Short Answer Questions
1. What is the difference between a transfer payment & a tax expenditure? Give an example like of each.
Approximately 65% of all money collected in taxes by the federal government is returned to the economy as transfer payments to citizens. Transfers to citizens range from Social Security and unemployment benefits to payments to farmers to support commodity prices. Interest on the public debt is also a form of a transfer payment, one that now absorbs nearly 8% of total federal spending. Another 10% of tax receipts is transferred to other levels of government to support their activities.
The use of money transfers to attempt to promote certain behaviors is in many ways an inefficient means of reaching policy goals. The money paid out in Social Security benefits, for example, is intended to provide the basics of life for recipients, but nothing prevents those recipients from using it to buy food for their pets rather than for themselves. The claims about how “welfare” payments are used and abused are legion, if often inaccurate. Many transfer programs, though less expensive than providing direct services, are much less certain of reaching the individuals and achieving the goals for which they were intended (p. 9)
The term tax expenditures derives from the theory that granting tax relief for an activity is the same as subsidizing that activity directly through an expenditure program. The use of the tax system as a policy instrument as well as for revenue collection is perhaps even less certain in its effects than transfer payments, for the system is essentially providing incentives rather than mandating activities. Tax incentives are a subset of all incentives available to government to encourage or discourage activities. If a system of incentives can be structured effectively, then demands on the public sector can be satisfied in a more efficient and inexpensive manner than through direct regulation. Clearly, this form of policy instrument is applicable to a rather narrow range of policies, mostly those now handled through command and control regulation, but even in that limited way, the savings in costs of government and in the costs imposed on society may be significant (pp. 10-11).
2. What is the “garbage can model” (or multiple streams model) of policy making?
The garbage can model of organizational decision making is one of the important contributions of the bounded rationality approach. The basic idea of the garbage can is that the multiple constraints on policy prevent real-world implementation of the rational model of policies to pursue goals. Rather, in the garbage can, streams of opportunities converge almost at random, so it is difficult to predict what policies will be adopted. For example, John Kingdon has discussed agenda setting in policy as the opening of windows of opportunity that present the opportunities to use as solutions. The confluence of those streams may mean that solutions pursue
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goals, rather than the usual assumption that programs are formulated to solve problems. Bureaucratic organizations have commitments to instruments and other “solutions” and hence may want to find ways of using their instruments. This behavior may be especially evident when the organization is threatened by termination or by other organizations competing for their turf.
The garbage can model has been generalized to the multiple streams approach to policymaking. The logic of this approach is that three streams of factors––problems, politics, and policy characterizations––converge in more or less accidental manners. This process is not entirely accidental, however; policy entrepreneurs play a crucial role in bringing together the various streams and in using, if not creating, windows of opportunity. Thus, although elements in the streams may emerge somewhat randomly, there is a need for some political or administrative actor to bring the streams together and produce effective action (p. 57).
3. Compare pluralist & elitist explanations of agenda
The dominant, though far from undisputed, approach to policymaking is pluralism. Stated briefly, the pluralist approach assumes that policy making in government is divided into a number of separate arenas and that the interests and individuals who have power in one arena do not necessarily have power in others. Furthermore, interests that are victorious at one time or in one arena will not necessarily win at another time or place. The pluralist approach to policymaking assumes that there is something of a marketplace in policies, with a number of interests competing for power and influence, even within a single arena. The competitors are conceived as interest groups competing for access to institutions for decision making and for the attention of central actors in the hope of producing their desired outcomes. The groups are assumed, much as in the market model of the economy, to be relatively equal in power, so that on any one issue any interest might be victorious. Finally, the actors involved in the political process generally agree on the rules of the game, especially the rule that elections are the principle means of determining policy. The principle function of government is to serve as an umpire in this struggle among competing group interests and to enforce the victories through public law (pp. 70-71).
