Posted: September 4th, 2022
You are expected to submit a 3-5-page paper (not including the title page, abstract, and reference
page) in current APA format addressing the four separate content areas. It is strongly
recommended that you use headings and subheadings for this paper. You must include citations
1. all the required reading and presentations from the assigned module/week
2. all relevant sources from Module 1: Week 1 and Module 2: Week 2 (you MUST use the
“Biblical Principles of Government” article), and
3–5 outside sources.
This week, we focus on more specifics on these points. You will have the opportunity to read in greater detail those Biblical principles that are relevant to an understanding of government and public policy, and you will also have be introduced to the “May-Can-Should” policy analysis process. This process teaches you to first look at the moral/Biblical foundation for a policy issue before tacking the practical logistics of how to address the issue. Too often, policy makers jump past the “May” portion to focus on the “Can” and “Should” portions.
As a reference point for the Biblical worldview, keep this verse in mind, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. …” Romans 13:1-7
Synthesis Paper Assignment
The purpose of this assignment is to begin to synthesize the various worldviews with the formation of policy and governmental function, with a specific focus on the Biblical worldview. Please address all four areas in four separate sections.
Four Sections to be addressed:
1. Explain the following Biblical concepts and describe how each contribute to what the Bible says about the role of government:
0. Inalienable rights
0. Natural law
0. Institutional separation of church and state
0. Sin/crime distinction
1. Provide one specific federal policy and apply the Biblical principles from section one, explaining how they would be helpful for understanding the government’s approach to the issue. It is not necessary to use all the Biblical Principles, just those that are most applicable to the policy being discussed.
1. Provide an overview of the key enumerated powers in the Constitution relevant for what each branch of government may and may not do. Make sure to discuss all three branches of government and how they are supposed to work together to form a functional government.
1. Compare and contrast how the three basic worldviews discussed in the week 1 presentations and activities would define the role of government and other actors in policy solutions. Make sure to give a brief synopsis of the tenets of each of the worldviews.
* All required sources/presentations from Module 1: Week 1 and Module 2: Week 2 must be used, especially the “Biblical Principles of Government” article, in addition to 3–5 outside sources. The Constitution must also be cited as appropriate, especially for question 3.
You are expected to submit a 3-5-page paper (not including the title page, abstract, and reference page) in current APA format addressing the four separate content areas. It is strongly recommended that you use headings and subheadings for this paper. You must include citations from:
1. all the required reading and presentations from the assigned module/week
1. all relevant sources from Module 1: Week 1 and Module 2: Week 2 (you MUST use the “Biblical Principles of Government” article), and
3–5 outside sources.
These sources should be focused on the problem and the piece of legislation, and you may find that you need more than just 3-5 sources to adequately research and discuss these items.
1. Please feel free to use the link provided in the assignment resources for the purposes of additional research.
Note: Your assignment will be checked for originality via the Turnitin plagiarism tool.
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BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES of
Dr. Kahlib Fischer
BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENT 1
The following article seeks to provide an overview of the key ideas and themes of Scripture which
relate to the realm of government. The safest way to find Biblical principles is to avoid using just
one verse here and there which “seems” to fit, and instead to look for general principles which are
evident throughout Scripture and to apply those principles accordingly. The discussion below
illuminates major Biblical themes and then provides points of application. These general themes are:
God is the source of all truth, power, and authority
Man is sinful
Jesus Christ is the only Means of ultimate salvation
Faith in Christ cannot be coerced
Loving accountability in Christ
The above are general principles of Scripture—the major ideas that provide the basis for numerous
Church sermons every Sunday. Usually, these principles are discussed in ways such that church
goers can apply them to their own lives personally, but they also have very real and important
application to the realm of government and public policy. As you read the information below, be on
the lookout for the following key government/policy applications:
Institutional separation of Church and State
GOD IS THE SOURCE OF ALL TRUTH, POWER, & AUTHORITY.
Government must always act within the authority prescribed to it by God. God’s Law is the source
of man-made law. Emerging from the tradition of English common law and the Western Legal
Tradition in general is the notion of “natural law”; that is, an inherent standard of right reason.
Natural law is used to explain the presence of this standard of right and wrong. It most definitely
comes from a biblical perspective as legal theorists like William Blackstone explained that it co-
existed with, but was subservient to, God’s revealed law, that is, Scripture. Further, it was used in
part to justify the existence of inalienable rights.
