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Structure of the Federal Government


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Lecture from Washington D.C. Study tour

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Structure of the Federal Government

  1. 1. The Federal GovernmentWhat is it and Why does it matter?
  2. 2. What does “government” mean to you?
  3. 3. What is government?―Government is not reason, it is not eloquence – it is force‖ ~ George WashingtonOnly institution that has the power to…• Take Property• Imprison People• Execute People
  4. 4. Our Government: A History Lesson
  5. 5. • Was this guy the first president of the United States of America?• On April 30, 1789, George Washington, standing on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York, took his oath of office as the first President of the United States.
  6. 6. Then who the heck was this guy?• Peyton Randolph• First President of the Continental Congress’ United Colonies of America• 9/08/1774- 10/22/1774
  7. 7. • The First Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia on September 5, 1774. The idea of such a meeting was advanced a year earlier by Ben Franklin, but failed to gain much support until after the Port of Boston was closed in response to the Boston Tea Party.• Twelve of the 13 colonies sent delegates. Which one did not?
  8. 8. First Continental Congress
  9. 9. • Some of the most prominent figures of the era were among the 55 delegates in attendance, including George Washington, Samuel Adams, John Adams (2nd president & cousin to Samuel), Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, John Jay and John Dickinson.
  10. 10. John Adams • Admitted to Massachusetts Bar, 1761; Elected to Massachusetts Assembly, 1770; Attended First Continental Congress, 1774-76; Signed Declaration of Independence,
  11. 11. Samuel Adams• If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.• —Samuel Adams
  12. 12. Patrick Henry• ―Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!• March 23, 1775.
  13. 13. Richard Henry Lee• His resolution "that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States," approved by the Continental Congress July 2, 1776, was the first official act of the United Colonies that set them irrevocably on the road to independence.
  14. 14. John Jay• First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States,
  15. 15. Who is this?
  16. 16. John Dickinson • Dickinson was a delegate to both Continental Congresses and created a minor furor by refusing to sign the Declaration of Independence.
  17. 17. • The United States’ Declaration of Independence was an act of the Second Continental Congress, adopted on July 4, 1776, which declared that the 13 Colonies in North America were "Free and Independent States" and that "all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved."
  18. 18. Second Continental Congress
  19. 19. • On May 10, 1775, the members of the Second Continental Congress met at the State House in Philadelphia. There were several new delegates including: John Hancock from Massachusetts, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, and Benjamin Franklin from Pennsylvania.
  20. 20. John Hancock• In 1768 his sloop Liberty was impounded by customs officials at Boston Harbor, on a charge of running contraband goods. A large group of private citizens stormed the customs post, burned the government boat, and beat the officers, causing them to seek refuge on a ship off shore. Soon afterward, Hancock abetted the Boston Tea Party.
  21. 21. • The signature of John Hancock on the Declaration of Independence is the most flamboyant and easily recognizable of all.
  22. 22. Thomas Jefferson• Secretary of state under George Washington,• Vice-president in the administration of John Adams• President of the United States from 1801 to 1809.
  23. 23. Benjamin Franklin• Statesman, scientist, inventor, publisher of the Pennsylvania Gazette, author of Poor Richards Almanac, member of the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, signer of the Declaration of Independence, first U.S. Postmaster General, American commissioner to Paris.
  24. 24. • The Declaration of Independence 4/4/1776• The U.S. Constitution 9/17/1787• Eleven years between the two.• And still 2 more years before we actually elect George Washington as president!!
  25. 25. • The United States Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787, by the Constitutional Convention and later by conventions in each state; it has since been amended twenty-seven times,• the first ten amendments being known as the Bill of Rights.
  26. 26. • The U.S. Constitution is the worlds oldest federal constitution.• The handwritten, or "engrossed", original document is on display at the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C.
  27. 27. Three Branches of Government• The Executive Branch • The President • Cabinet • Executive Office of the President• The Legislative Branch • House of Representatives • Senate• The Judicial Branch • Supreme Court
  28. 28. The Executive Branch
  30. 30. 44th President: Barack Obama
  31. 31. The Basics of the Presidency• Can be elected for up to two terms of four years each• Must be a Natural Born Citizen• 35 Years Old• Have lived in the U.S. for 14 years
  32. 32. • Can this guy be president?• If we do what?
