Policies and Laws in the United States

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POLICIES AND LAWS IN THE UNITED STATES 1

The federal government makes policies sand passes them to the statesto carry them out. In doing so, the states are forced to put togethera workforce that can fully implement the government policies. Thestates and local governments, therefore, employ most of the workers.If the mandate of making laws and implementing them were to be passedto the state, the state employment would go up though not by asignificant percentage. The states continue employing a lot ofpeople, and they have to look for for money to implement thegovernment programs.It includes the ones that fall within theirfunding mandate. If the federal government left them to make thelaws, they would result to make laws that only fall within theirbudget, and they might restrict the amount spending on labor costs(Visual Literacy). Also, if they made the policies, they would planfor the funding received from the federal government and hence employextra workers. For example, the non-funded mandates would now be aresponsibility of the federal government. The funds received from thegovernment would be the determining factor on the number of employeesto engage. Also, the federal governments pay some of the workers inthe state to implement their mandate. Without its participation, itwould be the role of the states to accommodate these workers.

In a situation like this, the state employment is likely to go up andan observed drop in the federal activities. Some of the policiesconceived by the federal state are necessary for the citizens, andthe state government cannot overlook them. For example, the minimumdrinking age was a federal’s idea (Visual Literacy). However, evenwithout the participation of the federal government, states couldstill have found this policy necessary. Without taking part in makingpolicies, the activities of the federal government wouldsignificantly reduce as the ball fall to the courts of the variousstates.

The grants from the federal government represent an appropriatepercentage of the states` GDP and budgets. The American Recovery andReinvestment Act of 2008 ensure that the federal government invests asignificant amount of its funds to the states as a form of modernfederalism. In 2009, grants from the federal government Represented15.3% of the states’ budget (Visual Literacy). The amount wasequivalent to 3.2% of the states’ GDP (Visual Literacy). The amountis appropriate bearing in mind that majority of the policiesgoverning the states are a conception of the states’ leadership.The amount is enough to fund the non-mandated policies as well asothers that are not under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

Part B

There are several instances when the freedom of speech in the UnitedStates can be legally suppressed. The first instance involves aspeech disrupts public order or causes unnecessary alarm. Somespeeches can result in panic and a consequent loss of life or massiveinjuries as a result of people looking for the easiest way out of apublic place. Also, it can involve disrupting public order bspreading messages of propaganda that can create panic in thecommunity. For example, in the case involving Schenk v. the UnitedStates in 1919, Charles Schenck, who was the secretary of the UnitedStates Socialist Party, the politician was convicted for creatingpanic(Visual Literacy). He had distributed papers warning thecitizens to avoid falling into the trap of being drafted into theFirst World War. The Supreme Court upheld the ruling since hismessage was strong to disrupt the operations of the government.

Secondly, speech, message or an image can be legally suppressed if itbears explicit, obscene material. Obscenity, as described in the law,depicts the expression of sexual material that goes against thesocietal construed values. An image, speech or text is obscene if itinclines towards sexual interests in the judgment of an averageperson. It is also obscene if it talks about sexual function in amanner that is offensive and not for political, literal or scientificvalue. For example, in 1973, Marvin Miller, the owner of a largeadult mail order business was convicted for distributing sexualcontent. (Visual Literacy). The message and images in the materialshe distributed fulfilled the threshold for obscenity.

Although there should be no discrimination regarding the applicationof the law in speeches that have negative effects either to theindividual or the public, some of them can have far-reaching effectsad they should, therefore, have more constitutional protection. Theeffects of an ill-conceived speech should determine its protection bythe Constitution. For example, a speech that interferes with theoperations of the government should have a lot of proytection.tehrationale for this is that the government represents the interest ofthe whole country. Painting a bad image of the government throughspeech may lead to instability especially for speeches aimed atinciting the public. A good example is the propaganda spread byCharles Schenck that almost made the people believe that thegovernment had a secret plan of drafting people for the Second WorldWar. Others like speech directed to individuals may not be as graceas the ones with national interests. For example, when New York Timespublished a detracting story about Sullivan, the court did not takeit with a lot of weight it even overturned the ruling (VisualLiteracy).

There are several advantages of the free flow of uncensoredinformation. First, people get a chance to express themselves in thebest way. In doing so, they share their ideas in their mostconvenient way without fearing reproach. For example, when peoplewant to express their feelings towards another party, they can do sowithout fear of ending up in court. Secondly, it preventsself-imposed dictators from restricting people to share ideas.Dictatorial tendencies clip people freedom of expression throughspeech or images. Non-censorship clips the powers of such politicalinstitutions. When there is no censorship, one criticize anindividual or an institution. However, it also comes withdisadvantages. First, it is likely for some people to contradict themorals of society. For example, an explicit sexual material can leadto sexual immorality among children and the youth. It also becomeseasy for some people to spill propaganda and taunt others by makingtheir materials accessible to the public. Without any law to governsuch motives, it would be hard for people to discern truth from lies.On the same note, some messages may fuel a country into n internalconflict when people paint a bad picture of one race using baselessallegations. It, therefore, becomes necessary to regulate informationthat people share with others for the interest of the general public.

References

Visual Literacy.Federalism and Regulations. Retrieved fromhttp://media.pearsoncmg.com/pcp/pls_coco_2/american_government/assignments/0558594131/activities/Player/vl.federalismregulations.html

Visual Literacy.What Speech is Protected by the Constitution. Retrieved fromhttp://media.pearsoncmg.com/pcp/pls_coco_2/american_government/assignments/0558594131/activities/Player/vl.whatspeechprotectedbyconst.html

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