GOVERNMENT STRUCTURE: because government is not the ultimate source of authority, it must be
limited in nature.
The main takeaway here is that justice does not originate from man-made law. Some argue
that morals should change based upon an evolving and consensual understanding of what is
right and wrong.
Adhering to ancient, fixed standards of right and wrong, the argument goes, actually furthers
repression of self-expression and freedom, and by default, tyranny. However, this
BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENT 2
perspective provides no moral basis for signifying human beings as uniquely eligible for
inalienable rights which cannot be infringed upon by the State or by society.
If the State has the final say, than justice is malleable and can and will fall prey to those who
have the most power. A sense of natural law, then, is a bulwark against such injustices
because it presupposes God’s authority and the State as subservient to that.
MADE IN GOD’S IMAGE
We are made in God’s image and thus are spiritual beings, designed to live under God’s authority.
By nature of being made in God’s image, we possess inalienable rights. Inalienable rights are
defined as those rights that are inherent to our personhood. They cannot be taken away, nor can
they be given away. Inalienable rights are defined as life, liberty, and property. These things are
supported in Scripture by virtue of being made in God’s image and by various commandments from
the Old Testament (Genesis 1:26, 9:6, the Ten Commandments) as well as the most basic
commandment affirmed in both the Old and New Testaments to love God and love others.
GOVERNMENT STRUCTURE: Government exists first and foremost to protect our inalienable
rights and ensure justice. Citizens are required to participate in the political process as a
means of limiting tyranny.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE IMPLICATIONS: criminal and police investigations must protect inalienable
rights. People must be assumed innocent until proven guilty, and undo force must be
avoided in all processes.
POLICY IMPLICATIONS: any policies which violate the inalienable rights of human beings are
unjust and should be opposed.
MAN IS SINFUL
We are also sinful because we have rejected God’s perfect ways. Sin is not just about actions that we
take, but also attitudes of the heart. Further, the Bible describes sin as an active, confounding force
that binds us in spiritual blindness and oppression. Injustice in the world derives from the presence
of sin in our lives. Thus, at their core, the world’s problems need the saving touch of Jesus Christ
first and foremost. This intervention does not remove the need for government intervention.
GOVERNMENT STRUCTURE: Because of the presence of sin, government itself must be limited. Rule by
consent, separation of powers, checks and balances, use of a Constitution, and federalism are all
means to limit the sinfulness of would be rulers.
No policy issue should ignore the spiritual component of any problem. Any rejection of the
spiritual component of problems, particularly those involving human behavior and matters
of the heart, will lead to failed policy interventions. Government cannot remove evil; only
Christ can. Thus, government, at best, can only restrain evil through the passage and
enforcement of laws and regulations. But the more laws and regulations are created, the less
BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENT 3
freedom and flexibility exists for citizens, and the more likely it is that rulers will seek to
consolidate power through new rules, whether by executive, legislative, or judicial fiat.
Government interventions in society, whether they be economic, domestic, or educational,
will have limited success because leaders and citizens alike are irrational due to the power of
sin. Even the most logical policy plans will fail because even our capacity for rational
thought is limited due to sin. Economic and domestic solutions which limit government
interventions are more apt to be successful simply because they allow for greater
involvement of more people with more freedom. Top-down, hierarchical solutions, no
matter how good the original intentions of the policy formulators, are apt to fail because
political actors, by nature of being sinful and human, will tend to use policy initiatives to
preserve their own political power.
JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONLY MEANS OF ULTIMATE SALVATION
Jesus Christ, as fully God and fully man, died on the cross for our sins. His sacrifice was the perfect
legal remedy for the problem of sin. All who put their hope in Christ by faith alone will be saved.
But faith must be arrived at freely. It cannot be coerced. All those who are saved by grace in Christ
will be also sanctified by grace in Christ.
GOVERNMENT STRUCTURE: Since faith is something that must not be coerced, Government should not
enforce religion on others or interfere with matters of conscience.
Domestic policies dealing with issues like poverty are also problematic if and when they
ignore the spiritual components of problems like poverty, such as selfishness, laziness, and
the power and destruction of addictive behaviors.
It is vital, therefore, the Church have an active and engaged role in such issues. Where the
Church abdicates, the State will overstep. Where the State oversteps, tyranny will increase.
