Peter Min Jones 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. 2. 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 society. 3. 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. 4. 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. 5. 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 stages. 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. 6. 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 Depression. 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. 8. 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 unemployment. 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 reduction. 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. Legislate 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.