Study Guide for Unit 5:

Public Policy


Chapter 14: The Congress, The President, and the Budget: The Politics of Taxing and Spending


Questions you should be able to answer:

1.       Why is government so big? What are the political implications of big government and who benefits from it?

2.    What are the principal sources of revenue for the federal government? What public policy problems or issues do taxation and government borrowing raise?

3.    What are the principal categories of government expenditures? What are the reasons for the increasing expenditures for Social Security?

4.     What is incrementalism? How do uncontrollable expenditures contribute to incremental budget-making?

5.    Who are the players in budgetary politics? What stake do they have in the budget process, and what roles do they play?

6.    Compare the role of the president and the role of Congress in the budgetary process. Where does their authority in the process come from?

7.     Explain how the budgetary process has been reformed. How successful have the reforms been? Why is it so difficult to reform the budgetary process?


Terms you should be able to identify & describe:

Budget                             deficit

expenditures                        revenues

income tax                         16th Amendment

federal debt                              tax expenditures

Social Security Act                 Medicare

entitlements                        Congressional Budget Office

authorization bill                   appropriations bill

continuing resolution               budget resolution

Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974





Chapter 17: Economic Policymaking


Questions you should be able to answer:

1.       How are politics and economics related?

2.    What are the principle instruments available to policymakers for controlling the economy? Compare monetarism, Keynesian economic theory, and supply-side economics.

3.    What policies has government used to try to control American business? Has the government been successful?

4.     How has government policy toward labor changed in the last century? What public policies have emerged to protect workers?


Terms you should be able to identify & describe:

Capitalism                         mixed economy

inflation                            laissez-faire

monetary policy                    monetarism

Federal Reserve System            fiscal policy

Keynesian economics              supply-side economics

antitrust policy                     collective bargaining

Taft-Hartley Act                    right-to-work laws

National Labor Relations Act

Securities and Exchange Commission



Chapter 18: Social Welfare Policymaking


Questions you should be able to answer:

1.       Explain the nature of the distribution of income and wealth in the United States.

2.    How does public policy affect the distribution of income in the U.S.?

3.    What are the different types of social welfare programs in the U.S. and how do they compare to social welfare programs in other countries?

4.     How have social welfare programs evolved in the U.S.? In particular, compare the New Deal legislation and Great Society legislation with President Reagan’s policies.

5.    What are the major problems facing social welfare programs today?

6.    Describe the debate concerning the causes of poverty and whether social welfare policies really work.

Terms you should be able to identify & describe:

social welfare policies              entitlement programs

means-tested programs                  poverty line

feminization of poverty             progressive tax

proportional tax                    regressive tax

Earned Income Tax Credit         transfer payments

Social Security Act of 1935       Social Security Trust Fund

Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)

Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act



Chapter 19: Health Care & Environmental Policymaking


Questions you should be able to answer:

1.       How has the American government been involved in the public’s health? What factors tend to influence policymaking for health care?

2.    Describe and evaluate American environmental policy. What are the biggest obstacles to a clean environment?

3.    Describe the American energy profile. What resources do we have? What resources do we use? What political and policy issues are involved with each energy resource?


Terms you should be able to identify & describe:

Health maintenance organizations (HMOs)

Patients’ bill of rights              national health insurance

Medicare                           Medicaid

National Environmental Policy           Superfund

environmental impact statement

Clean Air Act of 1970            

Water Pollution Control Act of 1972

Endangered Species Act of 1973

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)



Chapter 20: National Security Policymaking


Questions you should be able to answer:

1.       Who are the actors on the world’s foreign policy stage? Who makes foreign policy in the United States?

2.    What was the Cold War, and why did it emerge from isolationism? What were its consequences at home and abroad?

3.    Compare the politics and policy of the Cold War to the politics and policy of détente. Be sure to include a discussion of the containment doctrine and the arms talks in your answer.

4.     How did the Cold War end? What consequences does the end of the cold war have on American foreign and defense policymaking?

5.    What are the politics of military spending? How do liberals and conservatives differ in regard to their view of defense spending?

6.    Describe the changing policy arenas of the new global agenda.

7.     In what ways is American foreign and defense policymaking a democratic process and in what ways is it not?


Terms you should be able to identify & describe:

foreign policy                       United Nations

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

European Union (EU)               secretary of state

secretary of defense                Joint Chiefs of Staff

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)   isolationism

containment doctrine               Cold War

McCarthyism                       arms race

détente                             Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI)

interdependency                    tariff

balance of trade                  

Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)