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Domestic Policy


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affirmative action
A policy in hiring that gives consideration or compensatory treatment to traditionally disadvanteged groups in an effort to overcome the present effects of past discrimination.
agenda setting
Determing the public policy questions to be debated or considered by Congress.
An economic system based on individual and corporate ownership of the meanse of production and a supply-demand market economy.
Clayton Anti-Trust Act
A major antitrust act aimed at increasing competition in business.
Clean Air Act
Environmental legislation that set standards limiting the amount of pollutants generated by automotive and industrial emissions.
Consumer Product Safety Act (1972)
This act created the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which is responsible for protecting consumers from injury caused by products sold to them.
The elimination of government controls, especially over private companies.
deserving and underserving poor
Categorization of poor by many Americans into "poor who deserve welfare help" because they can't help themselves, and those who " don't deserve welfare help" becuase it is assumed they can help themselves but choose not to.
distributive benefits
Programs, such as military contracts, that legislators try to secure for their constituents, who gain much by recieving them.
distributive policy
A policy that distributes political benefits to organized interests groups.
domestic policy
Those public plans or courses of action that concern issues of national importance, such as poverty, crime, and the environment, in contrast to foreign policies.
elite groups
Groups of people who exercise a major influence on or control the making of political economic, and social decisions. They gain their power positions through wealth, family status, caste systems, or intellectual superiority.
A government benefit to which recipients have a legally enforceable rights.
Environment Protection Agency (EPA)
An independent agency, established in 1970, to administer federal programs aimed at controlling pollution and protecting the environment.
Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)
The FOMC decides how monetary policy should be carried out by the Federal Reserve and is the most important body within the Federal Reserve System.
Federal Reserve Bank (the Fed)
America's central banking system hat establishes monetary policies, regulates the amount of currency in circulation, and determines the price of money (through interest rates). Its seven-member board of govenors works with 12 regional banks and thousands of member banks to implement policies.
fiscal policy
Government's use of its powers to tax and spend in order to influence the nation's economy.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
The agency charged with safeguarding consumers from impure food and medications.
Freedom to Farm Act (1996)
The Act that phased out price supports for American farmers and left agricultural prices to be determined by market forces.
GAO (Government Accounting Office)
An agency created by Congress in 1921 to review government agency performance and the receipt and distribution of public funds.
government agenda
The list of issues the government chooses to address, as distinct from the public agenda, the list of items the the public would like the government to address.
income transfer
The practice of taking income from some (usually the wealthy) and giving it to others (usually the poor). Usually performed by the government, this is a "transfer" because the recipients of hte income render no current services.
in-kind subisdy
A good or service the government provided to lower-income groups, such as food stamps, housing, or medical care.
interstate commerce
The buying and selling of commodities, transportation, and other commercial dealings across state lines. It includes radio, television, telephone, and telegraphic transmissions.
Interstate Commerce Act (1887)
The act that established the Interstate Commerce Commission and regulations over business operations, services, and rates of interstate carriers.
Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC)
An independent regulatory commission that regulates business operations, services, and rates of interstate carriers. The ICC was created by the Interstate Commerce Act of 1877.
issue network
A loose collection of parties interested in a policy area and affected by government policy. These interests include policy experts, industry players, interest groups, congressional committees and governement agencies.
Keynesian economics
Economic theory named after English economist John Maynard Keynes. Keynes claimed the free market would not always produce the best economic conditions and that government should try to influence the economy by increasing or cutting spending, taxes, and interest rates.
laissez-faire government
The political philosophy that states government is best when it governs least. In other words, a political system works best when there is no interference by government.
Efforts by individuals or organizations to pass, defeat, change, or influence the crafting of laws and hte decisions, policies, and actions of the government.
market economy
An economy in which buyers and sellers interact without government interference, and exchange money for goods and services.
means-tested program
Programs such as AFDC and Medicaid in which those who recieve benefits must prove a need for them.
A national health insurance program that provides medical care for the elderly, enacted in 1965 as an amendment to the Social Security Act.
military-industrial complex
An informal alliance of key decision makers within the military, government, and defense industry that tries to implement policy that's beneficial for all three. Known as an iron triangle.
monetary policy
Policy in which the government attempts to influence the economy through its control over the amount of money in circulation and the availability of credit. The Federal Reserve directs our nation's monetary policy. In order to restrict inflation the Feds will try to reduce the amount of money in circulation and raise interest rates. To avoid or get out of a recession, the Fed will increase the amount of money in circulation and decrease interest rates.
Exclusive control by one group of the means of producing or selling a commodity or service.
national debt
Total debt owed by the federal government, includign interest that has accumulated on t he debt. If revenues are more than expenditures in a year, the surplus can be used to lower the national debt. If spending is more than revenue, however that year's defecit is added to the public debt.
