confederate system of government, state and local governments are autonomous in their decision making abilities from a central authority. The United States, of course, has a federal system of government. A federal system of government is not without debate.
At the heart of any federalism debate is the size and scope of government. Those who are centralists favor more national action in regards to solving problems. Supporters of centralism believe that the “centralization” of power brings about a more efficient way of handling problems when they arise. Those who are decentralists believe in more state/local action when solving problems. They also believe that decentralization checks tyranny and allows for experimentation. By experimentation, we mean that state and local governments can decide what solutions work best for them without any national or central authority giving permission.
Where do you stand? Are you a centralist or a decentralist?