Nsl Final Exam Study Guide Essay

AP NSL EXAM ESSAY STUDY GUIDE 2011 1. The United States Supreme Court receives many appeals, but it hears and rules on a small percentage of cases each year. Numerous factors influence the actions of the Court, both in deciding to hear a case and in the decisions it hands down. a. Define judicial review. Judicial review is a power held in the Supreme Court to declare legislation, laws, bills, acts, and executive orders unconstitutional. b. Explain how judicial review empowers the Supreme Court within the system of checks and balances.

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Judicial review gives the Supreme Court power over the legislative and executive branch because the Court can declare something that either branch wants to do unconstitutional. c. Describe the process through which the Court grants a writ of certiorari. The court will order a lower court to send up a certain case for review. To decide if a certain case should come to the Supreme Court, 4 judges have to vote to send it up.

This is the rule of four. d. Explain how each of the following influences decisions made by individual justices deciding cases heard by the Court a.

Stare Decisis. Stare Decisis can influence judge’s decisions because they will defer to prior Supreme Court decisions and apply the precedent to their current cases and rule based on the past decisions. b. Judicial Activism. Judicial Activism influences the judges decisions because they are influenced by the needs and future of the nation so they are more likely to strike down laws and policies as unconstitutional if it affects the nation. 2. Public opinion polls are a way to link the public with elected officials.

Members of Congress often use polls to understand the views of their constituents, but they must also pay attention to other political considerations. a. Identify two characteristics of a valid, scientific, public opinion poll. There are multiple factors that you can observe to see if a poll is more likely to valid. Good polls are random samples, have a large sample size and low margin of error, unbiased wording in the questions, and a representative sample (multiple demographics) b. Explain why each of the following enhances the influence of public opinion on the voting decisions of members of Congress. 1.

Strong public opinion as expressed in polling results. The Congress men and women want to get reelected so they will try to please the public as much as they want. This can also affect the way members of congress vote because they have an obligation to represent their constituents and please them. 2. Competitive re-elections. Competitive re-elections can definitely affect an incumbent because they have a very strong desire to get reelected so they will try very hard to win public support. c. Explain why each of the following limits the influence of public opinion on the voting decisions of members of Congress. 3. Legislators’ voting records.

The members of congress do not want to be perceived as indecisive by voters and supporters so they care about what their voting records are and try to make them follow party lines as much as possible. 4. Party leadership. Congressmen will not want to loose or risk loosing party support so they want to stay the majority party in congress. 3. Nominees for the presidency of the two major parties are chosen by delegates at national conventions. How these delegates are chosen varies across states and between the political parties. a. Define each of the following methods used by states to choose delegates to party conventions. . Open primary. An open primary is a primary in which any voter can cast a ballot for any party. 2. Caucus. A caucus is a meeting of people from a political party where they all discuss and then decide on a candidate to nominate. b. Republican Party rules permit winner-take-all primaries. Describe one consequence of this rule for the Republican nomination process. A winner-take-all can have multiple consequences on the candidates. One is that it can give a major advantage to the candidates who have high name recognition because the more they win, the more points they rack up.

Another consequence is that this affects the way the candidates will spend their money and time because they want to win in as many states as possible. c. The Democratic Party has used super delegates in the presidential nominating process since 1984. Explain why the use of super delegates increases the influence of party leaders in the Democratic nomination process. Super delegates assure that the party leaders are part of the nomination process no matter which delegate they vote for. Also since super delegates are unpledged, they can vote for whoever they want as the nomination process unfolds. . Explain why a candidate’s strategy to win the nomination is often different from the strategy developed to win the general election. In a primary election the candidate is much more focused on pleasing a smaller group of people (states) so they can focus more on specific issues. In the general election the candidate has to appeal to the whole United States, so they have to sometimes be hypocritical in their statements to try and please the citizens. Also media is much different in a general election than the primaries. The candidate in under strict scrutiny once he is the party nominee. 4.

