PSC 120: Government: US, State and Local (Dr. Nicoletti): PSC 120 Assignment

Helpful research materials that can be used to complete Policy Decision Memo assignment for Dr. Nicoletti's PSC 120 course sections.

Assignment Outline

The goal is to write a no more than five-page policy decision memo. The memo should explain:


 (1) Why is this a critically important policy decision for the United States? What groups of people does this issue affect? Who are they? Why should the government be involved in this (or should they)? Be specific.


 (2) How has the issue developed over time? What has happened in the past and the present to make this issue a policy necessity? What events and processes brought this policy to the point it is now?


 (3) What are the chief policy alternatives on the agenda?


 (4) Who supports and opposes these alternatives? Do the political parties take clear stands on this issue? What interest groups support and oppose these alternatives?  How does the public feel about this choice? Be sure to use public opinion polls ifpossible.


 (5) Recommended Choice: In the final paragraph, you can indicate how this choice should be made and explain your reasoning. Be clear, logical and precise.


The Policy Decision Memo is due on December 6, 2013. Late papers will not be accepted and all points will be forfeited.

Potential Topics

Below is a list of a few topics you might choose. However it is strongly encouraged you choose a topic that interests you, and you do not need to select a topic on the list, these are simply suggestions.

Should the U.S. government impose a tax on carbon emissions to reduce climate change?
Should the U.S. force the largest banks to break up into smaller banks?
Should the U.S. government do more to increase home ownership?
Should the U.S. government allow undocumented immigrants now in the U.S. a way to become citizens?
Should Congress eliminate the ceiling on the national debt?
Should the U.S. government legalize gay marriage nationally?
Should the U.S. government ban genetically modified food?
Should the Electoral College be eliminated?
Should citizens be allowed to decide how to invest their Social Security funds?
Should the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (“Obamacare”) be repealed?
Should there be a national identity card?
Should the Social Security retirement age be raised?
Should a national law tightly regulate access to handguns?
Should tax breaks for the oil industry be eliminated?
Should the U.S. provide more subsidies for wind-powered energy?
Should medical marijuana be legalized nationally?
Should the national government set high penalties for racial profiling?
Should the U.S. government limit tuition increases at colleges and universities?
Should the No Child Left Behind Act be repealed?
Should the U.S. use military force against Iran?
Should the U.S. allow oil drilling in the Arctic NationalWildlife Refuge?
Should offshore oil drilling near U.S. coasts be banned?
Should the U.S. ban stem cell research?
Should the U.S. dramatically increase funding to combat AIDs in Africa?
Should there be a Constitutional amendment banning the death penalty?

Attribution & Syllabus Link

All information on this page was copied from:

Nicoletti, Nicholas P. PSC 120 Government: Unied States, State, and Local, Syllabus.  Missouri Southern State University, Fall 2013.

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