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
An independent regulatory commission established in 1935 by the National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act). It regulates unfair labor practices and labor-management relations, and guarantees labor's right to organize and bargain collectively through representatives of their choosing.
National School Lunch Act (1946)
An act that provided lunch for school children who couldn't afford their own.
National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act
An act that established safety standards for motor vehicles and tires. This act came into exisctence mainly through the presistent efforts of consumer advocate Ralph Nader.
non-contributory welfare
Welfare programs that don't require a contribution to recieve a benefit. Examples include AFDC and Medicaid.
Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) (1970)
A comprehensive industrial safety program that requires employers engaged in inter-state commerce to furnish a workplace free from hazards to life or death.
A plan or course of action designed to influence and determine decisions, actions, and other matters.
policy adoption
The third stage of the policy cycle, in which public officials select a specific strategy to achieve their goals. This is usually in the form of legislation, regulations, or court orders.
Policy Cycle
Stages through which policy passes, including, in order: agenda setting, policy formulation, policy adoption, policy implementation, and policy evaluation.
policy entreprenuer
An individual or group that strongly advocates a policy it believes will solve a problem or address an issue of importance.
policy evaluation
The fifth stage of the policy cycle, in which the results of the implemented policy are studied by public officials and private organizations.
policy formulation
The second stage of the policy cycle, in which government officials consider various policy proposals and attempt to respond to the concerns of interest groups and other segments of the public.
policy implementation
The fourth stage of the policy cycle, in which a law or regulation is put into effect with the goal of obtaining public complaince. Implementation takes place through a variety of government channels, such as the bureaucracy, courts, and police.
Pork barrel
Appropriation made by a legislative body providing public money for local projects not critically needed.
price fixing
The unlawful agreement betwen manufacturers or dealers to set and maintian specifiec prices on typically competing goods.
price support
A process by which government buys surplus goods from producers to keep prices stable. Most price supporty occur in the agriculture industry. Used together with production controls since 1933 to manage farm production, price supports may be in the form of an outright purchase or in the form of a loan, with the farmers stored crops serving as collateral.
Progressive Period
Movement that began after the Civil War and peaked during the early 20th century. Most progressives wanted to remove corruption and partisanship from politics. The progressives can be seen as a reaction against the Jacksonian model.
progressive tax
Any tax which the tax rates increase as the tax base (the amount subject to taxation) increases. The federal income tax is an example.
public agenda
Issues members of a political community consider worthy of public attention and governmental action. The media has a great deal of influence on the public agenda.
public debt
The debt owed by the federal government, including interest that has accumulated on the debt. If revenues are more than expenditures in a year, the surplus can be used to lower the national debt. If spending is more than revenue, however, that year's defecit is added to the public debt.
public debt financing
When the national government spends more than it brings in, and pays for the differnce by issuing US Treasury bonds, which increase the debt.
redistributive policy
Government policy designed to shift government burdens and benefits from one group to another.
regressive tax
Taxes in which rates go down as income goes up. Regressive taxes are mainly used by state and local governments, though the national government uses them to levy payroll taxes. The most common example is the sales tax, which takes a higher percentage of total income from poor people than it does from wealthier people. The opposite of a regressive tax is a progressive tax.
regulatory policy
Policy designed to regulate crtain activities, such as environmental pollution, financial transactions, and automobile safety.
safety net
A guarantee, of personal, physical, or financial security.
Sherman Anti-Trust Act (1890)
The basic federal antimonopoly law that prohibits monopolies in trade or commerce.
social security
A government program that provides economic assistance to persons faced with unemployment, disability, or age, financed by assessment of taxes on employers and employees.
Financial aid the government gives to individuals, business firms, groups, or other levels of government. Subsidies can be direct (money is given directly to the other party) or indirect, as is the case when tariffs are levied against a company's foreign competitors.
Taft-Hartley Act (Labor-Management Relations Act)
A major revision on the Wagner Act of 1935 that sought to equalize the power of employers and labor unions. It placed limitations on labor unions practices and strengthened the position of the individual worker.
US Treasury Bond
Certificat of debt issued by the US federal government. US Treasury bonds are like corporate bonds (by issuing of corporate bonds a business borrows money and agrees to pay the amount back later with interest), but the government is the one borrowing the money.
underground economy
The sector of the economy that doesn't pay taxes and isn't directly measured by the government. Also known as the subterranean or unreported economy.
Welfare Reform Act (1996)
The act that eliminated the federal AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) program and replaced it with block grants to the states so they could administer their own welfare programs as they saw fit.

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