PO 200 American National Government
SP 2011 HO
Office Hours M, 10-12, 1:15-2:45; T, 1:00-2:15; W, 10-12; R, 1:00-2:15 (or by appointment). I am in my office at other times and when I am, feel free to stop in and see me.
1:00 - 2:15 PM
Bardes, Shelley and Schmidt, American Government and Politics Today: The Essentials
Diana Hacker, A Pocket Style Manual.
Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore
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A survey of the functions and processes of the three branches of American national government. The changing roles of the branches and their relationship to the public will be emphasized.
This is a course about the three constitutional branches of our government. We will examine the roles of each of the branches separately and we will investigate how the process of government works as the three branches join as a system.
We will study the formal constitutional arrangements of our government as well as the informal relationships that have been created. We will also look at the bureaucratization of the three branches and what affect that has had on the process of government.
The purpose of this course is to give you an understanding of the design of our national government, how it works and why it works the way it does. We will refer to ideas discussed in the Constitutional Convention in the late 18th Century as well as contemporary issues such as the crisis in the Mideast and the 2004 presidential election. In doing so, you will have the opportunity to become a well-informed participative citizen.
Educational Philosophy: The facilitator’s educational philosophy is one of interactiveness based on lectures, readings, quizzes, dialogues, examinations, internet, videos, web sites and writings. The facilitator will engage each learner in what is referred to as disputatious learning to encourage the lively exploration of ideas, issues and contradictions.
Learning Outcomes: Core Learning Outcomes
Link to Class RubricClass Assessment:
Balancing the U.S. Budget (40% of your final course grade)
No one doubts the financial problems facing the U.S. Government, not to mention most of the state and local governments as well. The purpose of this project is to get you to see the difficulties faced by our elected officials in Washington regarding spending and taxation. You will be the source of money for the Federal Government and the recipients of its programs in the future.
The following is a basic break down of spending and revenue for national, state and local government in the United States.
(You will be sent all sites in an email to make it easier for you to link to them)
% non-gov GDP
$000 per capit
$ per capita
District of Co
Budget FY 11
Budget FY 10
Budget FY 09
Budget FY 08
Budget FY 07
Budget FY 06
Budget FY 05
GDP: $15,299.0 billion(1)
United States Federal
State and Local Government Spending
US CA >
Pop: 311.5 million
-5yr -1yr Fiscal Year 2011 in $ billion +1yr +4yr
View: people default radical census COFOG
Sickness and disability
Medical service (Seniors)
Public health services
Vendor Payments (Welfare)
Pre-primary thru secondary education
Education not definable by level
Subsidiary services to education
to display a bar of data in a row or column of this table.
Click on to display a time-series chart of data in a row.
Foreign military aid
Foreign economic aid
Family and children
Social exclusion n.e.c.
R&D Social protection
Social protection n.e.c.
R&D Public order and safety
Public order and safety n.e.c.
Executive and legislative organs, financ
General economic, commercial and labour
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunti
Fuel and energy
Mining, manufacturing and construction
R&D Economic affairs
Economic affairs n.e.c.
Waste water management
Protection of biodiversity and landscape
R&D Environmental protection
Environmental protection n.e.c.
R&D Housing and community amenities
Housing and community amenities n.e.c.
Recreational and sporting services
Broadcasting and publishing services
Religious and other community services
R&D Recreation, culture and religion
Recreation, culture and religion n.e.c.
R&D General public services
General public services n.e.c.
Transfers of a general character between
Public debt transactions
Gross Public Debt
Please note at the bottom, for the federal government, the listing for the “Federal Deficit” which stands, for the proposed 2011 budget, at $1,266,700,000. That is one trillion, two hundred sixty-six billion, seven hundred million dollars. This is the amount of money that is proposed to be spent by the federal government in 2011 that is over and above the revenue to be taken in for 2011. The chart also shows that our national debt is now over $15 trillion dollars.
