The national level was able to achieve their goals through the local level by using categorical grant in aid programs. These grants were given out with certain objectives that had to be met and specific criteria would have to be followed. This categorical grant in aid had two parts to it. The two parts were the formula grant and the project grant. The formula grant was given to local governments providing that they would set up social service programs for people who were not that wealthy. This grant was based on the population and how much income people had in the local government. This grant was usually provided were the population was diversed and poor. Along with the formula grant the government used project grants. Project grants were given out to local governments if they would start constructing major projects. The local government would then have to build major projects such as railroad systems, and sewage treatment plants. All of these projects were the idea of the national government. This shows how the national level worked through the local government to get what they wanted done.
These grants had several major disadvantages to them. One is the grants reduced the authority at the state and local levels. The grants were copious and overlapped each other at times. The grants also gave the state governor more authority over the state legislators. Overall many people were not happy with these grants because they felt that the national level had just too much power over the state and local levels.
Since the categorical grant in aid program did not sit to well with state and local government officials. The officials came up with the idea of block grants. A block grant is made up of several categorical grants into one. The block grants would not have the stipulations attached to them. This block grant would allow local and state levels to use more discretionary power. The grant would also allow local and state levels to reach their goals faster and it would save the national government money.
The first block program was put in place in the 1960 s. Since then many categorical grants have been merged into block grants. This was shown in 1981 when President Reagan merged fifty-seven categorical grants in aid programs in to nine block grants. The block grants were also easy to put into practice due to the regulations being short and easy to fill out. By having easier regulations to follow people at the state and local level found themselves with less paperwork to fill out. The major advantage to the block grant was that it allowed states to have more flexibility in placing the program into effect.
In conclusion, this is how the national government was able to achieve its goals through the local level. The process was not liked because the state and local governments felt like they had no discretion on how the money from the grants would be spent. They felt that the national government was controlling all levels of government. Not until the 1960 s was there a solution. That solution was the block grants. These grants were well liked because they gave returned local and state governments their discretions on how the money would be spent. The grants also reduced the amount of paper work the officials had to do.