Political Theory And The Budget

Week 6 Discussion 2: Political Theory and the Budget

Required Resources
Read/review the following resources for this activity:

  • Textbook: Review Chapter 2, 3 (pp. 56-59), 13
  • Lesson
  • Additional scholarly sources you identify through your own research

Textbook:

 Magstadt, T. (2017). Understanding Politics: Ideas, institutions, and issues (12th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage. 

 Instructions:
Explain how a liberal and conservative would approach developing the US budget. Use evidence (cite sources) to support your response from assigned readings or online lessons, and at least TWO outside scholarly sources.

 Lastly, to look at a REAL U.S. Budget (2015), and see what discretionary and mandatory spending are, and also to see how much is really spent in the budget, and on what, follow this link. The info is really good. https://www.nationalpriorities.org/budget-basics/federal-budget-101/spending/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. 

Writing Requirements

  • APA format for in-text citations and list of references. Please use proper APA citations on paper and reference page to get full credit.

Lesson:

Week 6 Lesson: Economics

This week we will explore the economy, including the impact that governments have upon economic matters and the cost of welfare programs.

The US Budget

In February of each year, the President submits around a $3.8 trillion budget proposal to Congress for approval. This proposal is based on the President’s priorities, and what he believes will pass in the Congress. Once the plan is made public, interest groups, citizens, scholars, political scientists, and pundits begin to scrutinize it to see what spending will go where.

The American economic system is very complicated. It is considered a laissez-faire economy, but this does not mean that it operates in an entirely free market. There are rules and regulations in place to protect the market, and the businesses and people working within it. Some of these safeguards developed during a period known as the New Deal, under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, as a means of lessening the impact of the Great Depression. These protections are referred to as the social safety net or welfare programs.

Welfare is a term applied to social programs that contribute to the overall well-being of the citizens, and these types of programs usually develop when there is a great need within the populace. For example, during The Great Depression, inflation rates made the dollar lose its previous value. The Great Depression resulted in the suffering of a large portion of the population because many could not pay their bills, or buy necessities such as food which was in short supply to being with. Eventually, technological advances, spurred by the Industrial Revolution, made the farming process less difficult, allowing for larger and larger amounts of crops to be produced. Although this produced more food for a while, it also dropped the price of food, given the fundamental law of supply and demand. If the supply of a product rises above the demand for the product, prices will fall.

Supply and Demand

With the fall in crop prices, farmers who had mortgaged their homes and land to afford new farming equipment lost it all because they could no longer earn enough to pay off their loans. Also, the new technology contributed to overfarming much of the land, which stripped needed nutrients from the soil, making it unfarmable for some time, developing The Dust Bowl. With the upper layer of soil missing from much of the farmland in the Midwest, the large amount of dust caused great dust storms as severe as blizzards. Food production suffered because of limited farmland, causing supply to decrease, raising the price of food again. However, given the state of inflation during this time, the average person could not keep up with these costs forcing the government to step in to provide for the people and stabilize prices.

Although welfare programs serve purposes, they are not free. The problem of paying for them falls on every nation that offers them, which is why there is always much deliberation regarding these programs. The United States offers far fewer social programs than its European allies—based upon its laissez-faire approach—and yet there is always much discussion about their existence. American conservatives tend to support a reduction in the funding of such programs, whereas liberals usually argue for an increase in their funding.

Cargo containers with Chines and American flags on them

From the US budget to negotiating with China on tariffs, it is no doubt economics is essential. Economics has become even more critical as our society has globalized, making the world smaller. It is harder to find specific products with the “Made in the USA” label as businesses are outsourcing many manufacturing jobs to other nations to provide lower prices. The US, the only superpower, continues to be part of the global political economy.

The Global Political Economy

Men in maze

The paths that take nations to democracy are rarely straight, and never identical. The same can be said for those societies opting to embrace a market economy. The most successful economic system currently is capitalism, but capitalism has evolved and continues to grow differently in various countries around the world. Political scientists measure these changes alongside the systems’ roots in, and influence on, the political world.

