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Writing Assignment 3 Due to the severe human suffering during the Great Depression, the Unites States government began to realize that poverty was no longer an issue revolving around an individuals desire or ability to work. According to The United States and Texas Government Course Outline, written by John M. Osterman Jr. and Prudencio E. Ramirez, the development of the American welfare state began in 1935 with the emergence of FDRs New Deal government programs and extended into the 1960s with President Johnsons Great Society programs. It is now believed that the U.S. welfare programs hinder its recipients rather than help them. According to a video I watched in class, an African American man stated that despite the fact he was born into poverty he managed to get out and rise above his circumstances. He was able to accomplish this because he chose to work after school despite the fact he received very low compensation. Due to minimum wage requirements, imposed by the U.S. government, African American men in the ghetto no longer have access to these low paying jobs and often find themselves drawn to drugs and violence. If these minimum wage laws didnt exist the grocery stores, gas stations, and other small businesses in the ghettos would be able to afford to hire more people. These jobs would instill good values and work ethics to young teens. Recently the U.S. government increased the time an individual may collect unemployment benefits. This extension decreases the sense of urgency required to motivate people to look for another job! Without motivation why would anyone look for another job knowing they have free money coming in over the next 56-99 weeks? This type of unethical, give me free money behavior, became evident upon the elimination of the Aid to Families with Dependent Children. This program was designed to assist needy

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children through direct cash disbursements. AFDC succeeded in encouraging teen pregnancy and low marriage rates. Teen pregnancy became a solution to poverty and low rent apartments. Young girls would get pregnant in order to receive these benefits and escape their troubled home. The AFDC originally encouraged women to take benefits in order to stay home and raise their children, focusing on providing benefits to widows and single mothers. This provided women with no reason to get off of welfare or marry. According to my textbook, American Democracy Now Texas Edition, beginning in the late 1950s the number of households headed by women with children living in poverty began to increase. The U.S. spent billions of dollars supplementing the income of needy families without seeing a drastic reduction in poverty levels. Economic policy pertains to the overall aggregate growth and improvement in the U.S. economy. The economy is a marketplace where goods and services are exchanged for an agreed upon price relying upon the laws of supply and demand. The United States uses gross domestic product, which is a measure of what we produce as a nation, to measure growth in the U.S. In order for the government to manage the economy they have two weapons in their arsenal, fiscal policy and monetary policy. Fiscal policy refers to the governments ability to increase or decrease taxes or spending, and is preferred by Democrats. Congress and the President have the power to create and influence fiscal policy. When the U.S. government wants to slow the economy down, they would increase taxes and lower government spending. If the economy was headed towards a recession, the government would increase spending and lower taxes. When fiscal policy doesnt work the solution is monetary policy. Monetary policy manages the U.S. economy by restricting or increasing the money supply, and is preferred by Republicans. When not enough money is in circulation the economy could dry up. If there is too much money in circulation, it could lead to

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high inflation. The FED alone is responsible for monetary policy. Ultimately time has proven the business cycle is cyclical and will correct itself if left alone. According to my textbook, American Democracy Now Texas Edition, domestic policy refers to the national governments attempts to address citizens problems and to provide benefits and services to the people by using various policy tools. These tools include all laws, government planning, transfer payments and actions that affect a U.S. citizens daily life. The governments domestic policy goals are to provide the opportunity for people to succeed; it is not the goal to provide the answers. Social policy differs greatly from economic policy. Social policy pertains to an individuals well being and is concerned about needy people and those who have fallen through the cracks. It has nothing to do with the business cycle or the laws of supply and demand. Where do we put the burden of what we have and why we have it? Liberal Democrats will tell you the poor remain poor because of their circumstances and the U.S. government should give more direct handouts and redistribute the wealth. Democrats will argue societal inequalities are a driving force behind needy individuals. Conservative Republicans believe financial failure is a direct result of an individuals actions or inactions. Despite the fact that individuals are not created equal or born into the same privileged environments, all individuals born in America are given the same opportunity to succeed. According to The United States and Texas Government Course Outline, written by John M Osterman Jr. and Prudencio F. Ramirez, liberty and equality are the basic values of American political culture that guide us in our policy approach to success and failure, wealth and poverty. In the name of social policy, more than 80 million people have received direct federal aid in the form of Medicaid, Social Security, Medicare, Food Stamps, SSI-Disability, Veterans Programs and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

