National Policy Matters
National public policy refers to the guidelines that the government undertakes in addressing various policy matters that concern the citizenry in the United States of America. Some of the policy matters addressed over the past two decades include globalization1, social welfare, healthcare policy and outsourcing by employers. In the American system, public policy emanates from the legislative arm of government. It is the Congress as the law makers who formulate most of the American policies. It should be appreciated that Congress does not operate in isolation in the formulation of national policy. National policy affects the citizenry as a whole. As such, most of these policies are in the interests of the citizenry. Take for instance the globalization policies. With increased globalization, the American worker is threatened by the reduction in wages thanks to the employers’ obsession with investment in cheaper markets. The American citizen has, therefore, lost some income as a consequence of outsourcing options employed by employers. The reduced wages and disposal income translates into stagnant or reducing incomes. This rubs the public in the wrong way. Consequently, the public lament against the industrial practices. Congress then reacts to the public outcry through legislation aimed at addressing the problem. It ought to be noted that national policies emanate from public opinion. While the responsibility of formulation lies with the Congress and other policy formulators, public opinion provides the motivation and necessity for the policies. Congress essentially exists to address the needs of the public.
The identification of policy problems takes different approaches. For starters, public opinion will always be conveyed through the media. The media comprise one fundamental avenue of communication of problems by the public to the policy makers. As such, the policy makers follow up on media coverage to identify policy issues. An example is the controversial Obamacare2 that has finally been passed into law and protected by the Supreme Court as legal3. Public opinion on the problem was conveyed through the media. Newspaper columns and radio talk shows were instrumental in helping legislators identify with the public needs and requirements as concerns the Act. Another approach employs the use of research studies. Organizations, institutions or individuals could be tasked to identify policy problems in a given field. They could be tasked with the study of situations and they would be expected to come up with recommendations. It is these recommendations that identify policy matters. Another method that could be employed in identifying policy matters involves the meet the people tours that various government institutions pursue. These include congressional committee tours that are intended to provide interaction of congressmen with the common citizenry who bares the effects of the policy matters.
The solution to solve public policy problems are left with the Congress and to some extent the executive. It should be appreciated that the executive is charged with the implementation of the policies, but the formulation of the policies spans from a number of institutions. This is because the policies emanate from the congress through legislation, the executive orders through the presidency and the precedents set out through the judiciary. It should be conceived, therefore, that all the three arms of government collectively determine policies. They as such contribute to the solutions that address policy matters in the United States of America.
Cochran, C. E., Mayer, L. C., Cayer, J. N., Mckenzie, M. J., & Carr, T. R. (2011). American Public Policy:An Introduction. New York: Cengage Learning.
Wilson, J. Q., Bose, M., & Diiulio, J. J. (2012). American Government:Institutions and Policies. New York: Cengage Learning.