Federalism and Regulations

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If the federal government delegated responsibilities for large services such as healthcare to the states, there will be significant growth at the state level. The funds will be used to boost the well-being of the population within the society, resulting in an increase in the majority’s living conditions. Jobs rates, in particular, will rise. For example, if the state were to establish a welfare program, a new organization or corporation would be required to prepare and administer the program. This would mean that there will be opportunities for administrative and operational job opportunities for the state members. One specific role that would be present is the human resource management to direct and control the manpower involved in running the program (Bowman & Kearney, 2017). There will also be a need to employ personnel to create the criteria for the welfare benefit qualifications and payment systems appropriate for the state people. Caseworkers may also be required in the program to aid guide the public through the application process, as well as evaluate the needs of the applicants. This scenario would result in the increase of employment rate in the states.

Another possible scenario would be the increase in the inter-state shift of employees. With the differing possible criteria for the qualification of welfare benefits, some employees will feel favored by other states, thus, forced to relocate. For instance, in Colorado the income limit needed to qualify would be $1,000 while that of New York would be as high as $1,400. This would mean that the state of New York would lose employees while Colorado will see an influx in employees.

In the case of a welfare program, the state’s employment level will still remain high even if the federal activities reduce. This is as a result of the fact that a new agency or program would be created by the state that would continuously provide employment opportunities for the people (Bowman & Kearney, 2017). At the federal level, various employees may be laid off or transferred to the state agencies in the created programs due to experience and expertise. In both cases, there would be increase in state level employment while a decrease in federal employment. Another way to justify the increase in state employment is through the availability of resources. With the reimbursed financial resources, the state will be able to create new opportunities for the people. Thus, regardless of the circumstances at the federal government, the level of employment at the state would remain high.

According to Dupor & Li (2015), the government grants represent an appropriate percentage of the federal budget and the GDP. The grant programs are considered important in the United States, especially for the low and moderate income earners who may not be able to afford the required educational and health needs. Discretionary and mandatory grants account for a great share of the federal government; approximately 22% of the budget is allocated for grants, with 31% accounted by the state budgets. The fedspending.org (2016) also stipulates that the budget data for 2011 showed a 17% of the total GDP on the grants (approximately $3271 billion).

PART B: Protected Speech

The U.S constitution protects the freedom of speech through the First Amendment which constraints the government or people from denying an individual the right to right materials or speak their mind (Cohen¸ 2017). However, there are types of speech that are not protected by the constitution including obscenity and child pornography. Obscenity laws consider the use of disgusting, lewd, or filthy language or pictures. Improper depictions or materials can, thus, be prohibited from the public in a particular place or time. With lack of agreeable legal definition of the term obscenity, the federal and state courts have adopted the Miller test to measure the extent at which an act or content can fall under obscenity (Powers & Jablonski, 2015). The criteria for this, thus, include: whether the individual with the “obscene” content finds his/her work appealing to “prurient interest,” whether the content reveals sexual conduct or offensive behavior, and if the content lacks artistic, political, literary, or scientific value (Cohen, 2017).

An example of obscenity case is the FCC v. Pacifica of 1978, also known as the “seven dirty words” case. The appellant had reported that the appellee, John Zenger, had published a newspaper content that contained seditious libel which would affect his political career. During the ruling, the court established that using offensive words repeatedly where minors can hear is punishable. After consideration by the jury, Zenger was acquitted of the charges since he was able to prove that his utterances were true and valid. It was the first case to acquit charges of obscenity on the basis of truth as a defense.

Another form of speech not protected by the constitution is child pornography (Ruane, 2014). The possession of child pornography is unprotected to avoid the possible exploitation of children. The Child Pornography Protection Act (CPPA) of 1996 defined child pornography as “a visual depiction that appears to be of minor.” Since this law protected on the target and not the content, the Congress later enacted the PROTECTION Act, Title V that prohibits any digital image, of computer-generated content depicting minors engaging in sexual or demeaning activities (Ruane¸ 2014). An example of this form of speech is producing pornographic content on websites that can easily be accessed by children. The obscene content is illegal since it may affect the children’s psychological development.

It is important to restrict some form of speech over others due to the resulting impacts among the population. In particular, speech harmful to children is fully restricted by the First Amendment to protect the minors. The court had established that there is need to protect the psychological and physical health of children (Hick, Halpin, & Hoskins, 2016). However, this restriction is accomplished by considering the regulations to avoid interference with the freedom stated in the First Amendment. Thus, the government may restrict the sale of contents that are harmful to children even if they may not be obscene to adults (Cohen, 2017). There may also be a prohibition of broadcast of “improper” language on television or radio on time of day when children are likely to watch or listen. As such, some broadcasts are banned by the federal government between 6.00 am in the morning and 10.00 pm.

An example of case showing protection of children rights against obscene speech is Morse v. Frederick. In the case, the court held that the pupil was to be punished for displaying a banner written, “BONG HiTS 4 JESUS” because the words meant “using illegal drugs” (Strossen, 2014). The court argued that the pupil could not have been punished if the banner addressed the issue of drug possession.

There are various advantages and disadvantages of having free and uncensored information flow. One common advantage is the fact that people are able to enjoy the wholesomeness of the information conveyed from different sources (Hallberg & Virkkunen¸ 2017). Thomas Jefferson had indicated that, “people’s liberty relies on the freedom of the press, and cannot be limited without being lost.” The president meant that lack of freedom of speech results in the limitation of information circulated (Hick, Halpin, & Hoskins, 2016). As such, free flow of this information can allow sharing by many people. Another advantage is that people are able to learn and get full detail of information if there is no restriction or censoring. In an educational setting, for instance, students would be limited to the amount of information they receive which can affect the learning potential (Hallberg & Virkkunen¸ 2017). Free flow of information allows for collection of data from different sources.

However, there are also risks associated with free flow of information; first, it increases national security risks since harmful individuals such as attackers may be able to easily gain access to information that puts national security information in the public (Hallberg & Virkkunen¸ 2017). Confidential information about the military can easily be held by the terrorists via the internet. Free flow of information can also promote violence in a country; lack of information restriction promotes vulgarism content which might be available to children. Violent content can also act as inciting words that motivate individuals to commit crime or engage in obscene behaviors.

References

Bowman, A. O. M., & Kearney, R. C. (2017). State and local government. Nelson Education.

Cohen, H. (2007, April). Freedom of speech and press: exceptions to the First Amendment. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE.

Dupor, B., & Li, R. (2015). The expected inflation channel of government spending in the postwar US. European Economic Review, 74, 36-56.

Hallberg, P., & Virkkunen, J. (2017). Freedom of Speech in the Turbulence of the Changing World. In Freedom of Speech and Information in Global Perspective (pp. 223-254). Palgrave Macmillan US.

Hick, S., Halpin, E., & Hoskins, E. (Eds.). (2016). Human rights and the Internet. Springer.

Powers, S. M., & Jablonski, M. (2015). The real cyber war: The political economy of internet freedom. University of Illinois Press.

Ruane, K. A. (2014). Freedom of speech and press: Exceptions to the First Amendment. Available [online] also at: https://www. fas. org/sgp/crs/misc/95-815. pdf [accessed in Cianjur, Indonesia: September 25, 2014].

Strossen, N. (2014). Textualism and the Bill of Rights. Harv. JL & Pub. Pol’y, 37, 721.

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