Public Policy in the American Government - Essay Example

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This essay, Public Policy in the American Government, presents public policy which refers to the objectives set by the government for the general good and welfare of its people. Public policy affects all individuals similarly, whether in familiar or unexpected ways…
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Public Policy in the American Government
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Public Policy in the American Government Affiliation Public Policy in the American Government Public policy refers to the objectivesset by the government for the general good and welfare of its people. Public policy affects all individuals similarly, whether in familiar or unexpected ways (Cochran et al., 2009). Policies are usually formed to address issues in society, and their formulation is dependent on a five-step process. The first step is the setting of the national agenda, where an issue becomes part of the national phenomenon. The national agenda may involve the issues that the public wants the government to address. The agendas may be many and require prioritizing (, 2008). The second step is policy formulation, where different interest groups bring up conflicting solutions to the set agenda for purposes of consideration on a wider stage. At this stage, there is an immense debate in the Congress and also in the media regarding the best possible solution.
After consideration of the various policy solutions, the federal government makes the decision on the best possible policy and may pass a law for the adoption of this new policy. A policy may be adopted following an executive order or after an important ruling by the Supreme Court (UShistory, org, 2008). The next stage is the implementation process that is determined by the federal administrative agencies tasked with this process. An implementation may also involve punishment for failing to adhere to the set policy. The last stage in policy formulation is the evaluation stage where different agencies involved in policy making determine whether implementation has been successfully carried out. This stage may also involve much debate on whether the implementation has been successful or not and it may form the basis of another policy formulation.
A particular interest group that will later on lobby the government to address the problem through policy formation may identify a problem. Once the problem is brought into the political domain, it becomes a political issue (WHO, 2010). During the definition of a problem, conflict arises as different groups define the problem in ways that the policy is likely to suit their interests. Also, identification of the problem will be in such a way that the particular interest group will have control over the decision makers in agenda setting (Csulb, 2002). What may be defined as a problem by one particular group may be defined differently by another group as each is seeking ways in which the policy to be formulated will greatly advantage them.
Agenda setting refers to the process used to ensure that solutions to a particular problem lose or gain elite and public attention. There is no particular group or a political system with the institutional capacity to set the agenda or address any possible problems arising from any particular issue (Pedersen and Walgrave, 2014). As such, different groups with different agendas have to fight to ensure that their alternatives or agendas remain in the forefront or are the most visible in the public domain. Even when an issue or solution to the problem has gained much public attention, the group behind the idea has to ensure that this idea remains above others (Birkland, 2001). One of the powerful tools used in agenda setting is the media that is used to convince the public and depict a particular solution as the most viable to the problem in question. Each group, whether a lobbyists group, a political action group, or any other interest groups, has the responsibility to set its agenda on the public domain.
Birkland, T. (2001). An introduction to the policy process. New York: Barnes & Noble.
Cochran, C., Lawrence, M., Carr, T., and Joseph, C. (2009). American public policy. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. (2002). Women and public policy. Retrieved on November 26 2015 http://web.csulb .edu/~msaintg/ppa590/agenda.htm
Pedersen, C., and Walgrave, S. (2014). Agenda setting, policies, and political systems. Chicago: University of Chicago. (2008). Policy making: Political interactions. Retrieved on November 26, 2015, from
WHO. (2014). Health services planning and policy making. Canada: WHO. Read More
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