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POLS 206 Weeks 1 Lecutres

by: Morgan Notetaker

POLS 206 Weeks 1 Lecutres POLS 206

Marketplace > Texas A&M University > Political Science > POLS 206 > POLS 206 Weeks 1 Lecutres
Morgan Notetaker
Texas A&M

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Lectures 1 and 2
Amer natnl gov
Sarah Fulton
Class Notes
Introduction, to, american, Politics
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Morgan Notetaker on Monday September 5, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POLS 206 at Texas A&M University taught by Sarah Fulton in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see Amer natnl gov in Political Science at Texas A&M University.


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Date Created: 09/05/16
Pols 206-509 Tuesday, September 06, 2016 Introduction to American Politics 1) American Politics  Country faces a number of challenges s Frustrations with politicians s Terrorism s Economic Uncertainty s Mounting Debt - $19.4 Trillion - Politics: Who gets what, when, and how  How are we going to close the gap? Raise Taxes? Cut spending? 2) American Politics  Pivotal Moment (with so many positions open) s Country could emerge stronger and better?  My approach: Evaluate politics from a rational prospective s Rational Prospective- Maximize benefits, minimize costs - What are the institutions that govern us? - How are they structured? - Who are the key players? - Why do we observe the outcomes that we do?  Don’t like the outcomes then change the institutions - How do we change them? 3) Challenges confronting America  Growing National government  Partisan bickering  Political scandals  Persistent under-employment  International turmoil- ISIS, Humanitarian crisis (Syrian refugees) 4) Country faces many problems  Preamble makes promise about what gov should look like  A lot say promise is unfulfilled s Establishing justice- broke laws not punished s Common defense- threat of terrorism s Liberty- is being attacked 5) Most people think about bad things when they think about gov  Media reports bad news to get more views  High expectations s Candidate make promises they can’t keep s Gap- High promises, low ability to deliver  Separation of Powers  Federalism s State laws below National (Federal) laws 6) But there are some good things that gov does Pols 206-509 Tuesday, September 06, 2016  Armed forces do an excellent job  Free education system & subsidized for college  Centers for disease control s Protecting public health  Social safety net for elderly  Social services for the rest of us s Police s Fire departments  Gov invests in new technologies s Microchip s GPS s Internet s Computers 7) Gov isn’t perfect  But it does a lot right and not given credit  Where gov is deficient you can change things s Pay attention s Vote s Get involved s Get the word out Pols 206-509 Tuesday, September 06, 2016 Lecture 2: Introduction to American Politics memeorandum 1) In the News…  Mixed messages on Trump’s policy on immigration s Appeared measured, diplomatic and statesmanlike in the meeting with Mexican president (Pena Nieto) in Mexico City - Discussed border security and economic issues - Called Mexican-Americans “spectacular hard working people. I have such a great respect for them and their strong values of family, faith and community” s Later, in campaign speech on immigration in Phoenix vowed to: - Build a wall, and get Mexico to pay for it - Deport all felons here illegally - Institute a deportation task force - But what about undocumented workers who aren’t felons?  “Appropriate disposition” would be made at a later time  The only route to legal status would be to return to home country and reapply for citizenship  Changing positions and cold turn off supporters  Trying to please the party by being extreme but now trying to go towards modern vote  Lesser of two evils  Back and forth between changing views and not  Closer race than what we think between Clinton and Trump s Only 4 points apart - Still a very real chance Trump could win 2) What is politics Pols 206-509 Tuesday, September 06, 2016  Harold Lasswell: Politics is the struggle of who gets what, when and how  Politics is all about conflict – resolving conflict in a peaceful way s War => resolves conflict by other means (the use of force)  Politics consists of negotiation, bargaining and compromise  It exists when people are interdependent and have to make collective decisions 3) Examples of collective decisions?  Can’t have two policies that conflict  Should Obamacare be repealed, repaired or remain intact?  How much should we spend on defense? Education? Prisons? Social Security?  Who gets to be president? s We have to decide on these thinks through collective decisions 4) Commonalities  Can’t have 2 policies simultaneously  Have to decide what the policy is going to be for everybody  Choices about alternatives = conflict s People come from different places so have different views on things 5) Political Conflict  Conflict isn’t bad, its human nature  We all have different: s Histories s Traditions s Experiences - Means different opinions on policies - The job of government to calm down and help  Different back grounds = different opinions  Sometimes east to resolve  Other times, its more complex s Requires a more elaborate set of institutions to resolve conflict 6) What are political institutions?  Rules by which conflict is resolved  Examples of political institutions: s Electoral laws s Congress s Presidency s Bureaucracy s Judicial system  Definition of government = collective set of political intuitions 7) Political Institutions  Goal is to channel and resolve conflict through an established set of procedures Pols 206-509 Tuesday, September 06, 2016 8) How can the government resolve conflict through the use of institutions?  Government has coercive power  Government has a monopoly (only one) on the legitimate use of force s Can challenge or appeal must work through institutions/established set of procedures s Nobody but government can force you to do anything but government  If you break the law, you go to jail s Government can even take your life… nobody else can legally do that  Government can enforce collective agreements because of its coercive power 9) Simulation  Illustration of rational choice theory – costs, benefits, probabilities of an out comes s 5 widget manufacturing firms s Each person is his/her own individual company s You’re in competition with each other s Goal is to make the most $ for your company s Each company has the capacity to produce 20 widgets in a given month s Task is to decide how many widgets to produce, without any collaboration with other companies - Decide how much to make to make money given the amount public will buy 10) What’s the optimal amount for everyone to produce? s What if 4 people produced 10 but one makes 20 s 4 people x 10 = 40 s 1 person x 20=20 s Global supply = 60 widgets  0.40*20=8.0 s If the global the global supply equals 60 then 11) Take-home points  Illustrations of Hobbesian world s Thomas Hobbes – Author of the leviathan s Without government life would be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short s People are self-interested s People do what’s best for them, even if it hurts the collectivity or central good  Each producer has incentives to produce as much as possible because that increases profit Pols 206-509 Tuesday, September 06, 2016  But you also have incentives as a group to restrict your output  Sometimes individual incentives and group incentives come into conflict with each other  Individual incentives undermine groups interests 12) Take home points  Illustrations of the collective action problem  Individual rationality leads to collective irrationality s Restricting output is better for the group s But individual firms have an incentive to produce as much as possible to maximize profit for themselves  It’s hard for individuals to coordinate for the betterment of the group because of selfish interests


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