FAITH IN CHRIST CANNOT BE COERCED
Christ was not interested in using political or military power to enforce his kingdom. What results
from the building of Christ’s kingdom is not a military or political kingdom but the Church. The
Church is redeemed through the power of Christ, in conjunction with the Holy Spirit and God’s
Word. Followers of Christ are knit together into the body of Christ, and we are called to love and
care for one another, and to be accountable to one another. This is expressed through the Biblical
idea of covenant, which involves mutual care and accountability, steadfast love, and cooperation.
Further, the Holy Spirit works in the Body of Christ to sanctify its members, and the body of Christ,
that is, the Church, is used to preach the Gospel to the world, to care for the poor, and to fight
BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENT 4
Government is not under Mosaic Law but must uphold general principles from
Scripture: Christians may wonder if we are still under Mosaic Law as found in the Old
Testament. Specifically, in the Old Testament books of Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus and
Deuteronomy, God introduces many rules and laws to the people of Israel. Christians might
wonder if these laws are still relevant today. These laws were divided into moral law
(specifically the Ten Commandments), ceremonial law (all of the rules associated with the
temple, sacrifices, etc.) and judicial law (the punishments for those who disobeyed the rules).
It can be confusing to know whether any of these laws are still relevant today. First, we
know that Jesus Christ, by being the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, replaced any need for a
temple or further sacrifices (Hebrews 9), so the ceremonial law has been removed.
Secondly, we know that he took the punishment for our sins, so the judicial component of
Mosaic Law is no longer relevant. Finally, he promised to write the moral law in our hearts,
which is to say that the spirit and essence of the Mosaic Law is still relevant today, but it is
upheld in different ways.
God works through the Church and with the power of the Holy Spirit and His Word (the
Bible) to change lives. Government cannot do this. Thus, the institutions of Church and
State are separate as a means of protecting freedom of conscience and liberty.
The covenantal nature of Scripture further suggests that power should be shared among
various “spheres” of authority throughout society: including: a) the individual, b) the family,
c) the church, d) state and local communities, e) businesses, f) non-profits, and of course, g)
the national government.
Related to the Biblical idea of covenant is the political term federalism. Federalism
describes the process and structure by which our national government shares power with the
State governments. The reason we refer to our national government as our “federal”
government is because it shares power with the State governments and recognizes the States
as sovereign entities rather than just “administrative” offices of the national government. As
you can see, the notion of sharing power with the States and respecting the autonomy of the
State governments is in keeping with the Biblical idea of covenant which seeks to empower
and respect all involved in the covenant. In fact, in Scripture, the Latin word for covenant is
fedis and there is a rich history of “federal theology” as part of the Protestant Reformation,
which certainly had an impact on the early American colonial tradition. Numerous scholars
have studied the impact of federal theology on the social and political structures in early
American life. City, state, and ultimately national government structures and constitutions
were impacted by this idea of covenant. We see federalism specifically honored in 10th
All of these spheres are accountable to one another and must not transgress the other
domains of authority. This is yet another reason that the institutions of Church and State
must be separate.
Further, these various spheres need one another. The State cannot remedy spiritual
concerns, just as the Church, for instance, cannot deal with injustices related to the violation
of inalienable rights.
The Sin/Crime distinction helps us understand the different roles of Church and State:
All crimes are sins, but not all sins are crimes.
BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENT 5
The State prosecutes and tries to prevent crimes. Crimes are only those sins that essentially
equate to a violation of inalienable rights, whether a person’s one inalienable rights (suicide,
addictive/destructive behaviors, etc.) or the inalienable rights of others.
If we understand that you and I may only use physical force to protect ourselves and others
in extreme, life threatening circumstances, we understand that the same is true of the State as
well—it can only use it’s God-given authority to prevent crimes which amount to violations
of inalienable rights.
Some may wonder whether forgiveness in Christ removes the role of the State in punishing
crime. But again, the role of the State is different from how the Church serves society. The
New Testament (Covenant) is clear that government still has a role in punishing crime.
Even Genesis 9:6, which existed well before Mosaic Law (and is therefore not bound by it)
states that government must kill murderers (capital punishment).
