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Study Notes

Federalism under Obama

AQA, Edexcel

Last updated 2 Jun 2017

The Obama administration saw large increases in federal government power and its size and scope.

During the Obama Administration 2009-2017, the role of the Federal Government increased further as a result of the introduction of Obamacare ensuring major changes to the healthcare system in the US, and the bailouts offered as a result of the Great Recession. Bailouts were offered to General Motors after their collapse shortly after Obama took office.


However, whilst this looks like a large increase in the scope and power of the federal government, Obama has allowed states to pursue their own policy goals. California was allowed to introduce pollution permits for business and Colorado allowed to legalise cannabis for recreational use. This does show the evolving and flexible nature of federalism, but it is important to note that these policies were only allowed when it suited Obama and fitted within his wider policy agenda.

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