The Constitution of the United States creates a government of separate institutions that share power rather than a government that delegates power exclusively to a single branch. Frequently, this means that presidents and Congress struggle with each other. a. For each of the presidential powers below, explain one way that congressional decision-making is affected by that power. 1. Veto power. Since the president can easily veto a bill that congress sends to him/her, the veto power forces interaction between the two branches. Congress will try to negotiate and compromise to make sure that the president does not veto their legislation. . Power to issue executive orders. If the president issues an executive order, Congress has to respond in line with it. 3. Power as commander-in-chief. Congress has control of the military spending so they can approve, modify, or reject funding that the president wants. b. For each of the congressional powers below, explain one way that presidential decision-making is affected by that power. 1. Legislative oversight power. Since congress is watching the executive branch, the president will try to minimize the number of actions that might draw attention of congress. 2.

Senate advice and consent power. The president might start to use executive agreements to avoid conflict in having treaties ratified. Also, the president will weigh the benefits and costs of controversial appointments because he doesn’t want them to get rejected by Congress 3. Budgetary power. The president will consider budget items or programs that are important to the members of Congress and the president will consult with Congress members during the budget process. The president might also postpone items on the agenda if he is having a difficult time getting congressional budget approval. 010 1. Individuals often form groups in order to promote their interests. The Constitution contains several provisions that protect the rights of individuals who try to promote their interests in a representative democracy. a. Explain two provisions in the Bill of Rights that protect individuals who try to influence politics. One provision in the Bill of Rights is the freedom of speech. This enables citizens to say almost anything they want. Another if freedom of the press which allows citizens access to information, each other, and policy makers.

The right to assemble is also a provision to protect rights, this allows fellow citizens to come together and say what they want. b. Interest groups engage in a variety of activities to affect public policy. Explain how each of the following is used by interest groups to exert influence over policy. a. Grassroots mobilization. This is when interest groups organize citizens who act to influence policy makers. b. Lobbying of governmental institutions. Interest groups directly contact policymakers for the purpose of persuasion through distributing certain information. c.

Litigation. Litigation is when the interest groups try to use the courts to gain policy preferences through cases. c. Describe one specific federal governmental regulation of interest groups. One regulation of interest groups by the federal government is the disclosure of contributions or funding. This regulates them because the interest groups are more careful with their money. Disclosure laws also minimize corruption. Another regulation is limits on revolving door appointments. This limits the amount of congressmen, or employees from high sector jobs that can take jobs with nterest groups. 2. The federal bureaucracy as part of the executive branch exercises substantial independence in implementing governmental policies and programs. Most workers in the federal bureaucracy are civil-service employees who are organized under a merit system. a. Describe one key characteristic of the merit system. The merit system is the idea of hiring or promoting employees based on experience and qualifications. b. For each of the following, describe one factor that contributes to bureaucratic independence * The structure of the federal bureaucracy.

It is independent because it is very large, based on merit, and the employees are hard to fire. * The complexity of public policy problems. Helps contribute to bureaucratic independence because there are specialized units and delegated authority. Since Congress and the President can’t handle everything they delegate power to the bureaucracy. c. For each of the following, explain one Constitutional provision that it can use to check the bureaucracy. * Congress. Can use the appropriations committee to reward of punish agencies. * The Courts.

Their rulings can limit the bureaucratic practices and can declare bureaucratic actions unconstitutional. * Interest Groups. They can protest and lobby to try and influence the bureaucracy. 3. Over the last several decades, the composition of the Democratic and republican parties has changed in important ways. A major partisan shift has occurred in the South, but other demographic changes have also been identified. Changes in party composition are reflected at different rates in presidential elections than in congressional elections a.