Meanwhile, the Church, in participation with the power of God’s Word and Spirit, seek to
address other types of sin which do not equate to crime. Matters of conscience and personal
obedience to the Lord, therefore, cannot be coerced with political or physical power.
Education policies in particular are prone to an improper fusion of Church and State
because education ultimately involves matters of the heart and therefore matters of
For a policy intervention to be successful, it is best to include a holistic, multi-sphered
solution to the problem, so that churches, families, businesses, non-profits, local and state
communities, etc. and work together.
The State cannot be viewed as the only solution to any problem such as crime. Punishing
criminals restrains evil; it does not remove it.
LOVING ACCOUNTABILITY IN CHRIST
Part of accountability in the Church is receiving loving reproof and correction. Brothers who
consistently reject Biblical admonition and truth must be removed from fellowship, lest they lead
others astray. This removal from fellowship is only done after many attempts at thoughtful
engagement and efforts help the person see the error of their way. Then and only then does
breaking of fellowship occur.
Likewise, rulers are accountable to the truths of God’s Word and to the people.
A well-designed system of government will have built-in accountability measures that allow
the people to intervene in a non-violent way should rulers, laws, agencies, etc. become
tyrannical. This again speaks to the importance of checks-and-balances, rule by consent, use
of a Constitution, etc., etc.
If rulers do not submit to these things they must be removed from office. There may be
times, however, when this is not possible because the system of government itself is so
BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENT 6
corrupt that no minor interventions will suffice. “Breaking of fellowship” in the political
context may look like resistance, peaceful rebellion, martyrdom, or war.
MAY CAN SHOULD NOTES FROM PROFESSOR
I want to visit with you for just a moment, about a 50 thousand foot overview of the process. In this case, a fuller process of policy analysis than you typically get in the modern approach. You see most of the time when we talk about policy analysis. In modern American political circles, what we really mean is what option among the available options is the best? And we almost always answer that question in a pragmatic way. We literally compare one and say, I like the outcome that better than the outcome of another set of ideas that may be employed to solve a particular problem. But what I’d like for you to do is you approach policy analysis in liberties, Public Policy program is to think of it a little more deeply because there are some other questions that are going on other than just what’s best between two or more available options. And the way you should really approach that is by asking at least a three-part question. May I do a particular thing? Can government do a particular thing? And then, and only then do you reach what it normally dominates the political discussion of whether you should do a particular thing. So you can think of it in that way, may, can, and should. Now, if you want some clarity on this, I would encourage you to take a look at a couple of Supreme Court cases where the United States Supreme Court took a long look at what they call the political question doctrine. You can look at cases like Baker v. Carr or Nixon versus the United States, where the court looks at the difference between those things that are legal questions and those things that are political questions. And that’ll go a long way to help you understand the difference between a meta-analysis and a should analysis. But let me boil it down for you again from a 50 thousand foot, very general gestalt overview. It works something like this. The Mahan now says it is asking when and from where does government get the authority to do a particular thing? Now that’s going to sound a little odd to most policy analyst because we tend to presume these days that government may do anything that government wants to do. But that’s not at all how the founders viewed government. That’s not at all how the government was approached when, when we sent the Declaration of Independence to England, or design the United States Constitution that set up the separation of powers. In Baker v car and in Nixon versus the United States. What the Supreme Court is doing is drawing that distinction between saying, when are we talking about a question of authority, usually legality, and when are we talking about a question of choices? What should somebody do? Because that’s the political question. So it works very much like this. If you’re going to approach any particular question where you’re asking what the government should do in a particular situation. The very first question that you have to answer is whether the government can and may do anything in that realm whatsoever. So the first question, if you remember from frederick boss The off you haven’t read Frederick boss the OS, the law, you should. It’s an excellent beginning point for this. Is this. Where does government get the authority to do the thing that it would like to do? Now in the United States, That’s a very particular question because we’re a nation of enumerated powers. Which means if government has the authority to do a thing, the sovereign, We, the People, granted it that authority in the Constitution. So there’s 0.1 in your May analysis. You’re asking very specifically whether the government has the authority to do a thing from where did it gain that authority? So for the United States federal government, the only place that authority could come from is the United States Constitution. But that alone doesn’t fully answer the question. Because you have to ask yourself, where did the authority of the United States Constitution come from? And we’re told, we’re not hiding the ball. It said We, the people in order to form a more perfect union. So you see that the authority that is built into the Constitution arises from the people. But that begs yet another question, where did the people get the authority? So I’d like for you to think of it very much like this. And again, if you’ll review frederick boss, the hasta la, you’ll kinda see how this works. That if you can imagine that there’s a God who holds all authority, all authority that exist belongs to the Lord God who created the universe, ex nihilo. And you can imagine that there’s a