For half of the last century, many countries around the world operated under an economic system different from capitalism. The Cold War between the communist Soviet Union and the Western capitalist world has guided much of the international and domestic politics of the past 60 years. As communism eroded in the face of global markets, however, even the largest of the communist superpowers (Russia and China) moved toward market-based economies. Capitalist countries have also seen changes in the market over the past 75 years. The “free market” does not exactly exist in any democratic state because concerns about social well-being have caused most governments to establish some safety net to protect populations from the harsh realities of the market. Programs such as Social Security are examples of this safety net in the United States.

Theoretical distinctions can be made between different democratic countries and their economic development. An example of such a difference presented in the field of political science categorizes countries’ financial systems based on how active the government is in the economy. Esping-Anderson (1990) writes that these economies can be categorized as laissez-faire, corporatist, or social democratic. Laissez-faire economies are those that remain most closely tied to the free market. Governments in these states have little democratic control over the economy and tend to allow the market to control prices and income distribution. Corporatist economies have strong centralized governments attempting to balance income distribution and market concerns between the free population and the private sector. Social-democratic countries are those in which the government owns many social services and heavily regulates private industry.

As you might imagine, with so many different economies operating in the world, the international sphere as a whole has an economy of its own. Countries have to compete for business, and businesses have to compete for consumers. Trade agreements and restrictions are established to make these competitions equitable and productive. As Russia and China become increasingly dominant on the world economic stage, the international political and economic landscape will continue to change. The emergence of new economic powers is not the only pressure on the international economy, however. Political issues such as wages, immigration, export controls, taxes, and employment all factor into decisions that impact global markets. Citizens are going to have to make difficult decisions relating to many concerns of this new global environment in the coming years. Should national sovereignty be given to international organizations? Should businesses that pay low wages in other countries be allowed to import goods? Must governments ultimately regulate the economy, or can the free market solve these problems without interference?

Summary

It seems clear that economics are closely tied to politics and that decisions regarding regulation of economic matters have a direct impact on a government’s success.

Reference

References

Congressional Budget Office. (2017). The Federal budget in 2017. Retrieved from https://www.cbo.gov/publication/53624

Esping-Anderson, G. (1990). The three worlds of welfare capitalism. Hoboken, NJ.: John Wiley & Sons.

 
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Read the article by Timothy Ferris, “Conservative is not opposite Liberal, That’s Totalitarianism”. Using the book and the internet, identify a one-dimensional political spectrum.

Use two tools of analysis.

  • Compare and contrast (two or three sections of a piece)
  • Compare and contrast (with outside information/experts such as academic experts, politicians, textbooks, and other professional sources)
  • Apply to something you know (pop culture, other text, experience, historical examples, other material)
  • Reinterpret (put the author’s ideas into your own words, communicate their point in a new way)
  • Relevance (does the author’s ideas apply to something going on today?)
  • Argue for (provide several examples why the author is correct)
  • Argue against (provide at least one example why the author is incorrect)
  • Proscribe (criticize the author or the piece)
  • Prescribe a solution to a problem the author raises, or propose a better solution than the author gives
  • Identify if author has a bias and explain with examples

 Then use outside informatio

Read the article by Timothy Ferris, “Conservative is not opposite Liberal, That’s Totalitarianism”. Using the book and the internet, identify a one-dimensional political spectrum.

Draw a one-dimensional political spectrum and include the following: Libertarians, Democrats, Republicans, Green Party, Tea Party/Reform Party, Progressives/Liberals, Conservatives, Fascists, Communists, and Socialists.

Next, Draw a two-dimensional political spectrum (like Ferris) and label the same parties as above on this spectrum.

Finally, explain why you put the political parties where you did on the spectra, and compare and contrast your findings (full essay).

Resources

Watch these videos on YouTube and use information and cite.

*POLITICS FOR DUMMIES: LEFT& RIGHT political parties…..