The elitist approach to American policymaking seeks to contradict the dominant pluralist approach. It assumes the existence of a power elite that dominates public decision making and whose interests are served in the policymaking process. In the elitist analysis, the same interests in society consistently win, and they are primarily those of business, the upper and middle classes, and whites. Analysts from an elite perspective have pointed out that to produce the kind of equality assumed in the pluralist model would
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require relatively equal levels of organization by all interests in society. They then point out that relatively few interests of working and lower-class individuals are effectively organized; compared to many of its European counterparts, American labor is not particularly well organized or powerful. Although all individuals in a democracy certainly have the right to organize, elitist theories point to the relative lack of resources (e.g., time, money, organizational ability, and communication skills) among members of the lower economic classes. Thus, political organizations for many poorer people, if it exists at all, may imply only token participation, and their voices will be drowned in the sea of middle class voices described by E. E. Schattschneider. The claims of elitism have been reinforced in 2011 and 2012 by increasing awareness of the economic and political power of the richest 1% of the American population.
The implications of the elitist approach are rather obvious. If agenda formulation is crucial to the process of policymaking, then the ability of elites to keep certain issues off the agenda is crucial to their power. Adherents of this approach believe that the agenda in most democratic countries represents not the competitive struggle of relatively equal groups, as argued by the pluralist model, but the systematic use of elite power to decide which issues the political system will or will not consider. Scholars argue that the elite uses its power systematically to exclude issues that would threaten its interests and that those “suppressed issues” represent a major threat to democracy. If too many significant issues are kept off the agenda, the legitimacy of the political system can be threatened, along with its survival in most extreme cases. A decision not to alter the status quo is a decision, whether it is made overtly through the policymaking process or is the result of the application of power to prevent the issue from ever being discussed (pp. 71-72).
4. What is logrolling? Why does it occur?
The basic patterns of decision making in American politics are logrolling and the pork barrel, through which, instead of clashing over the allocation of resources, actors minimize conflict by giving one another what they want. For example, instead of contending over which river and harbor improvements will be authorized in any year, Congress has tended to approve virtually all proposals, so that all members can claim to have produced something for the folks back home. Or Congress members from farming areas may trade positive votes on urban development legislation for the support of farm legislation by inner-city Congress members. This pattern helps incumbents to be reelected, but it costs taxpayers a great deal more than would a more selective system.
Although logrolling tends to spread benefits widely, being directly
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involved in the decision-making subsystem tends to produce more benefits for Congress members and their constituents. That could be see easily in the distribution of funds from the 2005 SAFE Transportation Equity Act. This act provided a good deal of highway spending for all the American states but tended to favor the states and congressional districts represented on the transportation committees in both houses of Congress.
Logrolling and pork barrel policy making are very effective as long as there is sufficient wealth and economic growth to pay for subsidizing large numbers of public programs (p. 37).
Another strategy for forming coalitions that is similar to partisan analysis is logrolling, in which coalitions are formed not around a single piece of legislation but across a set of legislative initiatives. In the simplest example, Representative A favors bill A but is indifferent to bill B. Representative B, on the other hand, favors bill B but is indifferent to bill A. The logical thing for these two members to do is trade their votes on the two pieces of legislation, with A voting for bill B and B voting for bill A. Several bills may be involved in vote trading over time. In some ways, logrolling is a rational activity because it allows the passage of legislation that some members of Congress––and presumably their
constituencies––favor intensely but that might not otherwise be able to gain a majority. But logrolling also has the effect of bringing about the approval of a great deal more legislation than would otherwise be passed, thus boosting public expenditures and taxation. It enables relatively narrow interests in the nation to develop coalitions for their legislation that may not be justifiable in terms of the broader public interest (p. 101).
