1 - Valdosta State University

Peter Min
Pols 1101
5 May 2008
1. Each person has his own opinion about the politics in the United States. It is the
how we embody our values within ourselves. They may be radical on the both ends of the
spectrum or not at all. Much like many things that are analyzed as a population, when the
big picture is looked at about politics, the majority of the population has a moderate view
on politics. What the people think is not what decides the choices of what the government
makes. If government used the public opinion as a basis to create policies then there
would not be a sense of government at all; the tragedies of Vietnam would not have
happened. Rather, the government uses public opinion much like we use outlines for
papers. They take into consideration that what the people think as a way to set a
parameters for what they want to incorporate in the legislation.
There are two principles that stimulate our learning in politics and both principles
are grounds for early learning. First principle is the principle that what we learn first is
what we have learned best. What we learn from our parents, their values and ethics, their
political parties are much of the basis for what we believe in the latter stages of our
political lifetime. We learn our values from school, friends, and the environment around
us. We take pieces from our surroundings and create our own perspectives. As our life
proceeds we soak more knowledge and our political opinion mature and become more
and more sophisticated. A child whose parents are Republican is more than likely to be
Republican himself. He creates the basis for his ideals and values in the beginning stages
of his life. He takes these ideas to school and his friends who bring their ideas as well. In
that time, the child soaks greater ideas but along the lines of what he soaked in from his
parents and creates a greater but also his own perspectives of Republican ideal.
The media today advertises to us ideas about news and their perspective on them.
Television is main source of media today. The media privately owned because if the
government owned the companies that produce our sense of freedom would diminish.
The public would question the freedom of which we are obliged. It is the job for the
media to influence public opinion but in order to do so it must capture an audience. The
only way to capture audience is show what they want. The majority of news today
revolves around entertainment. So to capture an audience entertainment is aired and
actual news is put amongst it subtly. Television is not sole way to broadcast news and
entertainment. The radio and newspaper are also forms media and the internet is become
more and more popular as well.
Due to growing demand for entertainment, television is mostly filled with
entertainment news and media to captivate its audience. Without the entertainment people
would not be watching television. So the news aspect of television is diminishing and
being replace by news about celebrities and events that have nothing to do with
governmental aspects and policymaking. The news is filled with things like murder and
local news that to capture our attention. News stations use tactics to draw in an audience
where the beginning stories are about things going on in entertainment and local news
then as the program proceeds there are few stories about politics and more entertaining
news is promised later on in order to keep the audience watching.
The development of the mass media in the United States reflects technological
and economic growth in various ways. People are able to continuosly improve ways of
television and internet and how it is reaching the public. We have new and improved
television today that give us crystal clear picture where we can watch in detail the news
and sports. There are incentives of improving mass media that keep the public hooked
around the television or around the monitor. All forms of media such as radios,
television, internet, and newspaper keep improving and being modified to the modern
Civil liberties are freedoms guaranteed to individuals. They are sometimes
referred to as “negative rights.” The guarantees take the form of restraints on the
government. Civil liberties declare what the government cannot do. Civil rights are called
“positive rights.” These rights declare what the government must do or what they must
provide. Civil rights are powers and privileges that are guaranteed to the individual and
protected against arbitrary removal at the bands of the government or other individuals.
These rights are embedded in the Constitution. The Bill of Rights list both civil rights and
civil liberties. Persons possess rights and governments possess powers.
In Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) debated the use of birth control devices and
legality. Justice Douglas argued that there are several specific guarantees in the First,
Third, Fourth, and Fifth amendments which create a zone of privacy. That zone of
privacy is protected by the ninth amendment. Three other justices emphasized the ninth
amendment stating protects fundamental rights derived from those specifically
enumerated in the first eight amendments. Griswold established that it was a personal
choice for a married couple to engage in sexual intercourse and that was protected by the
Bill of Rights. The zone of personal autonomy, the basis of the ninth amendment, was the
basis of the 1973 case that sought to invalidate state antiabortion laws.
Most Americans support the theory of equality of opportunity, which is the idea
that each person is guaranteed the same chance to succeed in life. This form of equality
offers an equal chance for each person to get ahead in life and glorifies personal
achievement and free competition. It also allows everyone to play on the same field.
Americans are less committed to the equality of outcome, which is the concept
that society must ensure that people are equal, and governments must design policies to
redistribute wealth and status so that economic and social equality is actually achieved.
Some people believe that equality of outcome can only be achieved if in today’s society
if there is a restriction of free competition.
After the Civil War Congress started to laws in order to give blacks their
freedoms. The Civil Rights Act of 1875 Congress attempted to guarantee blacks equal
access to public facilities such as parks and theaters. In 1876, the justices limited
congressional attempts to protect the rights of blacks. Plessy vs. Ferguson (1896)
imposed the separate but equal doctrine. In 1954 Brown v Board of Education proved
racial segregation to be unconstitutional.
A public policy is a general plan of action adopted by a government to solve a
social problem, counter a threat, or pursue and objective. Public policy is broken into four
major steps: Agenda Setting, Policy formulation, Implementation, and Policy evaluation.
Agenda setting is part of the process in which problems are defined as political
issues. Presidential and congressional candidates run for office promising to put
neglected issues on the policy agenda. When the government considers acting on an issue
that has been neglected in the past, the issue has become part of the political agenda.
Political parties also take up new issues to promote their candidates for office and
respond to public opinion. Technology is one of the major factors for explaining the rise
of new issues. Part of the politics of agenda building does not just deal with new issues,
but the heart of an issue as well.
