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Approaching Democracy chapter 15


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capital gains tax
tax on unearned income from rents, stocks, and interest
a shortfall between the monies a government takes in and spends
discretionary spending
the spending congress actually controls; 33 percent of all spending
economic policy
policy aimed at producing a vibrant, healthy and growing economy
government-sponsored benefits and cash payments to those who meet eligibilty requirements
excise taxes
charges on the sale or manufacture of products such as cigarettes, alcohol, and gasoline
formal agenda
the policies actually scheduled for debate and potential adoption by congress, the president, the supreme court, or exclusive departments and agencies
the act of providing the organization and expertise required to put into action any policy that has become law; also refers to the actual execution of a policy
the prsident's refusal to spend funds appropriated by congress
mandatory spending
spending that must be allocated by law rather than by appropriations, for entitlements such as social security, medicare and medicaid; 67 percent of the budget
means testing
the changing of eligibility for entitlement benefits from everyone receiving benefits to only those with earnings and savings below a predetermined level, in an attempt to save money
national debt
the cumulative total of all budget deficits
office of management and budget (OMB)
the unit in the executive office of the president whose main responsibilities are to prepare and administer the president's annual budget. a president and the OMB can shape policy through the budget process; the process determines which departments and agencies grow, are cut, or remain the same as the year before
policy elites
members of congress, the president, supreme court justices, cabinet officers, heads of key agencies and departments, leading editorial writers, and influential columnists and commentators
policy entrepreneurs
leaders who invest in, and who create teh conditions for, a potential group to ecome an actual interest group. ralph nader stands as a classic example of a policy entrepreneur.
policy evaluation
the required period of monitoring and analysis of fedral policies following their implementation
poverty level
the federally determined income below which a family of four is considered poor
progressive taxes
system of taxation in which those who make more money are taxed at a higher rate. an example is the income tax
public agenda
the set of topics that concern policy elites, the general public, or both
public policies
the decisions, actions, and commitments of government
regressive taxes
system of taxation in which taxes take a higher fraction of the income of lower income taxpayers; examples are taxes on gasoline, cigarettes, and alcohol
regulatory policy
policy that involves the use of police powers by the federal government to supervise the conduct of individuals, businesses, and other governmental agencies
social welfare policy
policy that uses positive incentives (cash assistance, stipends, entitlements, grants, etc) to promote or encourage basic social and economic fairness
the imposition of import taxes on foreign goods in an attempt to protect a nation's industry and/or labor
tax expenditures
deductible expenses that reduce the amount of income subject to taxes; for example, home mortgages, business equiptment, or business-related entertainment
triggering mechanism
a critical development that converts a routine problem into a widely shared, negative public response
the requirement that recipients of welfare programs such as AFDC work on public works unless they find employment elsewhere

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