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Module 6 Notes - State and Local Gov't

by: Savannah Tucker

Module 6 Notes - State and Local Gov't PS 101

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Savannah Tucker

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About this Document

Includes vocabulary and article notes.
American Government
Stephen Voss
Class Notes
political science, Voss, American Government
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Savannah Tucker on Sunday February 28, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PS 101 at University of Kentucky taught by Stephen Voss in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 38 views. For similar materials see American Government in Political Science at University of Kentucky.


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Date Created: 02/28/16
Wednesday, February 24, 2016 Intro to State and Local Government Module 6 6.1 Policy Problems While national policy problems do receive the most attention, state and local policy is face challenges as well. 6.1a The Baltimore Riot of 2015 Because Baltimore is rarely in the news, until the Riots of 2015, people didn’t really have any idea of how unhealthy the situation in the city had become. Their former governor Martin O’Malley ran for the Democratic Presidential Nomination. It has been caught between economic and social trent that have been slowly destroying the health and ambitions of its political leaders. Article: How Property Taxes an the ‘Curly Effect’Are Killing Baltimore” by Steve H. Hanke and Stephen J.K. Walters This articles discusses that because of Baltimore’s strategy failure, loss of residents, and loss of jobs Baltimore citizens are beginning to lean more toward pro-tax democrats for their new mayor in an effort to fix their mounting problems. However, tax revolts are hard to win at a local level because of what Harvard economists Edward Glaser and Andrei Shleifer have called the ‘Curley Effect”. This comes from Boston during the first half of the 20th century when Mayor James Micheal Curley took money from the rich and gave it to the poor bring Irish votes but also chasing the wealth out of the city, tilting the political playing field in Curley’s favor. This is similar to what has happened in Baltimore with class divisions. The result of this is a lack in the middle class. Article: “Another Tax Increase Legacy From Martin O’Malley” by Steve H. Hanke and Stephen J.K. Walters The would-be presidential candidate created a loophole that could be used to bust local property-tax caps. 1 Wednesday, February 24, 2016 This article talks about Prince George’s County and its financial irresponsibility when it comes to raising taxes so high that it’s inhabitant’s leave. A more recent turn of events in Boston has brought the news coverage to the criminal justice system. Article: New FBI Statistics: Baltimore No. 5 in murder rate by Justin Fenton This article talks about how Baltimore had the fifth highest murder rate in the country last year as well as the 7th highest violent crime rate. Article: Violence Breaks Out in Baltimore After Freddie Gray’s Funeral After the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died in police custody, riots, looting, and violent unrest broke out in Baltimore. 15 officers were injured and at least 27 people were injured. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake imposed a city- wide 10PM-5AM curfew. Article: Baltimore Riots: Social Media and the Crisis on my Doorstep by Christopher Mims This article talks about the power social media has when it comes to social issues. It talks about the paradox of being so well informed, but with the wrong information or with information without context. Article: Donald Trump blames President Obama for Baltimore riots This article talks about how the riots were blamed direct on the White House, and on the Obama Administration. Article: President Obama’s Comments on Baltimore Violence President Obama came out and said that there is no excuse for the kind of violence seen in Baltimore and that the violence took away from the peaceful protests. He offered his condolences to the police officers who were injured and called the violence “counter productive”. He also addresses the problems with social media when it comes to a situation like this, often exacerbating the issue. Article: Obama Condemns Violence in Baltimore in Response to Freddie Grey Death This article summarizes President Obama’s response to the violence in Baltimore. 2 Wednesday, February 24, 2016 Article: A Year After Ferguson, ‘Black Lives Matter’Still Wields Influence This article talks about the political and social influence of the Black Lives Matter campaign.They’re protests have led to body cameras on police. Polls revealed that half of Americans think racism is a big problem in society, 44% of whites. 59% of respondents said that more needs to be done to achieve racial equality. Article: The Myths of Black Lives Matter A Wall Street Journal editorial indicates how the Black Lives Matter movement has successfully attracted the attention of Democratic politicians but may not successfully capture the risks of deadly violence in cities. That being said, the use of statistics in this article is questionable, so I hope that in section meetings you will take the opportunity to discuss how statistics can be used in a misleading way to promote arguments. Article: Baltimore Residents at a Loss After Riots Close Some CVS Stores This article talks about the ramifications of the riots, causing many stores to be shut down. The residents had torn something down that the community needed, it had successfully destroyed itself. Article: Why the CVS Burned This article claims that the CVS burned because the residents did not feel like their community was really theirs. It claims that it is because of the constraints of the ghetto’s retail economy, where the poor pay more. 6.1b The Pension Mess Government workers who were promised a pension for their time spent working for the government are experiencing problems because the national debt is prohibiting the government’s ability to pay these promised pensions. Article: The Debt Bomb The Taxpayers Won’t See Coming State and local governments awe 7.3 trillion in promises they’ve made that were never approved by taxpayers. Pensions promised by the national government are not being paid out due to the amount of debt the government has found itself in. Illinois officials were charges with making misleading statements to bond investors about the state’s pension system, it was so underfunded that it risked bankruptcy. The taxpayers, as well as the holders of its debt with bear the burden of the officials’ misdeeds. 