Added Notes: Is a coalition formed not around a single piece of legislation but instead its a strategy whereby a bill is traded between congress representatives . For example , let say Representative A favor Bill A but indifferent to Bill B. On other hand Representative B favor Bill B not Bill A, so in order for Logrolling to occur these -representatives will have to trade their favors in if votes in order to make sure each bill passes by supporting each other
5. What is incrementalism? What is its strength as a method for making policy decisions?
The logic of bounded rationality that rejects comprehensive rationality when considering policymaking appears also in the incrementalist approach to policy. Incrementalism has two distinct elements, but both support the basic logic that making comprehensively rational policy decisions is impossible and perhaps even unwise. The empirical approach to incrementalism has examined repetitive policymaking––especially on the budget.
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Those studies have found that the volume and complexity of decisions lead decision makers to fall back on simple incremental rules of thumb rather than attempt to make the perfect allocations of funds. The assumption is that by making a series of small adjustments over time, appropriate allocation of funds will be achieved.
The normative argument for incrementalism is that in the long run better decisions are made by “successive limited comparisons” of a policy choice to the status quo and by gradually adapting policies
through trial and error and learning. The argument is that this allows retreats if poor initial choices are made and prevents costly investments in poorly designed programs. On the other hand, incrementalism can be seen as excessively conservative, retaining existing policies for longer than might be justified and preventing significant reforms (pp. 57-58).
Broadly, incrementalism means that changes in an agency's budget from year to year tend to be predictable, but the word has taken on several additional, more specific interpretations. First, incremental decision making is described as a process that is not “synoptic,” or not fully rational––that is, incremental decision making does not involve examining sweeping alternatives to the status quo and then making a decision about the optimal use of budgetary resources. Rather, incremental decision making involves “successive limited comparisons,” or the sequential examination of marginal changes from the status quo and decisions about whether to make those marginal adjustments to current policies. An incremental decision-making process builds on earlier decisions, seeking means to improve the existing situation rather than altering current policies or budgetary priorities completely.
Advocates of incremental decision making argue that it is actually more rational than the synoptic method. Because it provides an experiential base from which to work, the incremental method offers a greater opportunity to make good policy choices than does the apparently more rational synoptic method. In addition, errors made in an incremental decision-making process can be more easily reversed than can major changes made in a synoptic process. In many ways, incremental decision making is a cost minimizing form of rationality rather than a benefit-maximizing approach. Incrementalism reduces costs, first, by limiting the range of alternatives and thereby limiting the research and calculation costs for decision makers, and second, by reducing the costs of change, particularly of error correction. Given the limited calculating capacity of human beings––even with the aid of modern technology––and the resistance of most individuals and
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organizations to change, incrementalism can be argued to be a rational means for making choices (pp. 170-171).
6. What are unfunded
mandates, and why do they cause friction between
national & state officials? Give an example.
An unfunded mandate is when the federal government has jurisdiction but forces a state to fund and implement the new federal requirements. An example is when Congress legislated a national drinking age via highway fund manipulation. If a state did not wish to comply with the federal drinking age, then they would lose some or all of their federal highway funds. Unfunded mandates create friction between federal and state because state legislators (especially those with strong 10th Amendment sentiments) do not like to be coerced into carrying out the will of the federal government.
7. Why is the interstate
commerce clause important for understanding the growth of the federal government?
The interstate commerce clause is important because it involves the physical movement of people and things across state lines. Over the course of US history, especially in the last 150 years, the interstate commerce clause has evolved into anything that has to do with interstate commerce. Over time, the court had more and more expansive interpretations of the interstate commerce clause. (Ex. Civil Rights legislation was found to affect interstate commerce because it had to do with what hotels and restaurants people could patronize)
8. What are street level
bureaucrats, and how do they influence policy?
Subset of governmental agency/institution containing the individuals who implement and enforce actions required by laws and regulations. Examples include policemen, firefighters, social workers, etc. “Policy implementation in the end comes down to those who actually implement it.” Street level bureaucrats can enforce policies to variable extent.
