Every country is conditioned to have sets of laws or rules and regulations for their people to follow. Normally, it is called the constitution which is denoted as a system that is tabulated in a written document with the rules and regulations of the administered organization. However, it becomes specific when it comes to a country’s constitution because it is more focused on political principles and the procedures, powers, and important duties of a government.
It deals with the relationship of each state to its government, the three branches of the government namely the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial, and lastly the rights of every individual. This kind of constitution usually deals with the kind of Constitution the United States of America has. Their first governing constitution was the Articles of Confederation yet it was replaced by the United States Constitution by a group of federalist who felt that their previous constitution lacked fundamental provisions for a sufficient government.
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So the constitutional basis was transformed from confederation to federation. There is one power that dominates each constitution, making law for the common good. However, the amendment of the constitution that took place was not that simple due to the factors that affect it. Therefore through conducting this research paper, the group would provide information to the people about the lawmaking process in the United States and the factors that affect it specifically special interest groups.
Three factors affecting the policy making process in the U. S. Policymakers/ politicians Policymakers usually focus on the short term and on procedures that has concrete outcomes. It means that their focal point is to come up with the simplest results. Also, they were concerned in the factual rather than the conceptual. Based on some interviews, policymakers understand that conditions will still be favorable for an action or choice even if there is a deficient understanding or studies about a certain issue.
Policymakers are well-prepared and able to interpret and combine thoughts from various sources and move ahead through “acts of faith. ” Scientific Basis/ Theories If policymakers focus on short term, according to some scientists, scientific basis/ theories focus in the long term, they put back actions until information are gained already. Also, scientific basis identify the nature and the extent of uncertainty. They were taught to be conservative and to doubt conclusions until data and study bear them and they appreciate the complexities of their understanding.
Funds Fund affects the policy making process. We need research for us to create a policy but in this research, we need funds to pay for the people who will make this study and as well as the information. Another instance is the business groups. They are the one who fund if ever the policy that they are supported will be implemented. As a federal, republican and democratic state, the United States of America has been proud of hailing to the world the every single American has a voice and the heart to serve and see for America.
It has also hailed that the people are free to speak for the benefit of the nation, including pushing for laws and ordinances. This has been the common notion but modern political economists would argue. Political economists like Olson (1965), Stigler (1971), Peltzman (1976), and Becker (1983) argue that small but powerful interest groups control the legislature being passed. So what are special interest groups? According to Elizabeth Gerber (1999) in her book “The Populist Paradox”, special interest groups are often the few wealthy individuals that have the power to influence legislation to safeguard their interests.
However, upon looking into the history of United States legislature, companies and social groups have seen political defeats from common voters who had the effort to gather support. Even though the lawmaker is supposed to represent the common interests of the people, it is still evident that there is an existing tag between median voters and the small but wealthy interest groups. In Gerber’s observation, interest groups have been successful in blocking initiatives in new laws while median voters have been advocating most of the new laws the United States has.
These different scopes of influences have put a status quo on lawmaking. In recent stances like pork barrel, politicians with backgrounds from either of these groups do contribute to the process of lawmaking. In the recent study of the National Center for Public Policy Research (2007), lawmakers would often enact laws that would funnel interest to only the few members of their district like the recent controversy in the “American Heritage Act” passed by Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona.
In this case, the legislation was blocked by a citizen’s group with the political arm to inform taxpayers of the possible losses to federal funds. However, the Stigler ??? Peltzman Interest Group model shows that interest groups do have the upper hand when median voters are disinterested with state affairs. This case has been proved by the continuous blocking of American companies in the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol despite the environmentalist campaign. Stigler ??? Peltzman Model proves that a lawmaker’s stand in legislation depends on who has the upper hand.
Disinterested median voters means more power to the special interest groups while stronger corporate efforts from the median voters create a checking power against these groups. Let us take for example the recent California law passed allowing same ??? sex marriages. The interest group in the issue are the gays and lesbians in the state of California which was able to push for the enactment of the law. A few months later however, voters summoned to convince the Supreme Court to release a temporary restraining order repealing the law.
In this situation, common corporate goals of the median voters were able to influence the outcome of the law. In the economic perspective, economists argue that interest groups are strongest in the economically ??? related legislations but political analysts like Becker (1983) argue that it is not the case. In the Director’s Law Model, special interest groups like companies and corporations pose an easy target by the general public or the median voters in order to claim a portion of the federal resources and wealth.
There exist an asymmetric power balance between the interest groups and the median voters. Lawmakers are more likely to support the interests of the voters than of the interest groups because of their political power in a democracy. However, interest groups often tap not among themselves but on the voters in convincing them of what laws to ratify. It is important to note that a lawmaker solely relies on the “sustaining power” of the median voters in order to remain in office but is not totally disconnected to the interest groups.
