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Introducing Government in America

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Understand how government, politics, and public policy are interrelated. ... News & Entertainment Media. Interest Groups. Policy Agenda. Political Issues ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Introducing Government in America


1
Introducing Government in America
  • Jeffrey C. Berry
  • Mid-Valley Bldg B202 H
  • 447-6657
  • Email jberry_at_stcc.cc.tx.us

2
Learning Objectives
  • Distinguish among the fundamental concepts of
    government, politics and public policy.
  • Understand how government, politics, and public
    policy are interrelated.
  • State how people can influence the governments
    policy agenda.
  • Describe the basic concept of the policymaking
    system.
  • State the essential principles of traditional
    democratic theory.
  • Examine the three contempory theories of American
    democracy pluralism, elite and class theory,
    and hyperpluralism.
  • Discuss and analyze the challenges to democracy
    presented in the text.
  • Understand the importance of individualism in
    limiting the scope of American government.
  • Asses the two basic questions of government How
    should we govern? And What should government do?

3
Government
  • Definition
  • The institutions and processes through which
    public policies are made for society.
  • This definition leads to two basic questions
  • How should we govern?
  • What should government do?

4
Politics
  • Definition
  • The process by which we select our governmental
    leaders and what policies these leaders produce.
    Politics produces authoritative decisions about
    public issues.
  • Also consider Lasswells definition
  • Who gets what, when and how.

5
The Policymaking System
  • The process by which policy comes into being and
    evolves over time.

6
People
  • Interests
  • Problems
  • Concerns

7
Linkage Institutions
  • Political Parties
  • Elections
  • News Entertainment Media
  • Interest Groups

8
Policy Agenda
  • Political Issues
  • These are the whats that the various people
    want taken care of.
  • Items at the top of the policy agenda are taken
    care of first.
  • It may take years to get an item on the policy
    agenda, and then several more years to get it
    acted on.

9
Policymaking Institutions
  • Legislature (Congress)
  • Executive (President)
  • Courts (Federal and State)
  • Bureaucracies (Federal and State)

10
Policy
  • Expenditures of money
  • Raising or lowering taxes
  • New laws or regulations
  • Non-decisions (gridlock)

11
People
  • Impacts of policies
  • Does it solve the problem?
  • Does it create more problems?

12
Democracy
  • Definition
  • A system of selecting policymakers and of
    organizing government so that policy represents
    and responds to the publics preferences.
  • Equality in voting
  • Effective participation
  • Enlightened understanding
  • Citizen control of the agenda
  • Inclusion

13
Theories of U.S. Democracy
  • Pluralist Theory
  • A theory of government and policies emphasizing
    that politics is mainly a competition among
    groups, each one pressing for its own preferred
    policies.
  • Groups will work together
  • Public interest will prevail

14
Theories of U.S. Democracy
  • Elite and Class Theory
  • A theory of government and politics contending
    that societies are divided along class lines and
    that an upper-class elite will rule, regardless
    of the formal niceties of governmental
    organization.
  • Not all groups are equal
  • Policies benefit those with money / power

15
Theories of U.S. Democracy
  • Hyperpluralism
  • A theory of government and politics contending
    that groups are so strong that government is
    weakened.
  • Exaggerated / perverted form of pluralism
  • Confusing / contradictory policies
  • Gridlock- inability to act at all

16
Challenges to Democracy
  • Increased Technical Expertise
  • Limited Participation in Government
  • Escalating Campaign Costs
  • Diverse Political Interests

17
Questions About Democracy
  • Are the people knowledgeable- and do they apply
    what they know?
  • Do interest groups help the process, or do they
    get in the way?
  • Do political parties offer clear consistent
    choices for voters?
  • Does the President Congress work in the best
    interests of ALL the people?

18
Questions about the Scope of Government
  • How big a role does the Constitution say should
    be played by the federal government?
  • Does a bigger, more involved (active) government
    limit the peoples freedoms?
  • Do we need a bigger, more involved government to
    protect our freedoms?

19
Questions about the Scope of Government,
continued
  • Do competing political parties make for better
    policies?
  • Do more interest groups create a bigger
    government?
  • Does the media help control the size and policies
    government?

20
Questions about the Scope of Government,
continued
  • Can the president control the government, or has
    it gotten too big?
  • Can Congress respond to the needs of the people,
    or just to the interest groups?
  • Do members of Congress expand government by
    seeking to be re-elected?

21
Questions about the Scope of Government,
continued
  • Do the federal courts overstep their bounds and
    intrude on the powers of other branches of
    government?
  • Are the federal agencies too large and
    unresponsive to the public they are supposed to
    serve?

22
Internet Resources
  • Policy issues
  • Federalist Papers
  • Democracy in America
  • Bowling Alone
  • Yahoos Government
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