Q1: The chief executive of the country, or President, holds the highest office. He cannot make laws but he participates in the legislation process. Although he is the head of state, I agree that the chief executive cannot take for granted that the legislative body, which is Congress, would follow his will on any subject. The President has to use all of his willpower, his charisma, and every advantages available to him to influence the outcome of the legislation process. The constitution made sure that the chief executive won’t have absolute power to avoid dictatorship. There are even times that Congress would overturn the President’s veto on a particular law.
As an example, the current administration of President Bush has always been in favor of attacking countries that pose a threat to the United States, particularly those countries that are identified as havens for terrorists. President Bush obtained Congress’ approval on attacking Iraq and Afghanistan because of what happened in 9/11. Congress agreed with the President to redress a wrong-doing and because a successful conclusion to the war was imminent. Years later, the victory in Iraq was indecisive. Despite the President’s persuasion for the troops to stay in Iraq, Congress held out and the chief executive has to concede to the decision that the troops should be pulled out.
Q2: If I have to end the state’s monopoly on liquor sales, my strategy is to engage in massive lobbying efforts employing the best lobbyists in every state. The CEO said money is not a problem, so, it means that advertising and marketing strategies can also be used to slowly influence the mind of the voters. Hard liquors, like tequila, are popular drinks in bars. The campaign should first target those people who owns bars and their patrons. Whether or not this strategy would work out remains on how effective the lobbyists are in influencing the right people. The lobbyists I would need are those who would be good in promoting the benefits of privatization of hard liquor, particularly to the state’s coffers. The country is in an economic crisis and many states are hard-pressed to meet many programs. With the promise of big tax revenues from the privatization, state officials would find ways to relinquish control over hard liquor sales. They would find a way to change the law without needing a 60% acceptance from the public.
Calling to mind the reasons why the Prohibition was approved, and why hard liquor sale is regulated by the government agency, I would be reminded of the evils of unregulated alcohol selling. In this regard, my personal recommendation is not to allow private businesses to sell hard liquors. Giving up control on hard liquor could mean a return of the era wherein alcohol consumption caused many of society’s ills. There are too many crimes as it is, and unregulated alcohol manufacturing and selling could worsen the current situation.
Q3: The elements of a bureaucracy are:
– statutes legalizing the agency’s existence, as well as how it is structured, the type of activities it is in charge with, and the budgets for the agency’s operation;
– determination of what legislative committee is to oversee an agency and what sector of society will the services be delivered to;
– discretionary power;
– resources, how big the agency should be and how will the organization be structured;
– maintaining a close relationship with the legislative body for its continued existence and survival; and
– the presence of skillful leadership and knowledgeable employees.
The strength of a bureaucracy lies in its being outside of the limelight in the political arena. An administrative agency has more influence in policymaking when it is not being closely watched. The weakness of a bureaucracy is on its single-mindedness of purpose. If it is created for a particular sector, like the National Labor Relations Board for the labor sector, the agency cannot accommodate other requests from the public. While is this a weakness, it is also a bureaucracy’s strength. By focusing on one aspect of society, an agency can better serve the needs of that sector. Another weakness of the bureaucracy is its tendency to respond more promptly to queries from legislators compared to its response to a query from the public. Since an agency is dependent on Congress, it needs to be liked by the members of Congress.
The criticisms against a bureaucracy are centered on two things. First, an administrative agency’s accountability for failures is comparatively less compared to private businesses. Second, a bureaucracy’s performance is difficult to gauge because it provides services and creates policies. It cannot be measured based on quantifiable metrics.
In my opinion, the main benefit of having administrative agencies is the focus it could give to the community in terms of services. For instance, a bureaucracy is needed to manage the country’s health care. Without a particular administrative agency for health care, people could wait weeks and months before receiving medical service. In terms of challenges, a bureaucracy’s main challenge is how to become independent from the influence of legislators. It has to find balance with regards to its dealings with the public and the legislative body.
Q4: Federalism is a form of governance wherein the power to govern the nation is not centralized. In the United States, the federal government does not control how states should implement and interpret many laws. They are independent from the federal government’s interference in many aspects, like utility regulation, zoning, divorce, and many others. In other words, each state is empowered to a certain degree. The federal government do not interfere with state matters unless it has reason to. When the federal government needs bigger state control, it often provides grants-in-aid to obtain some concessions from the states. Or conversely, the federal government can decrease federal aid to the states. Like in the case of the Medicaid system, the current administration is proposing a cut on its contribution to the program.
Federalism is effective in giving each state the decision on how to govern itself based on its people’s needs. Federalism could also be bad when there would be an absence of cooperation among states and between the federal government and the states.
Q5: The current high rate of divorce can be attributed to the lack of difficulty in obtaining one since law made it easy for married couples to separate legally and sever the ties of marriage. This is one area where I would work on so that couples can’t just divorce one another to the detriment of their children. In order to tighten the law, I would first seek the aid of the church, the local politicians and engage the community in a discussion of my proposal.
Before going to these people I would already be ready with my own modifications so that we have something concrete to work on. I would present to these people my proposal that I would call the divorce test. The couple should pass this test before any court would accept their filing. The revised divorce law would require the couple to undergo marriage counseling at least twice before they can pass the divorce test. Like in bankruptcy, divorce should be the last resort for couples to take. I would expect some quarters to argue but instead of debating endlessly, I would ask them to present one of their own proposal. So long as everyone keeps to the objective of keeping families together, a revision could be arrived at that would be fair and equitable to everyone.