Intro to American Politics
Intro to American Politics POL 1013
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This 22 page Class Notes was uploaded by Estelle Herman on Thursday October 29, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to POL 1013 at University of Texas at San Antonio taught by Melvin Laracey in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 34 views. For similar materials see /class/231351/pol-1013-university-of-texas-at-san-antonio in Political Science at University of Texas at San Antonio.
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Date Created: 10/29/15
The Federal Budget and Economic Policy M Laracey 2010 Key Budget Terms I Budget Deficit When annual expenditures exceed annual revenues 2007 162 billion deficit 2008 455 billion 2009 over 1 trillion 2010 13 trillion ll Shortfall made up by government borrowing I Budget Surplus When annual revenues exceed a n nua l expendjture s ll Gov t almost always in deficit borrowed 739 almost every year exception 391 99820390391 Sggrmulated total borrOwin39g39s vn a tio nfal public Na onalDebt I Many TRILLIONS gt8000000000000 and growing fast I How debt accumulates Government borrows money almost every year I US gov t borrows by issuing bonds notes E Bond or note a promise to repay a loan Investors give US gov t money 5 Many foreign investors buy US debt 40 Gov t promises to pay back with interest I Interest payments on debt gt200 billion I National debt is limited bylaw So Congress has to vote to raisethe debt ceiling periodically as national debt grows a I Usually dOne in a way that doesn t get noticed quot US gov t spending I gt3500 billion 35 trillion in 2010 I About 60 of budget is spent on entitlements a program with eligibility criteria meet the criteria amp you are automatically entitled to the benefits I Examples Social Security Medicare Medicaid veterans benefits jobless benefits I gt 6 of budget is spent for interest payments on the national debt I gt 18 spent on national defense I 16 left for everything else Revenues I 2010 gt2200 billion 22 trillion I Federal income tax progressive higher tax rates on higher income levels I but lots of deductions to lower taxable income I Tax rates from 10 to 35 Table 152 s Through 2010 then Alternative flat rate same for all income levels I Payroll tax Social Security amp Medicare Social Security 62 on income uvjpto 106800 Medicare 145 on all income I Some other federal taxes I Gasoline alcohol cigarettes I Estate tax death tax Tax levied on estates over 143 million I Import tariffsd u39ties The Federal Budget Process I Basic principle no government spending unless authorized by legislation most federal gov t spending authorized on oneyear basis annual budget I Federal budget year Oct 1 to Sept 30 the fiscal year new budget must be in place on Oct 1 ll if not gt Gov t operations have to start shutting down ll keep gov t going via continuing resolutions authorize gov t to Continue operating at old fundih gfar levels until new budget apprOVed rl Potential for conflict between P and congress Budget Process cont I Cooperative effort P proposes budget 1St Monday of February l P is required to submit a proposed budget under a law passed by Congress Goes to House amp Senate budget committees H amp Senate pass concurrent budget resolution H amp Senate committees develop specific appropriations bills that meet targets in budget resolution the reconciliation processquot1 Appropriations bills passed ltse39nttjo P ll one at a time or several together om ni bus i bill ll P can sign veto ll If vetoes and past Oct 391 need cantinuin g reselu tion If none gov t starts to shut down Clinton and Republicans budget battle quot1 995 Potential again 20102011 39 Economic Policy I One tool Monetarv policy influencing growth rate of economy by causing interest rates to rise or fall I done by Federal Reserve The Fed increasing or decreasing money supply How it works I To fight a recession negative economic growth contraction rising unemployment Fed lowers interest rates an easy mOney pelicy v I To fight inflation growth bluiturising prices Fed raises interest rates tight moneypolicy I Difficult problems stagflation little growth amp high unempIOymfen39t 7 inflation Deflation prices fall significantly leading to more unemployment 39 Economic policy I Another tool Fiscal policy influence economy via changes in government spending or taxes I Keynesian economics To fight a recession increase gov t spending andor cut taxes temporarily to do either gov t has to borrow money Gives people more money spending revives economy a Used to fight Great Depression Stimulus Program in 2009 a Supply side economics Tax cuts spur growth in business sector the39supply side Of the z economy Net government tax revenues go up due to the growth 1 Problems 2 Revenues fall in the short run and eftfe n little bim pact longer term 2 Big permanent tax cuts can unbalance federal budgetif a spending not cut too Tax cuts can produce more faVOrab39ILe business e39nVironme39nt spurring growth Why Are We So Much in Debt I Basic Contradiction Preference for low taxes but lots of gov t programs I Functions of gov t become more complex Examples Environmental Protection Homeland Security I Historically constant push for new programs Every new program adds to cost of gov t I Programs expand over time growing in cost Major examples Defense MediCare I Reluctance to either Raise taxes Cut programs I How Has the Contradiction Been Resolved I Via borrowing year after year decade39after decade I Additional problems recently I Two wars attempts to saverevive economy All done with borrowed money many trillions Of 3939 I Continuing effect of poor nationaleconomy reduces govt tax revenues increases cost of goV t socialis upport welfare programsquot Major social assistance welfare programs I Often involve income redistribution Most gov t programs involve helping some people or doing specific programs with money taken via taxes from everyone I Direct payments Example subsidies for farmers unemployment benefits etc etc etc IGovernment benefit programs Examples food stamps job training homeless shelters veterans programs etcetc etc quot Social Security and Medicare I Social Security monthly payments by US government to retirees spouses amp children of workers disabled workers I Benefits often exceed individual s contributions I Medicare I pays