9. What are public goods, and why can't we rely on the private sector to provide them?
Public goods are goods or services that, once produced, are consumed by a relatively large number of individuals and whose consumption is difficult or impossible to control––they are not “excludable.” This means that it is difficult or impossible for any individual or firm to produce public goods, for they cannot be effectively priced and sold. If national defense were produced by paid mercenaries, rather than by government, individual citizens would have little or no incentive to pay the group of fighters because citizens would be protected whether they paid or not. Indeed, citizens would have every incentive to be “free riders”––to enjoy the benefit of the service without paying the cost. Government has a remedy for such a situation: It can force citizens to pay for the service through its power of taxation (pp. 78-79).
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10. What is the difference between policy outputs & policy outcomes when we are evaluating public policies & programs? Give examples.
Policy outputs are what comes out of the legislative process. (Ex. Affordable Care Act was an output of policy proposed by the Executive, passed by Congress, signed by Executive) They are the immediate consequences of policy. Policy outcomes are measures of the impact and success/failure of a policy output. (Ex. No Child Left Behind--policy output-->not a good policy outcome). They are the legitimacy of the legislation. Turnout is higher if there is a healthy balance of both outputs and outcomes and the public is satisfied.
11. What is an iron triangle? Why might an iron triangle be seen as undemocratic?
Even in the absence of corrupt practices, the interaction of the public and private sectors in the US has been described as “iron triangles,” in which there is a symbiotic relationship among interest groups, congressional committees and subcommittees, and administrative agencies (bureaucracies). The interest groups need access to Congress and to the administrative agencies who serve their members. The agencies need support (on their budgets and other legislation) from Congress, and they use interest group support to obtain it. Congress members want to be reelected and need effective programs that serve their constituencies, as well as support (including financial support) from interest groups (p. 58).
12. What are the basic
procedural steps all
administrative agencies must follow to adopt regulations?
There are two principal ways in which regulation writers collect ideas and opinions. The first, formal rulemaking, appears somewhat like a court proceeding, with a formal hearing, the taking of oral testimony from witnesses, and the use of counsel. Formal rulemaking is a time-consuming and cumbersome process, but it is deemed necessary when the social and economic interests involved are sufficiently important. Examples of formal rulemaking are the approval of new medications by the FDA and the licensing of nuclear power plants by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The written records generated in such proceedings are important, given that these rulings are important to many elements in society and may be the subject of subsequent discussion and litigation.
The second method of collecting inputs is informal rulemaking, which proceeds through several steps. First, the agency must public in the Federal Register a notice of its intent to issue a certain regulation. A period of several months is specified, during which individuals and groups who believe themselves potentially affected by the rule can offer opinions and make suggestions about its content. After the designated time has passed, the agency may issue a draft of the regulation that it would ultimately like to be put into effect. The draft may be based on the suggestions received from affected interests, or it may be what the agency had been planning all along. Then, there is another waiting period for responses to the draft regulation, which may be made directly to the agency or submitted indirectly by having a friendly member of
Congress contact the agency with proposed alterations. Then, based on these responses as well as its own beliefs, the agency issues the final regulation, which will have the force of law.
In addition to the two principal forms of rulemaking, administrative law has developed two other ways of adopting regulations. Hybrid rulemaking represents an attempt at compromise between the thoroughness of the formal process and the relative ease of the informal process. Hybrid rulemaking came about in part because of the courts, but it also was required by some acts of Congress, especially for environmental policy. Although it does entail full scale judicial proceedings, it may require the opportunity to cross examine witnesses, so as to create a full judicial record that can be the basis for an appeal if further judicial proceedings are demanded.
The other emerging form of rulemaking is negotiated rulemaking. Given the complexity of many of the policy areas into which government must now venture and the number of interests involved in each policy, it may be easier to negotiate rules than to attempt to make them administratively. This process can save a great deal of future ill will among the affected interests, and it may actually create policies superior to those that might emerge from a more centrally directed process. Congress recognized the validity of this form of rulemaking by passing the Negotiated Rulemaking Act of 1990 to specify the conditions under which it can be used and the procedures required.
