public policy memo about minimum wage (w/ recommendation) for public policy class
Prompt: You are a policy advisor, tasked with writing a persuasive policy memo for a decision maker of your choosing. This decision maker can be elected (e.g.
governor) or appointed (e.g. Secretary of Health and Human Services) at the federal, state, or local level. The decision maker believes widening inequality is a
problem and is looking to address the issue through one of the following policy areas: taxes, health care, mechanisms to raise or supplement income, antitrust policy,
money in politics, macroeconomic policy, anti-discrimination legislation, or education. Please explain which policy area he/she should focus on to directly reduce
widening inequality and why.After you decide which policy area to focus on, make a specific policy proposal to the decision maker and address the following
questions:1. How does your policy proposal directly address widening inequality?2. How does your policy proposal compare to the existing (status quo) policy? 3. What
are the societal consequences of your policy proposal and the status quo?Briefly explain the mechanics of the policy (i.e. how it would work), and the benefits it
would provide. Dedicate no more than one paragraph to this. Identify the arguments that your opponents might put forward and offer responses that the decision maker
can use in promoting the policy.A complete paper must include the following:1. Problem statement: Define the problem as you see it and the solution you are proposing
(i.e. your policy proposal).2. Evidence: Present evidence on the current situation (e.g. demographic breakdown or percent of population without access to something you
think they need). Draw as much evidence or examples as you can from course materials
before looking to outside sources.3. Existing (status quo) policy: The existing policy or policies that claim to address the problem you care about.4. Your policy
proposal: Present TWO policy proposals, which might be a modification to an existing law/policy, support for an existing policy proposal, or a new policy altogether.
Make sure to describe the mechanics of your policy proposals & answer: (1) what is the intended impact of the new or modified policy, (2) who benefits and how?5.
Societal consequences: Cover the societal consequences of your policy proposal and the status quo, including winners and losers and potential unintended
consequences.6. Arguments/Counterarguments: Identify the strongest arguments your opponents might put forward and offer responses that your decision maker can use in
promoting the policy.7. Must be addressed to an actual decision-maker and be formatted as a memo (please see memo guidelines that will be added to bCourses).Paper
Guidelines Papers should be 5 pages total Double spaced Size 12 font 1-inch margins Write your name/SID/section number in pencil on the back of the last page.
Your name should NOT appear
anywhere else on the paper. Please put your student ID in header/footer on all pages. Reference readings and lectures from the course in APA, MLA, or Chicago Manual
of Style format. Your Works Cited page does not count toward your page count. Your Works Cited pages should have AT LEAST five items.
RUBRIC TO GET AN A
Multiple sources are used to draft a background narrative and to make an argument pertaining to issues of poverty and inequality. Sufficient data is used to defend the
main argument. Examples support topic sentences and fit the paragraph within which they are used. The paper demonstrates an in-depth understanding of the ideas in the
assigned reading and critically evaluates and responds to those ideas in an analytical, persuasive manner.
9-10: The paper exhibits clear organization and natural flow, with an introduction, transition sentences to connect major ideas, and a conclusion. There are few or no
grammar or spelling errors. Scholarly ideas are cited when necessary.
910: The paper demonstrates a good understanding of opposing arguments, presenting them coherently and with appropriate evidence. The student refutes these arguments
systematically and convincingly.
13-15: The argument clearly and directly explains the relationship between the chosen topic and issues of poverty and inequality and makes a strong connection to the
national economy/national or global networks. The logic of argument is clear and sophisticated and the body of the paper builds to prove the argument. The analysis is
fresh and exciting, posing new ways to think of the material. Overall, the work displays critical thinking and avoids simplistic description or s simple summary of
SAMPLE MEMO (sorry for bad formatting)
The Influence of Money in Politics
California residents believe money is too influential in elections and policy outcomes. Gradually, money in politics raises the fear that the government might
implement policies in favor of wealthy contributors, neglecting the economic problems of the low-middle class. In California, 71% of likely voters believe that state
government is pretty much run by a few big interests looking out for themselves.1 In 2010, combined labor unions spent over $90 million while corporations spent
about $27.7 million on candidate elections in California.2 The underlying idea is that, to receive donors resources, political candidates will bring more attention to
their donors problems in the legislative house in return. While donors could buy political influence, a study has shown that opinions of the bottom 90% of income
earners have statistically nonsignificant impact on public policy.3 Thus, the objective is that the State of California should regulate campaign financing in order
to reduce the corruptive influences of private contributions on elections and promote a neutral election process. I recommend the State of California to implement
matching grants at state level in order to reduce politicians reliance on private contributions and creating a fair platform for all citizens.
Solution and Alternatives
Current Policy: In 2015, the State of California required nonprofit contributors who donate more than $10,000 to political action committees to disclose the identities
of their donors, and permitted the local government to enact laws to create public financing programs.