3 Wednesday, February 24, 2016 This is not the only state to have this problem, Sacramento has $2 Billion in obligations. Most states and large cities have accumulated nearly 3/4 of a trillion dollars in promises that they have only set aside about 5% of the funds for. Most taxpayers are unaware of their obligations when it comes to this debt. State constitutions and many municipal charters limit borrowing and mandate voter approval. New Jersey borrowed 8.6 billion to refurbish school buildings, and since they knew they could not get the support of the voters 6.2 The Practical Consequences of Federalism for State and Local Governments The United States became a federal republic under the U.S. Constitution, but most of the people in the world do not. The majority of people live under a unitary government. Those who do not, and are under multiple states who want to cooperate are under what is called a confederation, hoping to form some kind of alliance between the states. A federal system falls between the two extremes. Advantages of a Federal System: 1. Checks and Balances: This protects the branches of the government as well as the liberties of the states. 2. Laboratories of Democracy: Policies are often tested on a state in order to see if they will work on a national scale. 3. Policy Fit: Leaders in state and local are more likely to know more about what is going on in their own community, making them more able to tailor policy to fir their communities needs. This is why policy initiatives generates by the national government may not operate directly through the federal bureaucracy, but instead might work through lower levels of government. Policy is not really made at one level of government, however most policy areas include multiple levels of government. Ex. A local school board might change its policy on what to serve during cafeteria lunches, but it will need to follow state regulations and, because they'll be using federal money to buy the lunches for some students, they'll need to respect the strings attached to that funding as well. Policy levels are often describes in different ways by political scientists. The first is a layer cake meaning that the layers of policy making are separate and do not effect the others. The second is a marble cake, meaning that they are all intertwined. 4 Wednesday, February 24, 2016 But the third, and most accurate is the Picket Fence Federalism diagram. Advantages of Centralizing Public Policies: Pooling Resources: States are homogeneous when it comes to economics. This is helpful when one state takes a blow to one of its major drivers of its economy, such as Louisiana and its oil. The national government pools resources to bail the hurting states out at a national policy level, allowing them to shift money from state to state. This is helpful during hard times because the national government can borrow large sums of cash and spread it around the states to limit the consequences of the economic turn down. Race to the Bottom: Americans that fear economic inequality tend to prefer centralized power because money and people can move around. If one state or locality raises taxes to put more money in welfare programs, the people with money may move away, causing the states to compete. Welfare magnets may attract the poor people from other places, so they find them selves so over whelmed that she shift back to a less generous welfare program. Complexity: With states that have different laws, it is often hard to set straight what is legal in one state and illegal in the neighboring states. Some people prefer a one-size- fits all policy. 5 Wednesday, February 24, 2016 Vocabulary Unitary government - A unitary system of government, or unitary state, is a sovereign state governed as a single entity. The central government is supreme, and the administrative divisions exercise only powers that the central government has delegated to them. Relevance: This is one extreme of government we see around the world, with federalism falling in the middle, and a Confederation on the other end. People who favor a unitary government favor centralized powers of government. Confederation - an organization that consists of a number of parties or groups united in an alliance or league. Relevance - A confederation is one extreme of government we see around the world, with federalism falling in the middle, and a Unitary government on the other end. People who prefer a confederation enjoy state liberties while also being under some larger power. Laboratories of Democracy - Term used to describe the states as test grounds for nw policies. Relevance - The term Laboratories of Democracy is an advantage to the federal system because it allows policies to be tested at a state or local level before implemented at a national level. Layer-Cake Model - The idea that policy is separated into levels (national, state, and local) with one having no effect on the other. Marble-Cake Model - The idea of policy being intertwined completely with each policy level touching each of the other levels. Picket-Fence Model - The most accurate way of describing policy levels and how they interact with each other. With the policy running as vertical posts and the levels running as the horizontal posts. Welfare Magnet - States that are more generous with their welfare programs Relevance - Welfare magnets attract the poor from other places, often becoming over whelmed, contributing to the idea of “Race to the Bottom”, causing states to compete to not lose their wealthier citizens. 6


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