The legitimate force of a regulation comes from passage of a statute by Congress and from correct procedures (as specified in the Administrative Procedures Act) in issuing the regulation. In general, issuing a regulation takes about 18 months from beginning to end and allows for substantial representation of affected groups and individuals (pp. 107-108).
13. What is an example of a social insurance program? Why might it be argued that this is an appropriate
function for government?
One example of a social insurance program is Medicare. It can be argued that the implementation of this social program is an appropriate function of the government as it is a form of redistribution, ensuring that all citizens receive some minimal standard of living, in this case health care in older age. This can be justified as a positive externality.
14. Why might think tanks be more likely than elected officials to be a source of public policy proposals?
Think tanks (Brookings Institute) have become a major source of solutions at both the state and federal levels, especially since the 1980s. They exist for the purpose of pushing solutions to problems that haven’t yet been identified. Sometimes, not often, members of think tanks are academics and think tanks frequently rely on the work of academics to generate proposals. Think tanks are more
likely to make public policy proposals because they look at problems simply as problems that simply need to be solved. Elected officials, on the other hand, are typically more interested in what is politically feasible as opposed to actual solutions in public policy.
15. What is the difference between the “police patrol” & “fire alarm” styles of
oversight of administrative agencies? Which style is more common in Congress?
An agency possesses a “police patrol” style of oversight when they are proactive. When an agency is reactive, they possess a “fire alarm” style of administration. Fire alarm more common in Congress. They prefer oversight, setting rules and procedures that allow citizens and administrations to detect violations and seek remedies themselves.
16. What is the difference in structure between executive departments & independent regulatory commissions?
Heads of the independent regulatory commissions are appointed by the President and can only be removed with good cause. In comparison, while heads of executive departments are also appointed by the President, they must be confirmed by the Congress and can be removed for political reasons.
17. What is a continuing resolution, and why is it important in budget politics?
A continuing resolution is the continuation of the current federal budget. It acts as a temporary fix and keeps the budget as-is when Congress cannot reach an agreement on a new budget.
18. What is “pork barrel” legislation, and why does it occur?
“Pork barrel” legislation happens when legislators appropriate public funds for projects that only serve to benefit a small population, usually a legislator’s state or district, as opposed to the nation’s wider citizenry. Elected officials will engage in this activity to please their constituents back home and thus increase their chances of reelection. However, it should be noted that despite the Republicans making a spectacle out of this issue in the 2010 Midterms, pork barrel spending accounts for <1% of all federal spending.
19. When & why did
smoothing business cycles become something that the federal government is
expected to do?
The U.S government runs counter-cyclical to
the business cycle in order to smooth out the peaks and troughs. This results in heavy fiscal policies during troughs (or recession/depression) and loose during peaks. This has become a way of letting businesses self-regulate themselves, but allowing for governmental backing in times of economic need.
20. Why would we expect independent regulatory
commissions to be more independent from control by the president than the
executive departments & agencies?
Independent regulatory commission are more independent from control by the president than the executive departments and agencies because they are created through acts written by Congress and are separate from the executive departments. Because of this they have more autonomy and have their own form of governance. The purpose of these commissions is to allow them to impose and enforce regulations within their scope without the undue influence of politics. One example of an independent regulatory commission is the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), which was formed to control and diminish environmental pollution.
21. What is the Hawthorne Effect in policy evaluation?
The Hawthorne Effect is a psychological
phenomenon which creates a change in behavior when a person or entity knows that someone is watching. In regards to policy evaluation and the bureaucracy, it may cause a change in implementation behaviors when a bureaucracy when they know there may be a legislative change concerning their discretion over a certain policy. It also may make a newly implemented policy seem better, when in fact its the newness that causes a reaction from those who implement it and therefore makes the new policy seem more effective than the old.