Your project in this course is to balance the federal budget. Do not concern yourself with state and local budgets. Each of you individually will be responsible for preparing a balanced budget for this year as part of the course paper requirement. Each of you will also prepare a 15 minute oral/visual presentation of your proposal for the class. After each of you has developed and presented a balanced budget, we will act as a legislative body and hold a debate to try to come up with a balanced budget that a majority of the class can support (see below). One advantage you will have over our elected representatives is that you will not have the added pressures of lobbying and thinking about your constituents/re-election (although you should certainly be aware of those pressures).
You will start your decision making here:
This is an interactive site that allows you to change spending and revenue for the federal government among various programs. Working on this site will give you a feel for the task you face. Even though the figures in this site have not been completely updated, we will use them as the basis for changes you want to make. When you go to other sites to get information, keep in mind that the data from this site is the basis for decision making although you may run into other figures. They will all be close enough for our purposes.
The paper you will write has no required number of pages. That will be determined by you. The paper will include charts that compare current budget and taxing figures with your revised figures. The following are the areas within which you will work (from “Budget Hero”):
Defense and diplomacy (14 cards)
Schools and kids (10 cards)
Science and nature (21 cards)
Housing and living (9 cards)
Miscellaneous (9 cards)
Infrastructure (11 cards)
Healthcare (22 cards)
Social Security (7 cards)
Interest on the debt (0 cards). You are required to do nothing with this area.
Taxes (37 cards)
It is expected that your paper will include changes in each of these except “Interest on the debt” which is controlled by the size of the deficit and will not concern your presentation. So for each of the above 9 areas (not including “interest on the debt) you will have a chart of present spending and a chart of your spending for comparison, in gross figures.
Your paper must also include a narrative of the changes you are making, with references to the charts you prepare. Your narrative must verbally explain the changes you show in your charts. You must then go on to explain why you are making each of the changes you suggest.
A grade of 0-70 (on a 100 point scale)
If you choose to stop at this point, and you have completed all nine comparisons with charts and a narrative with reasons why, you will be awarded a grade of up to 70 on a 100 point scale, depending on how complete and how well you have presented the material.
A grade of 0-85 (on a 100 point scale)
After preparing the above charts and narrative, you can decide to do a somewhat deeper analysis and present your figures for each of the “cards” in the “Budget Hero” game. Instead of a gross figure for Defense, show how you would change spending in each of the 14 cards presented in the game for Defense. You will not have to prepare a chart for each of the cards, but a narrative must explain what you would do with each of the cards. You may have some cards for which you propose no change. That is acceptable. You will have to do the same analysis and narrative for all of the cards for all 9 of the areas. These do not have to be lengthy; however, you must provide an adequate explanation of why you are changing each card.
If you choose to stop at this point after presenting your changes on each of the cards and an explanation of why, you will be awarded a grade of up to 85 on a 100 point scale, depending on how complete and how well you have presented the material.
A grade of 0-100 (on a 100 point scale)
After preparing all of the above, you can decide to go for the gold. To achieve this, you must take two of the nine areas (your choice) plus “taxes” and fully explain the IMPACT your decisions will have for each of the cards you have changed in the two areas plus “taxes”. In a narrative you will be required to provide information on the positives and negatives that will result from your choices. Who will be helped? Who will be harmed? What are the short-term and long-term consequences? What policy changes will have to be made?
You will be awarded a grade of up to 100 on a 100 point scale, depending on how complete and how well you have presented all of the material.
Oral/Visual Presentation (10 % of your final course grade)
Over several days in class, each of you will be given 15 minutes to present your ideas to the entire class with the aid of PowerPoint or some other appropriate methodology that can be handled with the audio/visual capabilities of the classroom. You will be given no more than 15 minutes, so the amount of detail you present will be a crucial decision on your part. You must cover all 9 areas from “Budget Hero”, with how much detail up to you.