What happens often is that the lawmaker would often adjust to the needs of both parties in order to generate a law the would be beneficial to both the median voters and the special interest groups. In the political make ??? up, median voters has the power to sustain the lawmaker in office but the interest groups provide the lift in his projects and platforms in office. In either ways, lawmakers would strike a bargain with both sides in order to pursue a fool ??? proof legislation. Chapter 13 “Group Politics” all found in page 277 Focus on… Interest groups: for and against
Arguments in favor of interest groups include the following: ??? They strengthen representation by articulating interests and advancing views that are ignored by political parties, and by providing a means of influencing government between elections. ??? They promote debate and discussion, thus creating a better-informed and more educated electorate, and improving the quality of public policy. ??? They broaden the scope of political participation, both by providing an alternative to conventional party politics and by offering opportunities for grass roots activism. They check government power and, in the process, defend liberty by ensuring that the state is balanced against a vigorous and healthy civil society. ??? They help to maintain political stability by providing a channel of communication between government and the people bringing outputs into the line with inputs. Arguments against interest groups include the following: ??? They entrench political inequality by strengthening the voice of the wealthy and privileged, those who have access to financial, educational, organizational or other resources. They are socially and politically divisive, in that they are concerned with the particular not the general, and advance minority interests against those of society as a whole. ??? They exercise non-legitimate power, in that their leaders, unlike politicians are not publicly accountable and their influence bypasses the representative process. ??? They tend to make the policy process closed and more secretive by exerting influence through negotiations and deals that are in no way subject to public scrutiny. They make societies ungovernable, in that they create an array of vested interests that are not able to block government initiatives and make policy unworkable. Chapter 13: Summary Page 286-287 ??? An interest or pressure group is an organized association that aims to influence the policies or actions of government. Sectional groups advance or protect the (usually material) interests of their members, while promotional ones are concerned with shared values, ideals or principles. Whereas insider groups enjoy privileged access to policy formulation, outsider groups lack access to government and so are forced to go public. Group politics has been understood in a number of ways. Pluralism emphasizes the dispersal of power and the ability of groups to guarantee democratic accountability. Corporatism highlights the privileged position that certain groups enjoy in relation to government. The New Right draws attention to the threat that groups pose in terms of over-government and economic inefficiency. ??? Organized groups benefit the political system by strengthening representation, promoting debate and discussion, broadening political participation, and acting as a check on government power.
They may nevertheless pose a threat in that they entrench political inequality, are socially and politically divisive, exercise non-legitimate and unaccountable power, and make the policy more closed and secretive. ??? Interest groups exert influence through a variety of channels, including the bureaucracy, the assembly, the courts, the mass media, and the parties and international to how accommodating that system is to group activity in general, and to what access points it offers groups in terms of distribution of policy-making powers. Interest groups have at their disposal a wide range of tactics and political strategies. Their resources may include public sympathy for the group and its goals, the size of its membership or activist base, its financial strength and organizational capabilities, its ability to use sanctions against government, and its personal or institutional links with political parties or government bodies. ??? A social movement is a collective body in which there is high level of commitment and political activism not necessarily based on a formal organization.
New social movements are distinguished by their capacity to attract the young, better educated and relatively affluent, their generally post material orientation, and their commitment to new forms of political activism, sometimes called the ‘new politics’. My part: SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS According to the book of Politics by Andrew Heywood, special interests groups have a wide range of impacts in the world of politics. They can contribute however positive and negative effects to the world of politics.
With regards to their positive impacts, Andrew Heywood mentions the following; “Organized groups benefit the political system by strengthening representation, promoting debate and discussion, broadening political participation, and acting as a check on government power. They may nevertheless pose a threat in that they entrench political inequality, are socially and politically divisive, exercise non-legitimate and unaccountable power, and make the policy more closed and secretive. P. 87” (Heywood, A. 2002) “Interest groups exert influence through a variety of channels, including the bureaucracy, the assembly, the courts, the mass media, and the parties and international to how accommodating that system is to group activity in general, and to what access points it offers groups in terms of distribution of policy-making powers. P. 287″ (Heywood, A. 2002) In addition, the negative impacts that they pose on the lawmakers and their decision making are the following. Interest groups have at their disposal a wide range of tactics and political strategies. Their resources may include public sympathy for the group and its goals, the size of its membership or activist base, its financial strength and organizational capabilities, its ability to use sanctions against government, and its personal or institutional links with political parties or government bodies. P. 287” (Heywood, A. 2002)
Special interests groups serve themselves depending upon the level of commitment they exert themselves. Keep also in mind that they are individuals who are able to find a common interest with other individuals which they will pursue. This makes their group either a very stable and hence very organized which in fact enables them to encourage quite a number of supporters which will now serve as a pressure group for the government, either their lawmakers that could influence the outcome of decisions.
They are good in that sense, serving as a watchdog, barking, howling; scratching in other words getting attention of the mass if needed for a better change in society which individual citizens exist. The negative connotation however, is that when they pursue their commitment to the next level, especially when they are only pursuing the good of the few, which is not entirely good for the majority. In addition, they are according to Heywood, when these special interest groups use one of their divisive tactics and promote non-legitimate powers into influencing their leaders.
In a sort of peer pressured manner their leaders are not accountable for their actions. Meaning to say, when they had made bad decisions they are not the one going to be blamed, nor are they going to suffer from it. It is only when they pressure lawmakers to make a decision based on their interests that is not directly for the common good of the public really makes them dangerous. Works Cited: Heywood, A (2002). Chapter 13 Groups, Interests and Movements. (2nd ed. ) Politic(269-287). New York: Palgrave