Shared Power between States and Federal Government in the USA
Immigrants wishing to become the US citizens have to show knowledge and understanding of the difficult concepts of organization of the state and society in the USA. One of the most important concepts is federalism.
Federalism in the USA can be characterized by sharing, overlapping and competing powers among all levels of government, that leads to the creation of the source of energy and tension in the U.S. system of government.
Thanks to the “checks and balances” in the authority of the local government and states government, the federal government controls from abusing its powers, and vice versa.
At the national level, the U.S. Constitution provides for “checks and balances” through three governmental branches: the executive (the president and administration), the legislative or Congress (the House of Representatives and the Senate), and the judicial (the courts). Because these three branches share powers and are independent, each can partially limit the powers of the other two.
The government obtains three types of powers through the Constitution:
• Express powers — directly specified in the Constitution.
• Implied powers — not listed in the U.S. Constitution but implied through the necessary and proper clause in Article I, Section 8 (“The Congress shall have power to make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution” its express powers).
• Inherent powers — natural powers of the national government to represent the country in relations with other countries.
• Regulating ownership of property.
• Educating residents.
• Implementing social benefit programs and distributing aid.
• Protecting people from local threats.
• Maintaining a state justice system.
• Setting up local governments.
• Maintaining state highways and ensuring management of local roads.
• Regulating industry.
• Raising money for state activities.
The system of “checks and balances” becomes the world known symbol of democracy in the United States.