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According to American Democracy Now Texas Edition, means-based programs refer to a benefit for which eligibility is based on having an income below a specified amount, typically based on a percentage of the government specified poverty level. An example of a means-based program is the supplemental security income (SSI). SSI is a non contributory program established to help the blind, disabled, and the extremely poor elderly. Individuals are not entitled to receive SSI even if they worked for decades and contributed to social security unless they fall below the government designated poverty levels. Another example of a means-based program is Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. According to my outline, in order to receive TANF benefits a family of three living in Texas must earn a maximum of $4812 and have assets below $2,000. Every working citizen and the company they work for contribute to social security through their payroll checks. Upon retirement working citizens who have paid into social security will be entitled to receive benefits. This is an example of a non means-based contributory program. According to The United States and Texas Government Course Outline, written by John M. Osterman Jr. and Prudencio E. Ramirez, public policy is defined as an intentional course of action by the government in dealing with some problem or matter of concern. This definition is the driving force behind the first step in the policy making process. Step one involves problem recognition and defining the problem. In order to create effective policy, one must ensure that the root cause of the problem is properly identified and defined. It is important to identify the root cause and not the symptom of the problem. Recently President Obama identified healthcare as a problem and used his influence to get Congress and the Senate to create an effective healthcare policy. Whether they were successful is another topic. Once the problem is recognized and defined, it enters the second step of the policy making process which is referred to as agenda setting. Agenda setting involves getting the issue declared a

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problem and added to the calendar. According to, the gatekeepers filter out those issues which will be given attention by either the executive or the legislative branches. After the 9/11 tragedy, it became apparent that intelligence was not being shared amongst U.S. government agencies. Congress responded quickly by acknowledging the problem and putting in on the agenda. Once the problem is identified and added to the agenda, it enters the policy formulation phase of the policy making process. Policy formation involves discussion amongst Democrat and Republican members of Congress or the House. Expert witnesses are brought in to give testimony or provide their expertise when evaluating a problem. At this point in the policy making process multiple solutions are being proposed and investigated. Members of Congress and the Senate begin using their influence to capture votes for a specific outcome. After 9/11 Congress held unprecedented joint hearings to gather the facts and create a solution to the intelligence communication crisis. According to, analysis and politics determines how the agenda item is translated into an authoritative decision: a law, rule, regulation, administrative order, or resolution. This takes us to the fourth phase of the policy making process entitled policy adoption. Policy adoption is the choice from the multiple solutions offered from the previous phase. In response to the joint committee investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Congress and the U.S. Senate created The Patriot Act which President Bush quickly signed into law. The fifth phase of the public policy cycle involves budgeting. Budgeting involves the allocation of funds to support the implementation of the policy. Budgets are reviewed often and initial projections are often educated guesses. Due to the extreme amount of US debt, budgeting has become an extremely important part of the policy cycle.

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The sixth phase of the public policy cycle is policy implementation. Once a new policy is adopted it is the responsibility of leaders, who are accountable to the public, to administer and enforce the new policy. These government employees, known as public servants, are responsible for figuring out how to implement the new policy with very limited instructions. Policy verbiage is often vague and open to bureaucratic interpretation. The Patriot Act opened the door for government agencies to investigate suspected terrorist activity in ways they never had access to prior to 9/11. Finally, policy evaluation is the seventh component of the public policy cycle. The policy must be evaluated to ensure that the policies goals are being met. Criticisms, short comings, successes and feedback are evaluated and may result in changes or modifications made to the existing policy. The evaluation process seems to get ignored however; Barack Obama signed a four year extension of the Patriot Act. According to, the feedback provided by evaluation is injected back into the agenda setting stage, thus closing the loop of the cycle. According to, a groundbreaking work employing the approach, David Eastons The Political System (1953), conceived the political system as integrating all activities through which social policy is formulated and executedthat is, the political system is the policy-making process.1

"David Easton." Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 2011. Web. 11 Nov. 2011. <>.