Identify one specific trend evident in the figure above. The percentage of House seats for Democrats is going in a downward trend. Percentage of presidential electoral votes for Democrats has also trended down, in a more sporadical fashion. b. Choose two of the following and use each to explain why southern voters from 1948 to 2000 were electing Democratic candidates to Congress more frequently than choosing Democratic candidates for the presidency 1. Incumbency advantage. Even though the southerners were voting for Republican presidential candidates, they continued to support the ncumbent Democratic congressional candidates because it was clear they would win due to the incumbency advantage. 2. Gerrymandering. The change in district lines started to create safe seats and majority-minority districts, which protected Democratic seats because the majority of the districts were voting democratic. 3. Differences between state and national parties. The state parties are easier to appeal to because the congressmen could appeal to local interests whereas to appeal to the state parties, the congressmen have to be supported by the national constituents. . Several other changes in party composition have emerged in the past few decades. Select three of the following groups and for each explain how parties have changed in composition with respect to that group. 1. Catholics. Catholics have changed party composition because Catholics are becoming less reliable Democratic voters 2. Labor union members. Labor Union members are also starting to stay towards Republicans and they have decreased in number so there are fewer Democratic supporters. 3. Women.

Women have started to become more reliable Democratic voters, and have increased in number because now women can vote. 4. Social conservatives. Previously this group was nonexistent, and now they have formed to become more reliable Republican voters. 4. The framers of the Constitution created a political system based on limited government. The original Constitution and the Bill of Rights were intended to restrict the powers of the national government. Later constitutional developments also limited the powers of state governments. a. Explain how each of the following limits the powers of the national executive 1.

Federalism. Federalism divides power between national and state governments, which limits the authority of the national executive. 2. Checks and balances. The system of checks and balances can limit the power of the executive branch because the legislative branch and the judicial branch can stop certain executive decisions. The judicial branch can declare presidential acts unconstitutional. And congress approves presidential nomination and controls the budget; congress can also pass laws over the presidential veto and impeach the president. b.

Explain how each of the following two provisions in the Bill of Rights limits the powers of the national government 1. Establishment clause. The establishment clause prevents the national government from setting a national religion or taking any action that shows special treatment towards a certain religion over another. 2. Guarantee of a public trail. Requiring trails to be open to the public limits the government’s ability to violate the rights of citizens. Also since the government’s actions in court will/can be publicized, they will try not to lose approval ratings by doing certain things in a trail. . Choose one of the following and explain how it limits the power of state governments. 1. Citizenship clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The citizenship clause provides a national definition of citizenship that the states cannot violate. This limits their powers because if they want to reject a person citizenship, if the person is eligible, they cannot do that. 2. Selective incorporation. This prohibits the states from denying Bill of Rights provisions regarding freedom of expression, rights of the accused or privacy. 2009 1.

In The Federalist paper number 10, James Madison expressed concern over the possibility that both majority and minority factions would have too much power over government, and he presented ways of minimizing that danger. The United States Constitution established a democratic government but also contained several provisions that limited majority rule. Throughout the next two centuries, the role of majority rule in the United States government and politics continued to change. a. Identify the part of the national government that was originally most closely tied to citizens and explain how it was tied to citizens.

One part of the national government that was originally close to the citizens is the House of Representatives. The House was closely tied to citizens because members were more directly elected than the president and the House members represent smaller districts so they are more connected to their constituents. b. Explain two ways the United States Constitution limited majority rule. One very important way the Constitution limits majority rule os the system of checks and balances. This makes sure than none of the three branches (Legislative, executive, judicial) have too much power over another.

Longer terms for senators also helps limit the majority because even if the majority party is different than senators, if they are not having an election, they cannot be replaced. Another thing that limits majority rule is the Electoral College. Even if a presidential candidate has a majority of the votes, if they do not win enough states and gain a lot of points, they can’t win. c. Choose two of the following twentieth-century developments and explain how each moved the United States from a less democratic system to a more democratic system. 1. Primary elections.

Primary elections give more control to the public and take some power away from political parties. They make it so that the public can decide on the two candidates to compete in the presidential election. 2. The Seventeenth Amendment. The 17th amendment said that senators have to be directly elected. This gave to people more power because they had more say in elections. 3. Expansion of suffrage. The expansion of suffrage increased the amount of eligible voters and led to a more representative set of voters. 2. In the United States political system, there are several linkage institutions that can connect citizens to government.