* ON POLITICS AND TGE FEDERAL BUDGET, 2011

 
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Read the article by Timothy Ferris, “Conservative is not opposite Liberal, That’s Totalitarianism”. Link is attached here: ferris.PDF

Political Spectrum Writing Assignment

  1. Read the article by Timothy Ferris, “Conservative is not opposite Liberal, That’s Totalitarianism”. Link is attached here:  ferris.PDF
  2. Using the book and the internet, identify a one-dimensional political spectrum.
  3. Draw a one-dimensional political spectrum and include the following: Libertarians, Democrats, Republicans, Green Party, Tea Party/Reform Party, Progressives/Liberals, Conservatives, Fascists, Communists, and Socialists. 
  4. Next, Draw a two-dimensional political spectrum (like Ferris) and label the same parties as above on this spectrum as well. Use the attached PDF to see the drawing of the two dimensional spectrum that Ferris completed. There should be no excuse. Make sure to view the pdf to see the political spectrum. The second drawing should be like Ferris’!
  5. Finally, explain why you put the political parties where you did on the spectrum, and compare and contrast your findings. (4 pages) Don’t forget to identify a one political spectrum. 
    1. Do not forget thesis statement and  good structure. Make sure to be specific and use examples!!
    2. Be sure to include conclusion paragraph. Everything must be explained in full detail. Be thorough. 
 
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Enhance and/or improve critical thinking and media literacy skills by: 1. Developing a clear and concise thesis statement (an argument) in response to the following question: Does the film have the power to transform political sensibilities?

Choose one movie form these two My Own Private Idaho, 1991; Directed by Gus Van Sant or Boys Don’t Cry 1998; Directed by Kimberly. Write a outline of the essay.


Assignment Objectives:  Enhance and/or improve critical thinking and media literacy skills by:                                 1. Developing a clear and concise thesis statement (an argument) in response to the                                     following question: Does the film have the power to transform political sensibilities?                                2. Writing an outline for a five paragraph analytical essay building on a clear and                                     concise thesis statement, including topic sentences and secondary supports.                                3. Identifying and explaining three scenes from the film text in support of the thesis                                     statement/argument.                                4.  Writing an introductory paragraph for the outlined analytical essayBe sure to read thoroughly the writing conventions below before beginning this assignment.  Note: You are NOT writing a full essay; rather, you are outlining an analytical essay by completing the dialogue in the boxes below.Writing a Critical Review (analytical) Essay 

  1. Every essay that you write for this course must have a clear thesis, placed (perhaps) somewhere near the end of the introductory paragraph. Simply stated, a THESIS (or ARGUMENT) expresses, preferably in a single sentence, the point you want to make about the text that is the subject of your essay. A THESIS should be an opinion or interpretation of the text, not merely a fact or observation.  The best possible THESIS will answer some specific questions about the text. Very often the THESIS contains an outline of the major points to be covered in the essay. A possible thesis for an essay on character in Perry Henzell’s The Harder They Come might read somewhat as follows:   The protagonist of THTC is not a hero in the epic sense of the word, but a self-centered young man bred of economic oppression and cultural dependency. The characters in this film have no real psychological depth, but are markers for a society of consumption and momentary glory.   (You might then go on to exemplify from the text and argue in favor or against this interpretation: your essay need not hold to only one perspective.)   What single, clear QUESTION does the above THESIS attempt to answer? 
  2. Each essay should be organized into five (5) paragraphs, each based on one of two to four major ideas, which will comprise the BODY of the essay. Each paragraph must have a topic sentence, often (but not always) towards the beginning of the paragraph, which clearly states the ARGUMENT or point to be made in the paragraph. Following the thesis set forth above, the first paragraph might begin with a sentence like “Ivan’s desires and his destiny are signaled in the opening shots of the film, where the friendly, jumbled interior of the bus is contrasted with Ivan’s first view of the outer world: a world of shiny white cars and beautiful women.” Avoid topic sentences that fail to make an interpretative statement about the work or that merely state something any reader might observe; for example, “The first characters we see are country people on a bus to town.”   
  3. Underline the THESIS and each TOPIC SENTENCE in every critical review essay you submit. This exercise will force you to make certain that you have expressed and developed the ideas in your essay clearly and logically.  (In other words, do not do this exercise five minutes before you submit the essay but, rather, as you are working on the very first draft.)   
  4. Always use present tense verbs in your critical review essays about film texts.  Present tense is the verb tense of analysis.  Past tense, on the other hand, is the tense of narration. In each essay, you will be analyzing a particular text, not retelling or summarizing the story.  If you find yourself slipping into past tense as you compose, you are probably narrating rather than analyzing.   
  5. Use specific passages from the text to support each point that you make in your essay. You may simply refer to an event in the text, or you may paraphrase what a character or the narrator says. But the best EVIDENCE will most often be direct quotes from the text.    

