Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Analysis And Assessment Of Baumgartner & Jones Ag Essays - AARP

Analysis And Assessment Of Baumgartner & Jones Ag Essays - AARP Analysis And Assessment Of Baumgartner & Jones Agendas And Instability In American Politics I find a certain amount of difficulty when I attempt to offer an assessment of Baumgartner and Jones work, Agendas and Instability in American Politics. The reason for this is because the book is written in such a manner that it is enormously difficult to offer a conflicting argument to the model they use to describe how issues become part of agenda, the power of interest groups, policy monopolies, how power shifts, and other issues related to the aforementioned. For this reason, I must say that I find their model to be on solid ground. The previous reading assignments in this course which where mostly based on the writings of C. Wright Mills and his protg Robert Dahl read like the thoughts of writers who were desperately trying to convince the reader that they are right. To the contrary, Baumgartner and Jones made no real attempts to sell their research and rather presented their findings and beliefs in a way that seems to say to the reader that this is the way things are. Examples of legislative activity that seem to conform to their model offered to the readers of Baumgartner and Jones are presented in a way that basically shows the reader how their model translates into real life as opposed to an offering of evidence to bolster the correctness of their assertions. The notion of policy monopolies I find to be a very believable concept when describing the formulation, definition and promotion of issues in the American political agenda. Making an issue a taboo or untouchable or dangerous to national security, thus ensuring its longevity, perhaps even immortality. This phenomenon is most visible in the issues of Medicare and Social Security. Both programs are in deep financial trouble, but anyone who advocates even the slightest bit of change in either program is immediately labeled an extremist who lacks compassion for our nations senior citizens or a radical who is trying to move our country towards socialism. I am especially fond of two principals in the Baugartner and Jones model; issue definition and changing venues. Like most of Baumgartner and Jones work, when I attempt to scrutinize it, I find a virtual impossibility in offering a competing theory. When examining issue definition, I discovered that defining or attempting to define issues (sometimes referred to as spinning) is something I have witnessed on countless occasions. In fact, when I was a novice campaign strategist and lobbyist, I engaged in this practice without knowing there was a legitimate noun for what I was doing. Baumgartner and Jones contend that interest groups, institutions, politicians, and the like attempt to define an issue in a way that serves their interests. An example of this that immediately springs to my mind was a speech delivered by President Bill Clinton in early 1993 to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) concerning the reforming of Medicare. President Clinton proposed a slowing of the rate of growth of the program to roughly twice the rate of inflation as a means of keeping the program solvent. Medicare was experiencing and continues to experience such an astronomical rate of growth that it cannot possibly remain solvent without a massive increase in taxation and/or a significant amount of borrowing from foreign nations adding to our already inconceivably monstrous national debt. Naturally, there was some skepticism about his plan as there is with every idea that would enact a change to an existing government program. Additionally, there was a heavy distrust of Clinton by the AARPs rank and file members after his tax increase on Social Security benefits. The growing concern amongst senior citizens was that the president was going to cut Medicare. In his speech to the AARP, Clinton jostled those who accused his plan of amounting to a cut by saying, Only in Washington can an increase of twice the rate of inflation be called a cut. In the end, a Democratic Congress kept the Presidents plan from ever seeing the light of day. Fast forward to early 1995, a newly seated Republican Congress began to debate a Medicare proposal that all but mirrored the Presidents 1993 proposal, with the exception that leftover surpluses would

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