Elections constitute one such institution. Because of low voter turnout, elections represent an imperfect method of linking citizens to heir government. Even when there is low voter turnout, however, other linkage institutions can connect citizens to government. a. Describe how each of the following in related to the likelihood of voting. 1. Age. Age can affect voter turnout in different ways. Older people are more likely to vote and voter turnout if lowest for younger people. 2. Education. People with more education are more likely to vote, and people who have a college education tend to sway liberal. b.

Identify one current government electoral requirement that decreases voter turnout. Explain how it decreases voter turnout. One electoral requirement is that you have to be 18 years old to vote. This decreases voter turnout because if minimizes the population that can vote. Also since people have to register once they turn 18, that also decreases turnout because registration can be difficult and time consuming. c. Identify one linkage institution other than elections and explain two ways it connects citizens to government. One major linkage institution that connects the citizens to the government is the use of media.

This connects the citizens to government because it conveys the views of the citizens to the government more clearly than other means of communication. It also connects people to the government because it conveys information about the government to the people. 3. In the United States Congress, the majority party exerts a substantial influence over lawmaking. However, even when one party has a numerical majority in each chamber of the United States Congress, there is no guarantee that legislation supported by that majority party will be passed by both chambers.

Rules of each chamber independently influence the likelihood that legislation will pass in that chamber; legislation passed by one chamber is not always passed by the other. a. Describe two advantages the majority party in the United States House of Representatives has in lawmaking, above and beyond the numerical advantage that that majority party enjoys in floor voting. Majority Party Advantages – sets agenda, controls rules committee, controls debate, chooses Speaker, assigns bills. b.

Describe two differences between House and Senate rules that may make it likely that legislation may pass in one chamber but not in the other. | House| Senate| Procedures/Rules| Formal| Informal| Filibuster | No| Yes| Rules Committee| Yes | No | Holds | No| Yes – doesn’t want bill to move| Germane Requirements| Yes| No| c. Explain how the differences identified in (b) can lead to the passage of a bill in one chamber but not in the other. Filibuster – even though the House may pass a bill, the Senate can kill the bill with a filibuster Holds – even though the House can pass a bill, a Senate member can delay it or stop it with a hold.

Germaneness – the Senate can add unrelated amendments (Riders) that members of the House might find objectionable and they might not pass the bill. Rules – even though the Senate may pass a bill, the House Rules Committee can delay passage of that bill in the House (putting it late in agenda or not giving it a lot of time on debate floor) 4. One of the most important ways the news media influences politics is through agenda setting. a. Define policy agenda. Policy agenda is a set of issues and problems that gets attention by people involved in policymaking. . Explain how the national news media engage in agenda setting. The national news can engage in agenda setting by getting the attention of government policymakers by raising awareness, providing information, and drawing attention to problems in the country. c. Explain the primary reason the president tends to have an advantage over Congress in gaining media attention. The president is always being watched by the media, and since he is a single person, everything he does in recorded so he has much more straight forwards access to the media.

The fact that he is one person and congress is 355 people, make it much easier for the president to gain media coverage. It is easier because he is more powerful than congress members, and the president is the national leader and congressmen represent states and districts. d. Consider the table above. 1. Describe the different in the viewing patterns of older and younger age groups. The older someone is, the more they watch the news. 2. Describe the change from 1974 to 2002 in viewing habits that exists for all age categories.

In 2002 people older and people younger viewed less TV news than they did in 1974. e. Given the information in the table, describe one implication for presidents in their use of the media to promote their political and policy objectives to the American public. Since the frequency of Americans viewing news is decreasing, the president has to take advantage of alternative media to gain public attention. The president also should purposely target older viewers when using the News because that is the primary demographic that watches News. 2008 1.

Congressional reapportionment and redistricting are conducted every 10 years. When redistricting is conducted, politicians often engage in gerrymandering. a. Define congressional reapportionment and explain one reason why it is important to states. Congressional reapportionment is when there is a national census and the seats in the House of Representatives are redistributed based on each states population. This is important to the states because as the states population changes so do their representatives. Some states lose representatives and others gain them. b.

