Evaluate the view that the US is 'no longer a federal state'

The constitution divides power between the federal government and the states with the expectation that the bulk of government activity would occur in the states. ‘The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government are few and defined," Madison famously wrote in the Federalist Papers (No. 45). "Those which are to remain in the State Governments are numerous and indefinite. The growth of the size and power of the federal government has led to suggestions that power has been centralized to the point that the USA is no longer a federal state. The truth is that the federal balance has changed significantly over the last two centuries, but states retain considerable autonomy and the USA remains a federal state.

Arguments to say that federalism is much weaker in the USA today may concentrate on the steady growth of federal government power since at least the 1930s New Deal and particularly the development of ‘Co-operative Federalism’.

Failure of New Federalism-recessions of the new century- Dot Com bust and 2008 Bank Crisis have laft many states dependent on federal money.

Bush approved over 60 measures removing regulatory powers from the states, Bush was a ‘big government conservative’ and federal legislation like 'No child left behind' and an extension in Medicare coverage, Real ID Act  reflect this.

Bush was also a big government social conservatives so he banned  Stem Cell Research (because of links to abortion)s lifted by Obama and reinstated by Trump.

The growth in social conservatism under George W Bush. The 'Partial-birth abortion act', ban on stem cell research and Terri Schiavo Case are evidence of the willingness of social conservatives in Congress and the administration to interfere in state matters.

Obama –‘Carrot and stick federalism’ -Health care,( The criteria for its federal health law bars states from lowering eligibility requirements for either CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Programme) or Medicaid over the next several years, at the risk of losing all Medicaid funding.) The reauthorization of  SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Programme),  Pell Grants (garnts for poorer students),  the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA-) Race to the Top fund—(a $4.35 billion pot of grant money left largely to the discretion of U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan—led at least 10 states to change their laws in hopes of winning some of the money.)- Arizona law SB107 –blocked by Obama administration using an injunction. -- all this suggests an era of big government.

The crisis after 9/11 and the increase in federal government authority through emergency measures. The Patriot Act.  The Patriot Act, passed in October of 2001, expanded "the government's powers to conduct electronic surveillance or obtain personal records not only in terrorism cases but also in other criminal investigations

Recently, Supreme Court decisions such as Roper v Simmons 2005 and District of Columbia v Heller 2008, NFIB vs Sibelius and Obergfell vs Hodges , Arizona vs US  seem equally geared to increasing the authority of the federal government over the states.

Trump's budget proposals will substantially cut arts and social programmes but may inject money into infrastructure. ie bridges and roads.

Opposing arguments

May point to recent examples of states making their own policies, (‘Laboratories of policy’ Louis Brandeis) especially when federal initiatives seem to be lacking. Colorado- marijuana, Massachusetts- health care.

Obama’s ARRA – has been administered through the states and led to a big expansion of state employees. Allows states to pursue own goals e.g. California Pollution Permits.

Many decisions that are important in the lives of US citizens tend to be made at state or local level, encouraged by the notions of fiscal conservatism. It may be argued that federalism is still strong in the USA, both constitutionally and in practice, although its nature is constantly changing.

The ‘New Federalism era saw greater use of block grants and revenue sharing. and this has continued as many government grants and administered by the states so state also have seen their governments expand.

Supreme Court- Lopez vs US, Printz vs Arizona-have restricted the scope of the Commerce Clause and the federal government. The case of Dobbs vs Jackson 2018 has allowed states to ban abortions so over turning Roe V Wade.

The constitution contains several federal features: The 10th Amendment, The equal representation of the states in the Senate, the states role in amending the constitution and the states' role in electing presidents via the Electoral College.

The debates that have raged over the nature of federalism in the USA since the time of the Constitution are still going on.

Conclusion:  The Federal balance has changed but the USA remains a federal system.