picture and that picture contains the whole universe of authority. And he pours out to man just a little bit of authority and says, Man, this is yours to govern with as you will. Now. Man then has an, has rights that God gave him. Now, in the Declaration of Independence, we refer to those as things that are, are absolutely apparent, that they are self-evident. Things like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Now the Declaration of Independence goes a step further and says that it’s for the protection of these things that governments are instituted among men. So you see that man take some of the authority that God has given him and he pours it out just a little bit. Not all the authority that man asked, but just a little bit to government. Those are what we call the enumerated powers in the United States Constitution. So then boss DR. drew, very logical conclusion. Instead, this, if you’re asking yourself whether government may do a particular thing, ask yourself this, would you be able to do that thing? Because if the people don’t have the authority to do a thing, then logically, the people could not grant the government the authority to do a particular thing. Let me show you how it works in real-world terms. Let’s say, for instance, that we’re examining an issue, one that that bossy I dealt with a lot was one that he call plunder. We would call it redistribution of wealth or something along those lines. Imagine asking yourself, government goes into a place, takes money from one group of individuals and gives to another group of individuals boss, the odds analysis for the May analysis would look something like this. It would say if you’d like to know whether government take money from one set of individuals and give it to another set of individuals, ask yourself this, can an individual, could you, if you wanted to go to your neighbor and take their money and give it to another neighbor that you liked better or that you thought deserved it more. And the question is obviously no, that would be theft. We’ll Boston AA says exactly. That’s the point. If you didn’t have the authority to do that, because God didn’t give you the authority to take from your neighbor and give to another, then you couldn’t pass that authority on to government. So the government could take from one and give to another. That same method works repeatedly in a variety of circumstances, such as life and death. Did God give you the authority to take your own life will? If not, then you couldn’t give that authority to the government for purposes of euthanasia. Did God give you the authority to take innocent life of others? If not, then you can’t give authority to the government to take the life of the unborn. It works like that repeatedly over and over again. Now, that falls into at least two categories. And you can see that from the discussion so far. One is constitutionality and the others, what the founders called the laws of nature and nature’s God. So the very beginning point is that the authority arises from the laws of nature and nature’s God. And then you must show that that authority was transferred through the constitution to the United States government only after you reach that point of saying the thing it’s constitutional and does not violate the laws of nature and nature’s God. Have you reached a point where you can decide that the government may take a particular action. That alone would keep the government out of so much trouble. And that piece of the analysis that’s generally ignored by common policy analysis. Now the next question is a little more practical than that. It’s simply one of can. If you remember when you were a child and you ask your teacher of whether you can take some time off or whether you can go to the restroom. She responded and say I don’t know, can you and what she meant was you’re asking whether you have the physical ability rather than the authority. So in the May Analysis we’re asking the question of authority and in the can analysis, we’re asking a very practical question of the possibilities that generally falls into three categories. You’re asking yourself whether it’s physically feasible. In other words, is it something that even given all the money and time in the world, can we really do it? Second, we’re talking about financial feasibility. It do we have the resources with which to carry out this plan? And then the third is political feasibility. Do we have the political will and the political capital that we’re willing to spend to bring this thing into fruition. Let’s take an absurd example. Let’s say, for example, that we all thought it was a fantastic idea to build a highway bridge to the moon. Now, there’s nothing that we can think of that would limit our authority to do that. There’s nothing in the laws of nature and nature’s God says You can’t build a highway to the moon. There’s nothing. Maybe we’ve got the political will to do it. But the fact is that financial feasibility and the spinning of the Earth and the rotation of the moon are going to keep that from happening. It’s simply not possible. Now, let’s assume that we’re talking about things that, that are possible. Financial feasibility speaks for itself. But political. Now that’s something a little different because you’re having to look at what motivates this is where you’re reading Shakespeare can help you so much in, in your planning of public policy. Because understanding what motivates policymakers will help you do a thorough job of analyzing the political feasibility. Let’s say that it’s possible physically. Let’s say that the resources are there. But then figuring out whether the votes are going to be there and the coalitions are going to be there is an entirely different job. Now, after you answer those two broad questions that you have, that the government has the authority to take a political measure and that there is the physical, financial, and political feasibility to carry it out. Only then do we reach the question that typically dominates public policy analysis. And that is the pragmatic question of between the available solutions which is the best. At that point we have reached what is, what is a very proper practical, pragmatic discussion of comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges. And saying that the results yielded by one is better than the result yielded by the other. I hope this will give you a basis for approaching policy analysis from a little more thorough of a, of an approach than we typically have. And I hope you enjoy the class.