Define congressional redistricting. Congressional redistricting is when the district lines in a state are redrawn. This happens every ten years after the national census and is important because if the people in each district are not equal, then it violated the constitution because each vote in not equal to the next. c. Explain 2 goals of politicians when they gerrymander during redistricting. Gerrymandering is popular among Congressmen because if done correctly, it can ensure that a certain person is elected. One goal is to make a district safe for a congressman to get elected.

If they draw the district lines in a way that Democrats are the majority of the population in that district, the Democratic congressmen will win that election. Another goal is to make sure that incumbents win and to protect incumbents. This protects incumbents because if the district line is drawn the same year after year, that congressman will always win. Also incumbents have the power to redraw district lines so that they win upcoming elections d. Describe two limits that the Unites States Supreme Court has placed on congressional redistricting.

One limit on congressional redistricting was made in the court case Shaw v. Reno. This case decided that redistricting using race as a factor is unconstitutional. Also the court case Wesberry v. Sanders ruled that the district lines have to be drawn so their population is approximately the same. 2. A number of factors enable presidents to exert influence over Congress in the area of domestic policy. However, presidents are also limited in their influence over domestic policymaking in Congress. a. The Constitution grants the president certain enumerated powers.

Describe two of these formal powers that enable the president to exert influence over domestic policy. One formal power of the president is the legislative veto. The president can veto any legislation, and this legislation can relate to domestic policy. Another power is the State of the Union address. The State of the Union is when the president releases his budget plans and agenda. b. Define each term and explain how each limits the president’s ability to influence domestic policymaking in Congress. 1. Mandatory spending. Mandatory spending is spending not controlled by the annual budget decisions.

This limits the presidents abilities to influence domestic policymaking because certain budgetary constrains can make it difficult for the president to accomplish policy goals. 2. Party polarization. Party polarization is increased interparty differences. This can limit the president in domestic policymaking because this can result in a lack of moderates with whom to build a coalition and opposing parties may block policy goals. 3. Lame-duck period. This is the period of time in which the president’s term is coming to an end, and the next president is known.

This limits the presidents power in domestic policymaking because his power is perceived as diminished and congress is less responsive because there are less consequences to not doing what the president wants. 3. Fiscal policy and monetary policy are two tools used by the federal government to influence the United States Economy. The executive and legislative branches share the responsibility of setting fiscal policy. The Federal Reserve Board has the primary role of setting monetary policy. a. Define fiscal policy.

Fiscal policy is the taxing and spending of the US government run by Congress and the President. b. Describe one significant way the executive branch influences fiscal policy. One very important way the executive branch influences fiscal policy is that the president proposes and presents the federal budget in his annual State of the Union address. The president also signs and can veto all legislation, some of which can relate to taxing, spending, and the general budget. c. Describe one significant way the legislative branch influences fiscal policy.

A significant way the legislative branch influences fiscal policy is that Congress has to pass the budget that the president presents. Congress also acts on legislation regarding taxing and spending. The last thing that the legislative branch does is that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) advises Congress on economic policies. d. Define monetary policy. Monetary policy is when the Fed regulates the money supply in the US, controls inflation and deflation and adjusts interest rates to help regulate the economy. e. Explain two reasons why the Federal Reserve Boards is given independence in establishing monetary policy.

Having the Fed control the money supply and establish monetary policy is important because it removes political bias from decision-making. Another reason that the Fed is given independence is that they can make economic policies efficient. Lastly, their independence is important because congress and the president can relinquish their responsibility for difficult decisions by delegating the decision to the fed. 4. “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. ” Fifteenth Amendment, 1870

Despite the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment, voter turnout among African American citizens was very low throughout the first half of the twentieth century. Over the past 50 years, civil rights policies have changed substantially, along with a significant increase in African American voter turnout. a. Explain how 2 measures taken by some states prior to the 1960s affected voter turnout among blacks. Literacy tests were a main measure that states participated in to decrease black voting. This was when everyone had to take reading and writing tests and since most blacks were uneducated, they failed it and couldn’t vote.

