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Polisci 2230 Feb 12.docx

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Political Science
Political Science 2230E
Gaile Mc Gregor

Polisci 2230 Feb. 12 POLICY MAKING, THE BUREAUCRACY Public policy – a course of action or inaction chosen by public authorities to address a problem of an interrelated set of problems; 3 elements 1. definition of a problem 2. goals to be achieved 3. instruments or means chosen to address the problem - Ex. 2008 economic downturn, and the gov’t implemented an action plan – banks stop lending money and the gov’t recognizes this problem; goals to be achieved are to protect Canadian businesses and jobs; instruments used was they started a stimulus fund (capital projects, arenas, etc.) The Policy Making Process – 6 stages - refer to slides for diagram of these 1. Initiation  Problem definition stage (where do these ideas come from?) – the government  Demand becomes an issue if it is absorbed by the government  Problem turned over to bureaucracy and ask for ideas 2. Priority-Setting  Makes options  Gov’t decides which options are worthy of adoption  Can be a difficult stage because different policies compete with one another  The government did decide to adopt several policies with the stimulus plan (ex. Reduced income taxes, spent money on infrastructure 3. Policy Formulation  Government approves a policy in principle and then sends in back to the bureaucracy  The members of the bureaucracy get involved with their knowledge or certain issues 4. Legitimation  Policies are put on paper  Receives approval of democratically elected members 5. Implementation  Bills going through the house at legitimation stage are pretty vague  Give broad principles that the bill is meant to achieve, but the bureaucracy builds in the fine details  Can take a while, which means that even when something passes legitimation, it may not be in effect for years 6. Interpretation  When public legislation is involved, judicial opinion can take place  Courts can overturn things  Most governments are aware of division of power problems and are careful when making legislation to avoid that kind of issue Public Policy Instruments (order of least intrusive to most intrusive) - Privatization/inaction  Do nothing  Might not think something is significant enough  Might think the problem is best left handled by the private sector  Can take 2 forms  1. Gov’t can completely avoid the problem  2. Can refer matters to some private sector authority – ex. Giving power to some self-regulating professional body such as doctors or lawyers - Symbolic response  Uninvasive  Issuing a state of government concern  Might have meetings and consult with people of different groups relative to a problem  Might a apply a tax force or relative commission  Ex. Royal Commission on the Future Healthcare of Canada  In the long term, something might come out of these royal commissions but by themselves they don’t constitute any substantive government action  Ex. The Sponsorship Scandal – PM Martin set up an inquiry into the scandal to try and cool things down, without actually making any changes (paying lip service to a problem) - Exhortation  Involves the gov’t urging people to change their behavior  Ex. Pictures on cigarette packages - Tax expenditures  If you put money in your retirement plan, you don’t get taxed on that  When you give money to a charity or political party, you get money back  Don’t actually involve spending by government, just provide incentives to act a particular way - Public Expenditures  Spend money subsidizing farmers and other seasonal workers  Spends money through gov’t agencies ex. The department of defence  Very popular means of combatting the financial crisis around the world  In some instances, spending money is a good thing - Regulation  When the government makes rules about how you must behave  Punishments if you do not follow these rules (could be a fine, or going to jail)  Ex. When you die, there are rules about how your money is dispersed; when you get married you have to have a license; when you have a kid you must buy a specific type of car seat; speed limits  Attractive to governments because regulation does not involve spending money  Can be very intrusive  In the past they have been used to protect individuals from themselves as well as corporate expectations - Taxation  Constrains behavior, and takes something away from individuals and corporations  Governments need to collect money if they are going to spend it somehow  Governments that implement new taxes often suffer as a result - Public ownersh
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