October 20 (Wednesday): Conservatism
1. Twelve years ago, Timothy Conlan (1998: 296) wrote that "Federalist rhetoric notwithstanding, Reagan consistently consistently favored federal over state and local authority whenever the former was more supportive of free markets or private sector interests." Is conservatism today too dependent on centralized social and economic policy to defend federalism adequately?
2. Was Bill Clinton more or less supportive of federalism than Presidents Reagan or either of the Bushes? Give both sides.
3. Revisit Richard Nathan’s “Updating Theories of American Federalism” (in Conlan and Posner, Intergovernmental Management for the 21st Century), the first full paragraphs on pages 20 and 21. Using the readings for this week, assess this question: “Richard Nathan, one of the nation’s leading experts on federalism, claims that federalism has had the effect of increasing the size of the welfare state—the opposite of the conventional wisdom. Is he right?”