What Governments Can Do CHAPTER 5 PAGE 154-156 Kraft, M. E., & Furlong, S. R. (2021). Public Policy: Politics, Analysis, and Alternatives (7th ed.). Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly. ISBN: 9781544374611.
So how do analysts know which alternatives to consider? As we discussed in chapter 3, the starting point is to see what governments are doing or can do. Among their options, governments can regulate, subsidize, ration, tax and spend, contract out, use market incentives, privatize, charge fees for service, educate, create public trusts, and conduct or commission research (J. Anderson 2015; Patton, Sawicki, and Clark 2016). Figure 5-2 summarizes these activities and illustrates them with examples.
If current policies are not working well enough and a change is needed, analysts might suggest modifying the present policies or trying a different policy approach or strategy. Present policies could be strengthened; for example, the federal government could raise standards and penalties for clean air or water policies or toughen regulation of Wall Street banks; or, of course, it could do the opposite. Or policymakers could fund programs at a higher level, which might permit improved research, better enforcement, and better public information campaigns; or, once more, policymakers could choose to reduce program funding, as the Trump administration sought to do with many programs it considered to be low priorities. Analysts and policymakers also consider alternatives to conventional regulatory policies, as was done for many environmental policies during the 1980s and 1990s (Mazmanian and Kraft 2009; Vig and Kraft 2019).
For some policies and agencies, policymakers might try different institutional approaches, such as a new way to organize the bureaucracy in charge. Reorganization was proposed in 2002 for the much-maligned Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), widely considered to be one of the least effective federal agencies. The George W. Bush administration endorsed a plan to replace the INS with three new agencies, one for customs and border protection, one for immigration services, and one for immigration and customs enforcement. All three agencies were incorporated into the new Department of Homeland Security. Along with agency reorganization, the present federal-state relationship, some form of which pervades most policy areas, can also be changed. For example, many policies during the 1980s and 1990s were further decentralized, giving the states greater authority to make decisions and allocate funds.
Many state and local governments are trying another interesting institutional reform option. They make routine government services available online, from providing tourist information to supplying government forms that can be filled out and filed online. The federal government is also moving in this direction and has instituted an internet portal for all federal information at USA.gov (
For many policy areas, actions are rooted in one of two views of the problem being confronted, what might be called supply and demand perspectives. If analysts believe a problem such as energy scarcity results from an insufficient supply of energy, they will likely recommend the policy alternative of increasing supply. They will consider actions to boost supplies of energy, whether from fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, and coal), nuclear energy, or alternative energy such as wind or solar power. The actions may include changes in rules that control exploration on public lands, various tax credits and incentives, and support for research that could speed up the introduction of new energy sources. The Bush administration took this position in its national energy policy proposal of 2001, much of which was approved by Congress in 2005, and the Trump administration took many of the same actions as it sought to increase production of fossil fuels. But what if the problem is too much demand for energy rather than too little supply? Policymakers may consider energy conservation and efficiency measures, such as increasing fuel economy standards for cars or providing tax credits for high-mileage hybrid or electric vehicles. The most likely scenario will be a combination of the supply and demand perspectives.
In addition to considering which policy options will work best or be more efficient or fair, policymakers must think about the philosophical and ideological aspects. Conservatives and liberals, and Republicans and Democrats, differ significantly in the kinds of policy solutions they favor. For example, Republicans in Congress were unanimous in opposing the Obama health care reform proposals that were approved in 2010 because they opposed such a far-reaching extension of the federal government’s authority and its mandate for individuals to purchase health care insurance. Many states under Republican control sued the federal government to have the act declared unconstitutional or at least substantially modified. Democrats generally favored the act.
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