Public Policy Essay #1
Why should we study Public Policy? We should study Public Policy because it is important to see what has changed in America since it was founded, and see the problems with Public Policy today. So what is Public Policy anyway? The best way to find out is by looking at the words. The word public comes from a Latin word that means “the people,” and the word policy comes from the same Greek word that police comes from, its meaning has to do with the law and use of force. So we are studying the way people in the government make and enforce laws for the people. Public Policy is very important because it affects the law, which influences how we act. And how we act determines what kind of people we are as a nation.
There have been some big changes in Public Policy and the way it is carried out. These changes have been happening for a long time but really started happening since 1965. A good way to see the changes is by looking at GDP charts. In 1900 less than one in ten dollars spent in the U.S. passed through government hands. But in 2013 over four in ten dollars spent passed through government hands. Also in 1900 a higher percent of GDP was spent on local government than Federal government. In 2013 however that was reversed. These statistics tell us two things, first the government has become bigger, and also it has become more centralized. More of Public Policy is accomplished in Washington DC than before. This is a problem.
This change in Public Policy and government causes several problems. One of these problems is that the farther you are from where rules are made, the less influence you have on what the rules are. Also the people making the rules far away don’t have as great an understanding on what they are making rules for. Another problem is that as the government gets bigger it has much more influence on elections and the government will have an interest in the size of government.
The centralization of government takes away the power of local government to take care of important things like welfare and education and puts them in government agencies. These agencies are another change that create problems.
Government agencies are doing important things that need to be done. They do things that have always been done. There was always welfare and health care in America but they were done locally and were often voluntary. Having such local issues handled at the Federal level is inefficient and wasteful.
There are more issues with government agencies than just wastefulness, though that is a big problem. The people who work for these agencies aren’t elected by us. Also there is no separation of power within these agencies. They are making the rules, enforcing the rules, and reviewing the rules. They are even judging in court.
The reason we study Public Policy is so we can understand how we are governed and can work to make changes.