  33. 33. The Vice President• President of the Senate • Tie-Breaker• Second in line for the Presidency• Previously the VP was distanced because if a disagreement came up then the President cannot fire the VP.
  34. 34. Vice President Joe Biden
  35. 35. Types of Presidential Power• Power to Inform -- State of the Union, Bully Pulpit• Veto Power• Appointment Power• Power to Recommend• Commander-in-Chief
  36. 36. The Effect of Appointment Poweron the Consumer• President names the heads of Regulatory Agencies.• Then must be confirmed by the Senate.• Gives the President the ability to influence regulatory policy.
  37. 37. Inherent Executive Power “The executive power shall be vested in a President” ~ U.S. Constitution• Executive Orders • Is a presidential directive that has the force of law, though it is not enacted by Congress. • Armed Services EO by Truman • Desegregation of schools EO by Eisenhower
  38. 38. Inherent Executive Power Executive Orders• Carter and concern for Consumers • 12160 - Enhancement and coordination of federal consumer programs • 12265 - Providing for enhancement and coordination of Federal consumer programs
  39. 39. Executive Privilege• EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE refers to the assertion made by the President or other executive branch officials when they refuse to give Congress, the courts, or private parties information or records which have been requested or subpoenaed, or when they order government witnesses not to testify before Congress.
  40. 40. The President’s Cabinet• Appointed by the President• The Secretary of 15 major DepartmentsAgriculture InteriorCommerce JusticeDefense LaborEducation StateEnergy TransportationHealth and Human Services TreasuryHomeland Security Veterans AffairsHousing and UrbanDevelopment White House Webpage
  41. 41. The President’s Staff The Executive Office of the President • Council of Economic Advisers • Council on Environmental Quality • Office of Administration • Office of Management and Budget • Office of National Drug Control Policy • Office of Science & Technology Policy • Presidents Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board • United States Trade Representative • White House Office1,800 Employees
  42. 42. The President’s StaffWhite House Offices• Domestic Policy Council• Homeland Security Council• National Economic Council• Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives• Office of the First Lady• Office of National AIDS Policy• Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board• USA Freedom Corps• White House Fellows Office• White House Military Office
  43. 43. White House Consumer Advisor• 1964 – Esther Peterson• Personnel in the White House worked to sustain the consumer interest through the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs• Closed in the 1990’s
  44. 44. The Bureaucracy• What does it mean? • Organization designed to perform a particular set of tasks• Red Tape• Professional Civil Servants• Two million employees
  45. 45. The Legislative Branch
  46. 46. The Legislative Branch: CongressBi-Cameral Legislature (Two-Branches) 1. House of Representatives: Lower Chamber 2. Senate: Upper Chamber
  47. 47. The House of Representatives• 435 Voting Members 256 Democrats 178 Republicans 1 Vacancy• Requirements 25 years old, lived in U.S. for 7 years and a resident of the area that they represent• Two-Year Term
  48. 48. Congressional Leaders:House of RepresentativesSpeaker of the House • Nancy Pelosi (CA)Majority Leader • Steny Hoyer (MD)Majority Whip • James Clyburn (SC)Minority Leader • John Boehner (OH)Minority Whip • Eric Cantor (VA)
  49. 49. Your Representative• Each District has about 650,000 people based on the census• Districts are redrawn every 10 years
  50. 50. What Does YOUR Representativedo for YOU?• The interests of your district• Serves on committees• Speaks on the floor of the House• Tries to get money back to the district• Raises money to get re-elected• Assist constituents with Gov’t agencies • District Offices
  51. 51. The Senate• Two Senators per State, Currently: • 57 Democrats • 2 Independents • 40 Republicans • One race not yet called (minnesota)
