Why do you think more citizens do not become more involved in public policy input and formulation?

Why do you think more citizens do not become more involved in public policy input and formulation? List at least two ideas that would motivate more citizens to become involved.

ANSWER THE ABOVE DISCUSSION AND THEN REPLY TO MY CLASSMATE RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE QUESTIONS AND EXPLAIN WHY YOU AGREE? (A MINIMUM OF 150 WORDS EACH)

                                                         CLASSMATE’S POST

There are two main reasons citizens do not become involved in public policy and formulation.  First, it is a messy process and one that there are often no easy answers.  For instance, a referendum for building a new library may increase availability to books and programs for youth, but also may cost taxpayers thousands of dollars a year for a small benefit.  These decisions, regardless of which side a public administrator is on, are bound to result in one group that is not happy.  If the library is passed, the taxpayers will be angry about the increased taxes.  If it is not passed, the library group and those in favor of increased literacy services will not be happy.  Many citizens see this as a lose-lose situation and avoid it altogether.

The second reason is people tend to not care about politics until it directly affects them.  Given the library example above, if a citizens taxes were to be increased significantly, they may lobby against the library and be more involved.  If the citizens’ taxes were not going to be raised significantly, they may be indifferent to the decision and not be involved.  This is apparent with school bond issues.  In Michigan, those with homestead taxes do not pay school operating taxes, meaning there are very few people that get involved in school bond proposals.  Businesses bear the weight of the school operating taxes, and business owners are very involved in school bond proposals, because these taxes impact the business owners the most.

My first idea to get people more involved is to provide an anonymous means for the citizens to provide their input.  This could be an online submission platform or a postcard survey where people respond anonymously.  This will solicit honest input from citizens and remove the fear they may have for voicing their opinion.  

My second idea to get people involved is to demonstrate to them how almost every decision impacts their daily lives.  The school bond proposal above is a good example.  The tax portion may only impact business owners, but the new schools will help draw people to the area, which will help build business demand.  The increased taxes, if too high, will drive businesses away.  This all impacts the regular citizen and should be considered.  

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