The Introductory Paragraph – Some ApproachesIn your essay, an opening or introductory paragraph may not always be the first one you write.  But it will be the first one your readers read and you need to engage your readers’ attention and interest and present all you need to make your thesis clear and convincing.

  1. Some Pitfalls to Avoid 
    1. Dictionary definitions:  Define key terms and concepts in your opening paragraph, but don’t quote directly from the dictionary to do so. Use a dictionary – more than one dictionary – to formulate the definition in your own words.   
    2. Generalizations about “life,” “society,” “people today,” etc.: You don’t want to begin your essay with the kind of statement that teeters on that fine line between opinion (those ideas you will go on to prove) and belief (those ideas unprovable with the evidence offered by the text).  Rather than a statement like, “Almost every man has a sense of pride and will go to war to prove it,” try something more specific to the text you are analyzing.  “The character of Roland exemplifies how personal pride and personal valor do not always lead to the most fortunate conclusion.”   
    3. The painfully obvious:  Avoid opening statements like “Dante’s Inferno is about a journey to hell,” or “Roland is the hero of The Song of Roland,” unless such statements are in some way controversial and challenging to traditional interpretations of the text. Try to avoid any kind of tautological formula – “something is something else” – in the opening sentence, especially, but also elsewhere as an “argument.” 
    4. Try to distinguish between historical or biographical fact:  “Dante’s Inferno was written in fourteenth-century Italy,” and interpretation, especially when you are considering the intention of an author:  “Dante wrote his Inferno to expose the problem of Florentine political corruption to the world.” The latter may be a part of your theory or thesis (or conclusion) but if you use it as a statement of fact (an “intentional fallacy”) you will have to prove it rather than merely argue it – a slippery and difficult and perhaps not particularly useful task. Beware also of using vague or imprecise generalizations of terms such as “dramatic,” “realistic,” or “critical,” which differ in their literary and historical significance. 
  2. Challenges to Meet 
    1. Try for a (syntactically) shapely and relevant opening sentence: be thoughtful and original and persuasive.  Always look for interesting ways into your essay: an epigraph, perhaps, or an important episode that seems to set the stage for what you want to say, or a succinct comparison with another well-known work, which will help your reader understand the point you want to make.   
    2. Always (particularly in a comparative essay) identify your texts early on. (Usually with full title, full authors’ names, and date/period of publication.)   
    3. Think of your thesis statement as the logical goal of the first paragraph. Everything you say here should lead towards (or from) that thesis. Anything that doesn’t lead in that direction – unless you are presenting a view different from yours, which you want to argue against—doesn’t belong in your paragraph.  Think of the paragraph as a funnel, where the contents are being concentrated and filtered to one end.  

Critical Review #2 Due April 4, 2018 

*Using proper MLA bibliographic formatting, cite the film text in the box to the right:http://www.bibme.org/citation-guide/MLA/film*1. Develop a thesis statement pertaining to the assigned film text and whether or not it, the film, in your view has the power to transform one’s political sensibilities. Your argument should express your point of view regarding the politics of difference, political sensibilities, and political transformation(s) as related to the film. Remember, you’re writing (developing) an analytical essay. Submit your thesis statement in the box located to the right. Be sure to proofread your work.*2. Develop three (3) topic sentences that articulate the major ideas that will comprise the body of your essay. Remember that your topic sentences should clearly state the argument or point to be made in the respective paragraphs and must map back to your thesis statement. Submit your topic sentences in the box located to the right. Be sure to proofread your work.*3. Identify three (3) scenes from the film that support your thesis statement. Briefly explain your choices of scenes and how the scenes specifically support your thesis statement. Also, provide the exact time the scenes begin and end within the film text. Submit your reply in the box located to the right. Be sure to proofread your work.*4. Lastly, fully develop your introductory paragraph. Remember that the best possible thesis will answer some specific question about the text. In this case a question related to the film’s power to transform political sensibilities regarding difference. Your thesis statement should appear parenthetically within the paragraph you present. Submit your answer in the box located to the right. Be sure to proofread your work.

 
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