chapter 18 p. 459-472 - Chapter 18 P 459-472 MAKING...

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Chapter 18 P. 459-472 MAKING ECONOMIC AND REGULATORY POLICY Summer of 1999 for first time in 2 decades, federal government budget was balanced [3 years ahead of schedule] o 6T surplus for next 10 years Balanced budget/projected surplus due to 3 events o Defense spending fell after cold war ended o Spending for domestic programs didn’t rise as fast [economy growing] o Tax revenues increased more than expected But surplus gone in 3 years – everything that could go wrong with economy went wrong o Congress/Bush gave 1.3T of projected surpluses back to public [2001 tax cuts] o 300B for further tax cuts in 2003, 400B for new prescription drug plan for elderly in 2004, 200B to war in Afghanistan/Iraq 6T surplus suddenly became 3T in projected deficits o Shows how sensitive federal budgets are to unexpected events [wars, bad economy] and legislative decisions Congress/president worked for 20 years to balance budget, gone in 3 months o And they didn’t stop spending This chapter: making/implementing 3 kinds of public policy : economic, social, foreign policy MAKING PUBLIC POLICY Intro Government acts through public policy : specific course of action taken to achieve a public goal o Can be laws passed by Congress and signed by president, opinions from Supreme Court, or rules by executive branch o Tells public who’s going to get what, when, and how from government The Policy Making Process 6 steps to policy making [leading to final implementation and action] 1. Making Assumptions About the World o Government decisions involve assumptions about stronger – will economy go up or down? Unemployment? Costs? Terrorism? Strengthen border security? o No way to tell what will happen in future… so policy makers make choices that sell their particular views of the world Often pessimistic about future when defining problems, optimistic in announcing proposals to fix problems Make things seem worse/better than they actually are 2. Picking the Problem o Choosing problem solved in setting policy agenda : informal list of issues Congress/president consider most important for action o Problems reach list from… terrorist attacks [9/11], TV stories about controversial issues [gay marriage], pressure from interest groups o Government monitors lots of assumptions on economy’s state – beginning of economy slowdown through jobless claims, inflation through consumer price index, problems in credit through rising/falling interest rates 3. Deciding Whether to Act at All o Congress/president don’t act on all problems – usually when they have a reason to [running for reelection, or make them look good] o Policy makers know public pressure for action ebbs and flows -> “public attention rarely remains sharply focused upon any one domestic for very long – even if it involves a continuing problem of crucial importance to society” –Anthony Downs Attention to problems follow issue-attention cycle
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