Once all presentations have been made, we will begin a deliberative process using the whole class as a decision-making body. We will go through all nine areas in order and see if any consensus can be reached on how to balance the budget. Two class periods will be set aside for these debates.
The purpose of this assignment is to allow the students to see how the diversity of opinion and interests in the United States presents both its strength and weakness in terms of public policy. It is hoped that students will come away with a much deeper understanding of the diversity of the United States, and the difficult role of governing.
Course grades will be determined on the following bases:
80-89 =B Midterm Examination 25%
70-79 =C Final Examination 25%
60-69 =D Balancing the Budget 40%
0-59 =F Presentation 10%
Late Submission of Course Materials:
Late assignments will have their grade lowered one letter for each day or part of a day they are late. Anything handed in after class on April 26, 2011except the final exam, will be counted as a zero.
Classroom Rules of Conduct:
COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND POLICIES
1. 1. Attend classes regularly. EACH unexcused absence will lower your cumulative grade by two percent (two points on a 100 point scale). There are no excused absences except in extreme cases of illness attested to by a Doctor, a family death, or special educational event approved of by Dr. Brecke ahead of time. You may regain one point for your cumulative grade by handing in a typed summary of the reading for the day(s) you miss. These summaries are due one week after the class is missed. They will not be accepted for credit after that time. If you are missing a lot of classes due to health, consider dropping the course or taking an incomplete for the course
2. Students are responsible for all material covered in class while they are absent.
3. Be prepared for class. This means that you have read the assignment and are prepared to discuss it in class. This course is a combination of lecture and discussion and you are expected to take part in the discussions. Up to as much as 20% of your final grade will be determined by your in-class participation.
4. There will be two examinations including the final. Examinations will be a combination of short answer and long essay. A few days before each of the examinations you will be given a list of terms and concepts for review. No late or early examinations will be given except in extreme cases such as illness attested to by a Doctor, or family deaths. Missing an exam, except in those extreme cases, will result in an “F” for the course.
5. A research assignment is required for this course. Details will be given on a separate handout.
6. You are required to keep abreast of current affairs. It is suggested that you take out a subscription to a daily newspaper and read it. There may be several current events quizzes.
7. Seniors in their last semester need not take the final exam if they have an “A” going into the final exam.
8. Late assignments will have their grade lowered one letter for each day or part of a day they are late. Anything handed in after class on April 26, 2011, except the final exam, will be counted as a zero.
9. Cheating or plagiarism will result in an “F” for the course and a recommendation to the Dean that you be dismissed from Park College.
10. No portable telephones or pagers are allowed in class except for security or emergency medical personnel.
11. If you have any questions or problems come and see me or email me. Emails will be answered during office hours only.
12. Any student with special needs or who has a disability in the classroom environment, please see me immediately after the first class.
13. No assignments will be accepted via email.
11 Intro to Class
13 Intro to American Government
18 Constitutional Government
20 Constitutional provisions
27 Public Opinion
1 Interest Groups and Political Parties
Chs. 7 & 8
3 Campaigns and Elections
10 Congress continued
17 President, continued
1 Review for Exam
Budget paper is due
3 Midterm exam. Bring unmarked blue books with you.
15 Student presentations
17 Student presentations
22 Student presentations
24 Student presentations
29 Student presentations
31 Class deliberations
5 Class deliberations
7 Public Policy
Ch. 14 to p. 480
12 Welfare, Immigration
21 National Security
Ch. 15 to page 522
26 War and Peace
28 New Challenges in Foreign Policy
Finish Ch. 15
May 5, 10:15, final exam. Bring unmarked blue books.
Academic Honesty:Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life. Park University students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty (www.park.edu/current or http://www.park.edu/faculty/).from Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92
Plagiarism:Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. from Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92-93
Attendance Policy:Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.
Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96
Disability Guidelines:Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .
Last Updated:1/7/2011 10:48:16 AM