Alternative 1: The State of California should prohibit all legislators from fundraising 100 days before the end of each session, and seven days after. Further, the
state government should prohibit elected officials from raising any form of donations or gifts from contributors for their re-elections during candidates legislative
Alternative 2: In California, the local government should allocate general funds towards a matching grant program and offer qualified candidates public subsidies that
match small contributors who donate less than $250 on a 6 to 1 ratio.
Criteria for Evaluation
Effectiveness of a policy will be measured on whether it reduces the impact of corporations and interest groups contributions to elections, and whether it enhances a
platform that represents the welfare of all citizens.
Efficiency calculates the cost effectiveness of the policy in regards to how well the benefits of the policy outweigh social and private costs.
Current Policy: The state government requires disclosure of donors and permits local governments to enacts laws to create public financing programs.
Effectiveness: Donor disclosure and public financing programs achieve the goal of increasing transparency and allowing voters to evaluate campaign messages to create
fair elections. However, private contributors can always find ways to hide their identities. The disclosure provides no informational value in learning the anodyne
names of dark money groups since these groups are opaque in revealing their true purpose4. In addition, nonprofit organizations can receive contributions in the form
of direct gifts of cash, goods, or services outside the campaign finance system; thus, such contributions are not covered by the disclosure requirement5. Overall,
disclosure has done too little to reduce the influence of private contributions and, consequently, too little to promote fair elections. For the public financing
programs, it will take public financing programs a considerable amount of time to implement. We need time to transit from a political funding system that is primarily
dependent on private funding, to one that is primarily dependent on public funding. Hence, public financing programs are not an immediately feasible solution to the
problem we need to address now.
Efficiency: Imposing disclosure requirements are costly with moderate benefits. Although disclosure is somewhat more valuable in that it informs the public whom uses
financial support to influence politics, it still raises concern over public confidences in various disclosure reports. Disclosure requires a close audit program to
ensure that reports nonprofit organizations receive are accurate. Yet, the current auditing system does not include donors who contribute less than $1,000 since the
aggregate of small contributors increase the size of the database, and significantly increase the costs of maintaining and auditing the system.6 This gives small
contributors a loophole to contribute small amount each time to avoid disclosure, thus, making the report less accurate and reducing public confidence in election
Alternative 1: California should prohibit fundraising during legislative sessions: Effectiveness: Banning fundraising during legislative sessions helps legislators
avoid the appearance of impropriety, however, this is not feasible. Prohibition wont stop private contributors from buying access to influence legislative decisions.
Legislators need money for reelections and often host donor receptions where previous donors can come to chat and discuss arrangements of future donations.7 They can
easily find loopholes to legalize their actions, since no rules forbid legislators from asking for a pledge for future donations.8 Time restrictions would only
prevent donations during legislative sessions, but private contributions would continue to be as powerful as before.
Efficiency: Prohibition of fundraising allows legislators to focus on legislating ethically without the temptation of money. However, enforcement of the rule is
difficult. The rules require all violators to pay a fine equal to that of the prohibited contribution9, but the fines usually have minuscule effects since they are
negligible compared to the millions in revenue that corporations can earn each year. Private contributors will continue using money to buy legislators to obtain their
preferred policy outcomes. So, while the idea of restricting fundraising would allow
legislators to vote more representatively, the punishments for violation are too lenient to reduce the influence of private contributors.
Alternative 2: Public financing through matching grants at the state level:
Effectiveness: Matching grants can reduce the need for private contributions and engage more diverse voters. For instance, San Franciscos matching grants program
reduces fundraising pressures on candidates so they have more time to debate issues, resulting in wider participation across income and race.10 This solution also
provides a path for candidates who do not wish to climb through the needles eye of elite donor support.11 The system is effective in reducing the influences of
private contributors and amplifying the voices of more citizens.
Efficiency: Matching funds reduce budget funds that can be used for public social services (such as education and health care), but a reduced budget can promote more
social benefits over time. In 2015, the City of San Francisco allocated $8 million in matching grants, which is less than 0.01% of the citys general fund budget.12 In
other words, the cost of matching funds is relatively small compared to the size of the overall budget. Furthermore, matching grants save state money by preventing
private contributors from using campaign cash to win themselves sweetheart deals like massive tax breaks that cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars every
year.13 The grants can lead to future savings that exceed campaign expenditures. These savings can be used to support higher education and health care that benefit
more people. Overall, government should encourage participation in matching grants since the future benefits outweigh initial budget costs. Recommendation:
Overall, all three policies have met the effectiveness and efficiency criterion by varying degrees. Upon review, the matching funds solution scored highest amongst all
three policies. Matching funds programs achieve goals to reduce the influence of private contributions and amplify diverse voices, thus creating a fair platform for
Endnotes (not copied for sake of this being an ex. and your time)
Personal note: Thank you so very much for your help! I sincerely mean that. I can provide better versions of these documents/instructions just not in this box. Feel
free to contact me anytime and I’ll do my best to pick up if I’m not in class. That is my cell phone not home number
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