  52. 52. The Senate• Serve Six-Year Term• One-third of the Senate up for re-election every two years• Must be 30 Years Old, Citizen for 9 years, inhabitant of the state they represent• Sixteen Standing Committees
  53. 53. Congressional Leaders:SenatePresident of the • Joe Biden SenatePresident Pro Tem • Robert Byrd(WV)Majority Leader • Harry Reid (NV)Majority Whip • Richard Durbin (IL)Minority Leader • Mitch McConnell (KY)Minority Whip • John Kyl (AZ)
  54. 54. Congressional Power:From the Constitution• Declare War• Raise and support armies• Lay and Collect Taxes• Ratify Treaties• Borrow Money• Regulate Interstate Commerce• Coin Money• Establish Post Offices• Issue Patents and Copyrights
  55. 55. Let’s look at that “borrow money” a little closer…• 0/03/us-bail.html
  56. 56. Congressional Investigation• Agency Oversight• Confirmation Hearings• Investigative Hearings • Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act 2000 (TREAD)
  57. 57. The Judicial Branch
  58. 58. The Supreme Court• Nine Justices: Associates and 1 Chief• Appointed for Life• Appointed by the President and Confirmed by the Senate
  59. 59. The Justices• John Roberts, Chief • Clarence Thomas• John Paul Stevens • Ruth Bader Ginsberg• Antonin Scalia • Steven Breyer• Anthony Kennedy • Samuel Alito• David Souter
  60. 60. The Appointment Process• President nominates someone• Lots of Media Scrutiny• Senate holds confirmation hearings • Trying to understand what this person will be like as a justice• Senate votes: Need majority approval
  61. 61. Who is this woman?
  62. 62. The Power of the Supreme Court• Judicial Review: The power of the court to declare laws made by Congress and State Legislatures null and void if they are in violation of the Constitution• Base their decisions on • The Constitution • Precedence: Decisions in Previous Cases
  63. 63. Way of Interpreting the Constitution• Original Intent What the founding fathers meant when they wrote the constitution• Living Constitution Theory Consider the Constitution in light of the total history of the U.S.• Plain Meaning of the Text Examines laws in light of what the words of the Constitution say
  64. 64. Other Thoughts on the Supreme Court…• Justices appointed for life or until they choose to retire – good or bad thing?• In class……What makes a good Justice?
  65. 65. More thoughts onthe Federal Government
  66. 66. Separation of Powers• Definition: A system of government in which different institutions exercise different components of governmental power• Checks and Balances: system put in place by the founders that gives each branch the power to block the actions of others
  67. 67. Congressional Checks onPresidential PowerPresidential Power Congressional CheckMake Treaties Ratify by 2/3 SenateAppoint Judges Senate must confirmCommander-in-Chief Congress declares warVeto Legislation 2/3 vote to overrideExecute Laws Enacted by Congress
  68. 68. Who checks Congress and theSupreme Court?CONGRESS• Judicial Review!• The PublicSUPREME COURT• Senate when they vote on Justices
  69. 69. Federalism and Dual Sovereignty• Big words that mean both the state and federal government have power within their own sphere Federal Legislature State LegislatureTax TaxRegulate Interstate Regulate IntrastateCommerce CommerceDeclare War EducationCoin Money Maintain Parks, Prisons Manage programs (Medicaid)
  70. 70. So… Why does all this matter to me?
  71. 71. Your Day and How the FederalGovernment affects it….• Your alarm clock• The lights in your room• How you know what to wear• What you eat• Roads you drive on• Worker protections• What you can download on your iPod• Mailing letters and bills• How many telemarketers call your house• The pillow and mattress you sleep on
  72. 72. The Uhl ModelAdopted from: Uhl, J. (1971). Consumer Education and protection:A synergistic relationship.
  73. 73. Public Policy/Regulation• Why do we need regulations? • To prevent undesirable actions • Markets may not workless than perfect competition • Monopolies • Externalities • Consumers lack information on important matters • Adverse consequences on health/safety • Adverse consequences on financial well-being
  74. 74. Why is this study tour important?• It puts us in the mix of the Uhl Model.• We are learning about consumer welfare by going to the place where public policy occurs!