Another measure taken to prevent blacks from voting were poll taxes. These were a tax that had to be paid by registered voters, and the poorer people generally could not afford the tax. b. Facing discrimination at the voting booth, many blacks turned to alternative forms of political participation. Describe 2 alternative forms of participation that helped bring about changed in civil rights policies. One thing that the blacks did was they started to protest and have public rallies, this raised media attention and eventually something had to be done about the discriminated voting scenario.

Another way blacks participated in politics was organized interest groups such as the NAACP. These civil rights organizations tried to ensure equality of rights for all people. c. Choose one of the forms of participation you described in (b) and explain why it was effective in changing civil rights policies. Rallies and protests were very effective in changing civil rights policies. Once the protest and rallies got big and out of hand they started to gain media attention. Since they were receiving media, the government had no other choice but to fix the inequality in the voting world. 2007 1.

A significant feature of the Electoral College is that most states have a winner-take- all system. a. Describe the winner- take- all feature of the Electoral College. The Electoral College is only present in presidential elections, and the winner take all system only applies to states that have it. The WTA system is when one candidate wins the majority of votes in that state and gets all of the electoral votes, instead of a proportional amount of electoral votes. The candidate has to win just a fraction over 50% to win all the electoral votes so the WTA system does not always reflect the winner of the popular vote. . Explain one way in which the winner-take-all feature of the Electoral College affects how presidential candidates from the two major political parties run their campaigns. During the presidential campaigns candidates try to focus on swing states and states that give up a lot of electoral votes. A candidate wants as may votes as possible, but if they get a lot of small states, it is harder for them to accumulate the majority of electoral votes to win the election. Presidential candidates also focus on swing states because those states are unpredictable in the way in which they vote.

These are usually larger states like Michigan, Florida, Ohio, and Missouri. Candidates want to focus on these states because if they win the majority they get the electoral votes and it is unclear which way the state will vote so they need to spend much of their time and money promoting themselves in the swing states. c. Explain one way in which the winner-take-all feature of the electoral college hinders third- party candidates. 3rd party candidates are never seen as president. The WTA system is too blame for this issue in American politics. The problem is that it is nearly impossible for a third party to win the majority of any state.

This means that there is no way that a 3rd party candidate can get any electoral votes, and therefore cannot win an election. Even if a 3rd party candidate has many supporters, as seen with Ralph Nader, that is still not enough supporters to win a majority of votes in a state. Also a candidate can only participate in a debate if they have a certain amount of supporters (shown by polls) or are invited by another participating candidate. This law makes it very hard for 3rd party presidential candidates to get media attention because they very rarely have enough voter support to participate in the debate with out an invitation.

And the 2 major parties do not invite them because they don’t want to lose votes, and it would only help the 3rd party, and hurt them. d. Explain two reasons why the Electoral College has not been abolished. (1) The Electoral College has not been abolished because if we were to rely solely on direct popular vote, which would mean large urban areas could determine the outcome of the election. Since large cities would have so much power, candidates would only focus in that area and other states/ cities would not have as much impact in the election. 2) The second reason is to have a direct popular vote system, there would have to be an amendment to the constitution. This would call for 2/3rd of the Senate AND House of Reps to agree to change it and 3/4ths of the states to ratify it as well. This would not happen because the Electoral College benefits these people so they would not want to change it. 2. 3. 4. 2006 1. While interest groups and political parties each play a significant role in the United States political system, they differ in their fundamental goals. a. Identify the fundamental goal of interest groups in the political process.

The goal of interest groups is to get their ideas well know and publicized. Interest groups are less focused on winning elections and want their goals integrated into the fundamental American government b. Identify the fundamental goal of political parties in the political process. The goal of political parties differs from interest groups because political parties are more focused on winning elections. Their main goal is to win elections so that they can impact the federal government in a way that most benefits them c.

Describe two different ways by which interest groups support the fundamental goal of political parties in the political process. (1) One way that interest groups help political parties is electioneering. This is when a political interest group actively supports and donates money to a political candidate or party. This helps the party because they are getting more money and also getting more supports because the people who support the interest group are most likely to support the party as well. (2) Interest groups also support the goals of political parties by lobbying.

