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Policy Making in the Federal System

The U.S. government's expansive role in public policy is caught in a swirl of conflicting cross-currents. On the one hand, popular expectations about government's responsibility to solve problems often exceed the capacity of state and local authorities to respond effectively. On the other hand, policies developed at the national level may not sufficiently reflect the great diversity of interests across the U.S. to be effective at the local level. Moreover, the search for effective policy is further complicated by theoretical debates about the constitutional framework of federalism, e.g., what limits on national power can be derived from the 10th Amendment?

Select a policy issue that is in the middle of these cross-currents between national, state, and local authority. Select one of the following policy: federal health care policy (e.g., "Obamacare", Medicaid - not Medicare); federal transportation policy (e.g., federal transportation subsidies); federal highway policy (e.g., federal rules about the minimum drinking age, speed limits, or safety); federal urban planning and renewal policy; federal poverty, welfare and unemployment policies; national security policies that intersect/conflict with local police power; and federal disaster planning and relief. The policy area that you select must have a significant "federalism" component that requires national, state, and local interaction. It should also involve issues with a strong potential for tension or conflict among different levels of government.

Research and write an essay on a specific policy in the area that you select.
Respond to the following
1. Clearly identify and focus on a specific federal policy or program (the policy must raises issues of "federalism" because it requires national, state and local interaction and invites tension across different levels of government).
2. Summarize the elements of the policy, including the problem it is supposed to solve or improve.
3. Briefly summarize the history of the policy.
4. Explain how the policy raises issues of "federalism"
5. Analyze the main pros and cons in debates about the policy.
6. Evaluate the pros and cons from two perspectives:
-The policy's effectiveness. (Justify your assessment by clearly explaining your definition of "effectiveness" and how it should be measured or determined.)
-The policy's consistency with the constitutional framework of federalism. (Justify your assessment by clearly explaining your interpretation of American federalism's constitutional framework and why the federal policy is or is not consistent with it.)

Solution Preview

Dear Student,

Hi and thank you for using Brainmass. In this particular task, you are asking for help to get you started with a particular assignment that appears to be complex. While it appears to be, by putting together a plan, you will be able to complete the task in a competent manner. It should start by thinking about a subject to delve into. There are a number of issues you can choose from. I would suggest delving into welfare and zeroing in on a particular topic as broad topics will be too expensive to discuss. Of late, one of my students in policymaking has delved into the many issues that the current SNAP or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is criticized with. SNAP is Federal and because of the impact of recession and the situation of millions of Americans living in poverty - it has become essential to the survival of millions. You have been given an outline as it is already; all you need to do is 'fill this in' using this outline:

1. Overview of the SNAP as a policy and the population it impacts - 150 words
2. The Federalism element to SNAP and the main issue it is supposed to resolve - 150 words
3. Brief History and issue with regards to Federalism - 150 words
4. Current issue of the policy and its pros and cons - 150 words
5. How effective is the policy and is it consistent to Federalist values - 150 words

This outline should provide you with the 750 words that you need. Now, with regards to putting together a 13-page paper which should include this material - you need to 'place' the material within the larger essay. If each page follows the double space 12 size font standards, this means that you need around 2,250 words including a bibliography and an Abstract. If you make SNAP the Policy under Review, then I suggest this outline for the larger project:

1. Title Page, Abstract (100 words)
2. Introduction - what is the subject of Study, what is the paper about? Write the coverage and limits of your study - 200 words
3. Your hypothesis with regards to the policy and its federalism components - 200 words
4. Exploration of your Policy Area - here, you will write down much of the elements of the 'shorter material' that is 750 words above
5. Federalism and the issue with policy enforcement and practice - how does Federalism impact the way policies are practiced? 250 words
6. Case Examples - how is SNAP practised at 'state and local level' and are federally established expectations met? 250 words (use case samples - draw from state examples like that of California's CalFresh policies to raise issues of obesity and other negative policy impact in relation to consistency and inconsistency of enforcement/practice)
7. Opinion on SNAP as a Federal policy and views with regards to its pros and cons and its social impact - 250 ...

Solution Summary

The solution provides information, assistance and advise in tackling the task (see above) on the topic of Policy Making in the Federal System. The focus of the policy making exercise is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. A simple outline is suggested together with key information to get the student started. Resources are also included for further exploration of the topic.