Public Policy

Essay by chinookCollege, UndergraduateA+, October 2006

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The definition of policy according to Thomas Dye is "Public policy is whatever governments choose to do or not to do. Governments do many things. They regulate conflict within society; they organize society to carry on conflict with other societies; they distribute a great variety of symbolic rewards and material services to members of the society; and they extract money from society, most often in the form of taxes. Thus public policies may regulate behavior, organize bureaucracies, distribute benefits, or extract taxes or all these things at once." (Dye, 1)

The policy process is a staged system of assessing societal values, through use of multiple methods of inquiry and argument to produce and transform policy-relevant information that may be utilized in political settings to resolve problems. Policy-making is deeply influenced by the media, which tends to shape societal views. The process of policy making establishes objectives through conflict resolution making solutions to policy problems affecting a community.

However, policy responses are often influenced because of inadequate information, mediocre policy design, and bad decision-making, due to powerful media and other interest groups, and ineffective implementation. This means that the policy process is often not what the public was looking for in the first place. By improving processes such as the introduction of reforms of the system, and media control, better policy management could be made.

Better policy management was not what George Washington Plunkitt was about. Plunkitt became wealthy by practicing what he frankly called honest graft in politics. He was a cynically honest practitioner of what today is generally known as machine politics. He was patronage based and frank in his exercise of power for personal gain. Plunkitt's honest graft however, was not so honest. In one of his speeches, quoted in Plunkitt of Tammany Hall, he describes the...