Lobbying is when a specialist on an issue (lobbyist) goes and talks to a politician or a legislator and tries to persuade and convince them to be on their side of the issue. This helps political parties because they can hire lobbyists to go and talk to certain legislators and people of importance and try to get them to view the policy/ issue the same way that they do. d. For one of the forms of support you described in (c), explain two different ways in which that form of support helps interest groups to achieve their fundamental goal in the political process.

One way that electioneering helps interest groups achieve their goals as well as political parties is because it creates access. When a political interest groups starts to donate a lot of money to a candidate and heavily support them, the candidate will be more willing to talk to them and they will have a higher chance of getting what they want passed and integrated into the candidates beliefs and speeches. The candidate will be more likely to talk about the group and this will also get the interest group more media attention. (2) Another reason is that the interest groups can eventually start to get legislation passed that is in their favor.

This helps them because they end up getting what they want. 2. In recent decades, entitlement programs have constituted a substantial portion of the United States federal budget. Social Security is the largest entitlement program in the US. From the information in the chart above and your knowledge of the US government and politics, perform the following tasks. a. Define entitlement program. Entitlement programs are government-sponsored programs providing guaranteed benefits to those who meet eligibility requirements. b. What is the primary source of revenue for the Social Security program?

Social security gets its revenue from many sources. One source is a tax on income. Payroll taxes are when the government takes 15% of your income to add to the social security pool. The money that is taxes is only money that is being brought in currently, retired people are not taxes. c. Identify one threat to the future of the Social Security program should the trends depicted in the chart above continue. Since the young population is smaller than the elderly, there are many programs that have developed. In the future, the government might run out of money for Social security. Also the outputs will start to exceed the inputs. . Describe one demographic trend that threatens the future of the Social Security program AND explain how it is responsible for the threat you identified in (c). One demographic trend that threatens the future of Social Security is there are older people due to the “baby boom. ” This is responsible for decreasing inputs because the number of workers who fund Social security is decreasing, but the number of eligible recipients for Social Security is rising. e. Explain how any one of the trends in the chart above would change if the age of eligibility for Social Security were raised.

If the age was raised and people were to work longer less money would be paid out and more money would be paid in to social security. The reserve of money would not decline as rapidly. 3. 4. 2005 1. The judicial branch is designed to be more independent of public opinion than are the legislature or the executive. Yet, the United States Supreme Court rarely deviates too far for too long from prevalent public opinion. a. Describe two ways in which the United States Supreme Court is insulated from public opinions. The Supreme Court is insulated from public opinion in many ways.

First they are appointed by the president and not elected. They also serve for life so they do not have to worry about pleasing the constituents to get reelected. Another reason is that their salaries are constant and cannot be reduced, so even if they upset the public it will not affect their salary. b. Explain how two factors work to keep the United States Supreme Court from deviating too far from public opinion 1. Even though the court has judicial review, they can be overruled with new laws or constitutional amendments. 2. The court justice and judges also do not want to lose credibility or ruin their reputation.

So they do not want to dis-please the public so much that their legitimacy is in question or the court is un-liked. 2. 3. 4. 2004 1. Presidents are generally thought to have advantages over Congress in conducting foreign policy because of the formal and informal powers of the presidency. a. Identify two formal constitutional powers of the President in making foreign policy. The president is commander-in-chief and has the power to commit troops. The president can appoint ambassadors and foreign officials, negotiate treaties, and receive ambassadors and other public ministers. . Identify two formal powers of Congress in making foreign policy. Congress’ powers in foreign policy are confirming ambassadors, declaring war, power of the purse in military, and they can pass laws/resolutions that regard foreign policy issues. c. Identify two informal powers of the President that contribute to the President’s advantage over Congress in conducting foreign policy. One power that gives the President an advantage is that he has more access to information, knowledge, or expertise than congress does.