22. What is the difference between cost-benefit analysis & cost-effectiveness?
cost effectiveness - Focus on non-monetary aspect of results. Ex) how many lives a new health policy will save
cost-benefit analysis - compares monetary cost of policy versus monetary benefits.
23. What does “discounting” the future mean? Why might the conclusions of cost
benefit analysis be sensitive to different discount rates?
Discounting the future is when you put less weight on the future than they do on the present. The conclusions of cost-benefit analysis may be sensitive to different discount rates because people attribute different importance to “Dollar today is worth more than dollar tomorrow”.
24. Describe three kinds of market failure that might be justifications for government intervention in the economy.
The three kinds of market failure are market-power (monopoly), when private sector fails to provide for a needed/wanted good like public goods, imperfect information when a party has a vested interest in withholding information
(Bickers and Williams Reading)
25. What is path dependence & why does it occur?
Path dependence is that once a certain way of things has been established these processes become incentivized and make it harder to change policy. This occurs when an institution get used to doing something a certain way.
1. It is often observed that government in the US has grown over time. What are some reasons for this growth? How can the growth of government be reconciled with the fact that the number of civilians employed by the federal government has actually decreased since 1990?
The main reason for growth of the US government is due to the fact that more and more individuals are dependent on the State (government) to provide certain services and ensure and protect certain rights that, in past, were not primarily part of the duties of the government. We can see this in particular when we look at the increase of social insurance programs, transfer payments, and subsidies that the government provides. In order to execute and maintain these programs many administrative organizations have been created to ensure the success and continuation of these programs. Such examples include organizations such as the IRS, the EPA, and the CDC. These agencies have the power and force of the government without actually being government establishments. Through these bureaucracies the government is able to extend its power and scope of control. It may seem surprising then that the number of civilians employed by the federal government has decreased since 1990; however, if the length of time that people are able to stay within an agency is considered, this discrepancy can be reconciled. Because most of the work is civil service, it is very difficult to fire individuals who work for the government. The turnover rate is quite low for these positions. This means that individuals can get into a position from a young age and stay within the system for several years without any issue. With very few firings occurring within theses agencies, there is not a high demand for employing new workers.
2. Describe the rational choice model of decision making. How does it relate to the notion of “bounded rationality?” Which model more accurately describes the way that legislatures tend to make policy decisions? Explain.
3. Over a century ago, Woodrow Wilson argued for a clear separation between politics & administration. Most political scientists & policy analysts today would argue that the separation is far from clear. What are some reasons legislatures might delegate policymaking authority to administrative agencies? What are some checks on abuse of that authority by the agencies?
One reason that legislatures might delegate policymaking authority to administrative agencies is that the executive cannot directly, politically influence the policy that is being made within these organizations. Any appointment of the heads of these agencies is solely based on qualifications and not party affiliation. This is to ensure that the agencies can have the authority to make and enforce the regulations within their scope and sphere of influence without having pressure from political groups.
4. How are budget politics different from the politics of other kinds of legislation? What are the major steps in adopting the federal budget? What has been the pattern of federal budget deficits & surpluses over the past several decades? Describe several attempts by Congress in recent years to regulate budget decisions.
5. While we might like it if public policy decisions were always made by objective, well-informed public servants acting in what they believe are the long run best interest of the community, there are many reasons this may not occur. Among these reasons are the incentives for decision makers created by the institutions where they work. Discuss how the institutional rules of legislatures & administrative agencies structure the incentives of decision makers in ways that might affect their policy decisions.
6. What are the assumptions of pluralism & why are interest groups viewed in a positive light? What is the major problem with those assumptions? What does the academic evidence suggest about whether & how campaign contributions & spending influence legislation?
Pluralism allows many groups to organize around various interests. There are no restrictions to involvement.
The major problem is that not everyone will get involved just because they can. Groups that can more easily overcome the issue of involvement can have more power. So businesses and associations (economic groups) have the most influence.