Second is policy formulation. This is the stage of the policymaking process during
which formal proposals are developed and adopted. The most obvious kind of policy
making is the proposal of an issue by the president or the development of legislation by
Congress. Administrative agencies also formulate policy through the regulatory process.
Courts formulate policy when their decisions establish new interpretations on the law.
Although policymaking is depicted as one stage, it can actually take place over several
Implementation is the process of putting specific policies into operation. This may
take notifying the intended targets of agency actions of new or changed regulations. This
step involves a great deal of bargaining and negotiation among different groups.
The analysis of a public policy so as to determine how well it is working is policy
evaluation. This is used to know how well a policy may or not be working. There is not
one exact method to policy evaluation but most deals with academics. Evaluation is part
of the policy making process because it helps to identify problems and issues that arise
from current policy.
What issue networks have done is to facilitate pluralistic politics in policy areas in
which majoritarian influences are weak.
Laissez-Faire means to leave alone. The theory discusses the absence of
government in the market. The doctrine explains the operation on a free market to the
process to natural selection. During the process of economic competition, which weeds
out the weak and preserves the strong, the economy prospers and everyone benefits.
Strict advocates believe that government interference with business tampers with the laws
of nature, therefore obstructing the free market.
The Keynesian Theory, presented by the British economist John Maynard
Keynes, theorize that business cycles stem from imbalances between aggregate demand
and productive capacity. The Keynesian Theory is an economic theory stating that the
government can stabilize the economy- that is, can smooth business cycles- by
controlling the aggregate demand, and the level of aggregate demand can be controlled
by means of fiscal and monetary policies. The Employment Act of 1946, which reflected
the Keynesian theory, had a great impact on government economic policy.
Monetary Policy is the economic policy that involves control of, and changes in,
the supply of money. Monetary policies are under the control on the Federal Reserve
System, which acts as the United States’ central bank. The Fed controls the money
supply, which affects inflation in three ways. First the Fed can buy and sell government
securities on the open market. The Fed can also change its discount rate and last, the Fed
can change its reserve requirement.
Supply side economics is the economic policies aimed at increasing the supply of
goods; consists mainly of tax cuts for possible investors and less regulation of business.
Supply side economics were introduced by Reagan in 1981. The thought was to deal with
the double-digit inflation that the nation was experiencing. Supply-siders argue that the
rich should receive larger tax cuts than the poor because the rich have more money to
invest. Also they believe that the benefits of increased investment with “trickle down” to
the working people by adding more jobs and income.
7. List the definitions found on pages 588 through 592
Public policy- A general plan of action adopted by the government to solve a social
problem, counter a threat, or pursue an objective
Welfare State- A nation in which the government assumes responsibility for the welfare
of its citizens by providing a wide array of public services and redistributing income to
reduce social inequality.
Social Welfare Programs- government programs that provide the minimum living
standards necessary for all citizens.
Great Depression- The longest and deepest setback the American economy has ever
experienced. It began with the stock market crash on October 24, 1929, and did not end
until the start of WWII.
New Deal- The measures advocated by the Roosevelt administration to alleviate the
Great Society- President Lyndon Johnson’s board array of programs designed to redress
political, social, and economic inequality.
War on Poverty- A part of the President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society program,
intended to eradicate poverty within ten years.
The business cycle us the expansions and contractions of business activity, the
first accompanied by inflation and the second by unemployment. The United States have
experienced more than 15 business cycles. Keynes theorized that the business cycles stem
from imbalances between aggregate demand and productive capacity. When productive
capacity exceeds demand, producers cut back on their output of goods, which leads to
The progressive tax is a system of taxation whereby the rich pay proportionately
higher taxes than the poor and is used by governments to redistribute wealth and thus
promote equality. Studies show that citizens agree with the theory, but do not coincide
with the practice. The greater the number of tax brackets, the more progressive a tax can
be. Higher brackets can be taxed at higher rates.
The Gramm-Rudman act mandated that the budget deficit be lowered to a
specified level each year until the budget was balanced. In 1986, Congress failed to meet
its deficit target, and in 1987, Congress again failed to meet the target. Congress and the
president then changed the law to match the deficit. Gramm-Redman showed the
Congress lacked the will to force itself to balance the budget by an orderly plan of deficit
9. In order to understand how the presidents have derived their authority in foreign
policy, one must read between the lines of the Constitution.
President is empowered by the Constitution to:
Be the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
Have the power to make treaties (subject to the consent of the Senate).
Appoint U.S ambassadors and the heads of executive departments
Receives (or refuses to receive) ambassadors from other countries.
Congress is empowered by the Constitution to:
Raise revenue and dispense funds
Regulate commerce with foreign nations.
Define and punish piracy and offenses against the law of nations.
Declare war
Support, maintain, govern, and regulate the army and navy
Call out the state militias to repel invasions.
The Senate is empowered to by the Constitution to:
Give advice and consent to treaties made by the president
Give advice and consent to the appointment of ambassadors and various other public
officials involved in foreign policy.
10. Because of the powers that are listed in the Constitution in Article II:
Is commander in chief of the armed forces
Has the power to make treaties (subject to the consent of the Senate).
Appoints U.S ambassadors and the heads of executive departments (also with the advice
or consent of the Senate).
Receives (or refuses to receive) ambassadors from other countries.
The president has powers for the foreign policy. He is the commander-in-chief but
also the chief negotiator in foreign countries. He travels abroad to negotiate agreements
between countries and for our country. We can see his powers over the news and media,
in agreements such as in NATO and in the UN, we can see that the president is carrying
out his duties.
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