Effectively Governing the Masses – Government (300 Level Course)
From the dawn of our great country of America there has been much debate as to the most effective way to govern the masses. Thomas Jefferson and his band of Anti-Federalists believed in a non aristocratic way of government. He believed in a system made up of many independent local governments that ruled in favor of its surrounding inhabitants. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Alexander Hamilton and his group called the Federalists, believed that the masses were not capable of managing themselves and a more centralized and powerful governmental agency should be established to rule.
As time continued, these two groups became known as Republicans and Democrats. I find it funny that to this day, we as a people of the United States are still debating the same issue of top heavy government versus smaller, more independent machines.
The difference between state and federal law can easily be seen in the recent case of Terri Shiavo. The state of Florida and the Federal Government disagreed on the important issue of Terri’s right to live. The state of Florida inevitably won the fight and Terri died almost two weeks after her feeding tube was removed, this propagates many questions about the differences between federal and state law making. The dissension amongst state and federal law making can not only be seen in ethical and morality issues such as the Shiavo case, but it is also very prevalent in employment law. In the paragraphs below I will discuss some of the differences between state and federal law as well as provide a specific example of a law that is noticeably different between state and federal mandates.
Due to the ground work set by Jefferson and the Anti-Federalists, the architecture of the United States legal system lends itself to much freedom on the side of the state legislators. State law makers are voted into position by the men and women who ideally share the same personal ideas and morals as they do. This procedure allows for communities to elect officials that will look out for the individuals in their own towns and cities. In short, ideally the laws put in place by local governments are customized to suit the individuals that live in that community. The federal government does not posses the ability to make such specific regulations, therefore, it is up to the state governments to customize their own laws to their populations.
A perfect example of how states can protect employees differently than the federal government is in benefits granted to employees of the state of Vermont versus the minimal federal requirements. The state of Vermont offers a list of minimal benefits to it’s work force that substantially supercedes the federal governments. For example, the federal minimum wage minimum is $5.15; the minimum wage for Vermont is $7.00, a vast increase over the federal minimum. Another protection that the state of Vermont shields it’s work force with is the mandate on random drug testing. Vermont does not allow random drug testing of employees without certain stipulations in place first. The federal government is much more lenient with employers who condone drug testing of its staff.
In certain cases, the federal and local governments can have a difference of opinion on the same topic. In these cases, the ruling is in favor of the law that best benefits the individual and not the employer. This is an example of the further deprecation of the Federal Governments power of influence. Take for example the federal minimum wage. In an example stated above, Vermont’s state minimum is much higher than that of the federal governments. In this case, all employees in that state make a minimum that coincides with Vermont’s minimum, not the Federal Government.