The president also can issue executive agreements, which are agreements between the US government and another foreign government without approval of the senate. d. Explain how each of the informal powers identified in (c)contributes to the President’s advantage over Congress in conducting foreign policy. Having more access gives the president a clear advantage because he can make more educated decisions based on the rest of the world, and he can use the knowledge he has against congress to make them do what he wants. Executive agreements give him an advantage because they can bring an issue to light in he public eye and start to get more media. This can make Congress do something because congress members do not want to upset their constituents. 2. 3. 4. 2003 1. Presidential approval ratings fluctuate over the course of each presidential administration. a. Identify two factors that decrease presidential approval ratings, and explain why each factor has that effect. (1) Mis- steps or bad communication by the president. There is so much media coverage on them all the time that the president really has no margin of error.

Once the president has a mess-up,on or off air, it automatically becomes part of the news and the president has to try and deal with their mistakes. (2) The second reason that presidential ratings go down is because when something goes wrong, the president is the one to blame. Unlike in Senate of House of Representatives where there are any other people to put the blame on, there is only one president. This means that when the economy is bad, there is a war, unemployment rates are high, and the president gets blamed because he/she is the only one that the blame can go to.

This decreases ratings because it makes people more aware of the presidential errors and makes the electoral think that the president is always doing something wrong. b. Identify two factors that increase presidential approval ratings, and explain why each factor has that effect. (1) Crisis’ occurring around the United States is a big aspect that can increase presidential approval ratings. When a crisis happens, many people look to the government for help and reassurance, more specifically the president.

In such a catastrophe like 9/11 there is an overflow in support for the president because people want something to be done, and when he does something, he looks like a hero. (2) A stable economy can also help the presidential approval ratings rise. Since the economy is such an unstable aspect of the American government, when it is stable it is a big deal. The president will get a lot of credit for this and his approval ratings will go up. Along with having a stable economy it will also help unemployment rates go down. 2. 3. 4. 2002 . The concept divided government in the US means that 1 political party can control the executive branch while another controls the legislative. This poses problems for the President in making appointments to federal offices. a. Describe 2 problems that divided government poses for the President in making federal appointments. The biggest problem that the president will have is that there will be policy conflict and ideological conflict between the houses. Another problems is it will be harder to get approval on appointments. b.

Identify/ Explain 2 ways Presidents try to overcome the problems faces in (a). Policy/ideological conflict – solved by compromising on choices. By compromising the president will be getting what he wants and what Congress wants. Making deals and building public support can solve approval on appointments. Making deals will help the president because he can threaten to veto an upcoming bill in which Congress wants to pass. And if he has enough support behind him and the appointment is heavily supported the Congressman are going to want to obey the people they represent and do what they believe and want.

Domestic Policy Powers — Presidential| Domestic Policy Powers — Congressional| Initiates budget – submits budget to Congress on spending| Create domestic programs m| Veto Legislation| Introduce legislation| Foreign Policy Powers — President| Foreign Policy Powers — Congressional| Executive Agreements – deals with foreign leaders without Congressional approval| Declare war| Deploy troops – w/o congressional approval until Congress declares war after 60 days| Power of the Purse – can cut funding for military| Commander – in – Chief| Approve ambassadors|

Veto Legislation| | 2. 3. 4. a. Describe what the figure above demonstrates about the distribution of government benefits over time. This graph demonstrates that the in recent years the elderly proportion of spending has gone up and the children proportion of spending has gone down. These proportions are moving in opposite directions. b. Identify 2 political relevant factors that have affected the changing distribution of government benefits between children and the elderly.

There is an increase in percent of elderly people in the United States population because the baby boom babies are not starting to age, and there is a decreasing percentage of young Americans in the national population since the birth rates are declining. A second reason is that the elderly people in the US are more politically active. They vote more, are in more interest groups and attend political events at a higher rate than younger Americans. c. Explain how each of the 2 factors identified in (b) has affected the changing distribution of government benefits.

Since the percentage of population of elderly Americans has increased, they deserve a larger share of the benefits. The same is true for the younger group of the population but they receive fewer benefits. Since elderly people are more active in the political system they are receiving a larger share of government benefits. A politician’s main focus is to be the incumbent and get reelected so they are focusing more of their attention on the more active people and addressing the issues that the voting constituents want to see placed on the policy agenda.

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