medical care and prescriptions for those on 8 I Both funded by payroll paycheck taxes I SS taxes from current workers used to pay benefits of retired workers I Now system running a surplus I Future problem increasing num ber of retirees ljc39i r i ger life expectancies 39 I Current surplus is not being saved but is being fusedfo r other39govt spending What happens when all the baby b o39omeirsi metire Foreign Policy and Defense M Laracey 2010 History of US Foreign Policy 17891941 mostly Isolationism Avoidance of involvement in foreign affairs Especially Europe Expectation that foreign governments would not interfere in the Americas Western Hemisphere Monroe Doctrine 1823 No large permanent military force Reliance on volunteers draft when soldiers needed standing military considered a threat to liberty Some exceptions Interventionism direct actionsaggression beyond US boundaries Continuous aggressions against Native Americans and their lands MexicanAmerican War 1848 SpanishAmerican War 1898 World Warl 19178 US as a World Power Begins with SpanishAmerican War 1898 US uses its navy to defeat Spain acquire Puerto Rico and Philippines as colonies World War US intervention decisive Followed by return to isolationism World War II US at first resists involvement Pearl Harbor attack brings US into the war our intervention again decisive with Russia US and Russia left as two biggest powers after the war The Cold War Post WW II Russia takes over Eastern Europe threatens world takeover The Communist Bloc Iron Curtain The Cold War Battle of threats words military buildups US and allies pursue containment policy Military and economic aid to threatened countries Leads to US involvement in Korean and Vietnam Wars intervention in Central and South America Why The domino theory Ultimate deterrent MAD mutuallyassured destruction Nuclear amp nonnuclear convention a arms race between US and USSR End of the Cold War 19891990 Governments in Russia and most other European communist countrIes overthrown 1991 Soviet Union USSRunion of 15 countries disintegrates Long war in Afghanistan very costly to USSR contributes to USSR collapse Called Russia s Vietnam by Carter s National Security Advisor Economies of Russia other communist countries crash US left as major military power Allows US to dominate world affairs militarily Current threats Russia reviving China Middle East Terrorism Energy supplies World economy Global environmental issues Domestic challenges deficits economy wars Defense and Foreign Policy Main actor now the President Why Reality as Commander in Chief P always in functional control of nation s military force the main tool of defense and foreign policy Vague grant of Executive Power not defined to President Also oath to preserve protect amp defend the Constitution and faithfully execute the Office of President Other specific Constitutional provisions enhance P s power receive foreign ambassadors Interpreted to give P power to recognize new gov ts negotiate treaties appoint US ambassadors Senate approval required 23 vote for treatieS P s increasingly use executive agreements in lieu of treaties Or legislation by Congress Additional factors Tradition realities of foreign affairs one national representative needed for diplomacy Supreme Court decisions eg US v CurtissWriqht 1936 President is the sole organ of the federal gov t in the field of international relations Congressional actioninaction Congress grants President powers to act alone such as trade authority Congress does not object when President acts alone Executive Branch Agencies Involved in Foreign Policy Department of State Carries out diplomatic relations Department of Defense Maintains national military forces Joint Chiefs of Staff top military advisers to President National Security Council President s personal staff of national security experts Advises President Manages foreign policy on behalf of the President Function shared with State amp Defense Departments Central Intelligence Agency And numerous other intelligence gathering covert action federal agencies Many activities top secret kept unknown to public and even Congress Control over War and the Military Constitution Congress has the power to establish land and naval forces declare war make rules regarding captures and rules for the government and regulation of the military President is commander in chief unde ned Presidents have ordered the use of armed force abroad gt200 times in US history War declared by Congress only 5 times War of 1812 Mexican War 18468 Spanish Am erican War 1898 World War 19178 World War II 19415 War Powers Resolution of 1973 Attempt by Congress to control use of military force by Presidents Reaction to Vietnam 50000 Americans died yet war never declared P must consult Congress prior to military action notify Congress within 48 hours of ordering action terminate use of troops in 60 days unless Congress can t meet Congress declares war Congress authorizes continued use of troops P can extend use of troops 30 days if necessary for a safe withdrawal Actual result P s not controlled P s ignore War Powers Resolution requirements Say it is unconstitutional Or Congress authorizes broad P war powers under it October 2002 Iraq resolution P authorized to take military action as he determines to be necessary Why the deference Common desire for a single strong leader Reinforced during WW II and then Cold War era No time to consult with Congress during an attack Current terrorist threats and attacks leads to increased expectation for presidents to protect domestic homeland security also President as Commanderinchief has great power and prestige Reality as Commander can order US forces to do anything anytime When military is in action Congress reluctant to oppose the action Presidents have access to classified secret information Can assert they have more information and must be trusted to do the right thing Rally round the flag and leader phenomenon P s popular support ratings go up after an attackcrisis Dissent from P s actions likely to be labeled harmful unpatriotic Result P now assumed to be virtually the sole determiner of national defense and security policy Even though that s probably not the original intent of the Constitution Warsactions that drag on can erode this deference to P cause Congress to become assertive Vietnam
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