These groups cannot make as much influence as people believe they could based on campaign contributions and spending.
7. “Shirking,” which may be defined as any instance where an employee does not faithfully & competently carry out the tasks assigned to them, occurs in both public & private organizations. What are some forms that it can take? Why might at least some of these be more of a problem for public agencies charged with implementing policy than private businesses? What can be done about it?
8. Ideally, we would like to know how well public policies are working before deciding whether to continue them, how much to fund agencies that implement them, etc. Why is this hard? Discuss issues of measurement & causation. What is a procedural audit & what are its pros and cons as a method of policy evaluation?
9. Models of policymaking often start with the assumption that we have a problem that needs to be addressed & a set of alternative solutions to choose from. But who decides what we are going to decide about, & where do the alternatives come from? Discuss the agenda setting & proposal formulation stages of policymaking in the US. Identify biases that might exist & why certain groups or interests might have disproportionate influence.
10.What is utilitarianism? What are some strengths & weaknesses of using it as a standard for evaluating public policy choices? What kinds of policy decisions are most amenable to cost-benefit analysis?
In short, Utilitarianism is creating the most possible benefits with the least possible harm. “Issue of comparative happiness.” There is a difficulty in determining what is “best,” and what one person values may be valued differently by another.
Some issues: Economic Surplus: Difference between cost and how much one would have paid.
Costs & Benefits: May not occur once at a single time. Cost may be upfront, but benefit
realized in the near or far future.
Willingness & Ability: ...to pay can be difficult to measure if ability to pay is limited.
Standard is based...on aggregate output, ignoring other factors
Kaldor-Hicks Compensation Principle: Compensation for the “losers.” (international trade?)
I can’t seem to think of which policy decisions are most amenable to C-B analysis. Perhaps something with a control? School performance with new curriculum vs status quo over 25 year period? Or like, real world examples… IDK!
In the review session, he said that specific construction projects, such as highways and dams, were most amenable because it’s easier to measure the benefits in dollars, if that helps any!
11.Guy Peters claims it is a “minor miracle” that public policies are ever implemented as they were intended. List & discuss at least three reasons why policies might be delayed or distorted during implementation. What can Congress do to try to ensure that policies are implemented as intended?
There are various obstacles and interests in just about every policy decision, from interest groups to foundational difficulties within the system. “There are so many more ways of blocking intended actions than there are of making results materialize…” (pg 125) Three reasons why policies might be delayed or distorted: (125-145)
(126) The Legislation: The very nature of the legislation itself may undermine the goals of the
legislation. Laws vary in their specificity, clarity, and policy areas they attempt to
influence. Laws that are easier to implement are more difficult to pass, as their
specificity makes clear who the winners and losers are, thus complicating the task
of building political coalitions.
(128) Political Setting: Legislation is adopted through political action, and the political process may
plant within legislation the seeds to its own destruction. The very
negotiations necessary to pass a bill may ultimately make it virtually
implement. (EX: stimulus bill 2009, drafted quickly, compromises produced implementation problems). Along with this, logrolling and vagueness of
(134) Organizational Communication: Government organizations depends heavily upon the flow of
communication. The sheer size of a government carries with it the potential for
inaccurate, distorted, or block communication.
12.What do people mean when they say Congress is polarized? What kinds of problems does this cause? State & explain three possible reasons why polarization has increased over the past 50 years.
To say that Congress is polarized is to say that the parties have diverged to their political extremes. This typically causes gridlock within Congress, limiting the likelihood of bipartisanship with regard to legislation. This may take place by limiting amendments and excluding minority party members from committee deliberations. It may also cause a decline in policy quality.
Potential reasons why this is taking place in the past 50 years are: lobbyists/interest groups; political party loyalty; gerrymandering that leads to an incentive to appeal to the politically polarizing positions; political realignment in the southern states