Environmental, Immigration, and Social Welfare Policy: An Analysis of Various Approaches 07/2112011 Dry. Fink Comparative Government POLL-4433 Summer Term 5 As we charge Into the 21st Century, there will be many critical Issues that the united States and the world will face. Immigration policy, social welfare policy, and environmental policy will undoubtedly headline the monumental challenges going forward. This paper will focus on the united States, Great Britain, and Germany by utilizing high quality sources to compare and contrast ways these countries are tackling these complex issues.
To begin with, the united States is currently engaged in heated debate over the future of immigration policy. With estimates showing upwards of 12 million illegal immigrants now living in the united States it is certainly easy to understand the high stakes of comprehensive immigration reform. At the moment, there are two major schools of thought regarding the implementation of such reforms. The liberal philosophy favors a pathway to citizenship for each Illegal immigrant, and It tends to shy away from strict border enforcement measures championed by conservatives.
Conversely, the conservative/republican philosophy erectly ties the strength of border security to any pathway for citizenship. They believe that sealing the border and tracking those who cross should be the utmost proposals. Many conservatives see the porous border as a potential entry point for individuals seeking to do harm to US citizens. Ever since the passage of the “1986 Immigration Control and Reform Act,” which ultimately failed, few administrations have had the political courage to tackle this issue head on. Critics to the current proposals suggest that legislators are simply repeating the mistakes of 1986.
Senator David Bitter (R-La) said, “the latest proposals contain the same three components as the 1986 law: a legalization program, and a possible path to citizenship for those who are in the country illegally, stepped-up enforcement along the border, and measures to discourage employers from hiring workers who lack proof of legal residency. This is the same old formula we’ve dealt with before, including when it passed in 1986, and that is a promise of enforcement and immediate amnesty’ (Tumults, 2013) Many leaders offer a rebuttal to Senator Fitter’s claims, however.
Doris Minister who was commissioner of the U. S. Immigration and Naturalization Service during the Bill Clinton administration suggests that the attitude of the country has changed since then. She believes that technological advances will ensure our ability to track and monitor immigrants. Additionally, she says that the national urgency and acceptance of reforms will contribute greatly to its success. (Tumults, 2013) At the end of the day, however, it is impossible to deny the impact that Latino immigrants have had on the United States. From an economic perspective they are absolutely vital.
Without their often underrepresented and low wage labor the agricultural and manufacturing industries would undoubtedly suffer. Additionally, many immigrants have contributed to the entrepreneurial spirit that has come to define America. By opening restaurants, stores, etc… Their culture and values have been intertwined with American society. Furthermore, the demographic impact that Ladino’s currently have and will continue to have for generations to come is undeniable. They largely contributed to the election and re-election of President Obama who is the nation’s first multi-cultural president.
In his study, Ian Davies takes into account the social change occurring in the United States as a result of Latino immigration. He concludes that “government policy makers should encourage a more tolerant, multicultural society by integrating Latino immigrants into the social, economic, and political fabric of the nation. ” (Davies, 2009) As he suggests, it is absolutely imperative that the United States find a way to legally integrate these individuals into society while simultaneously strengthening the integrity of the borders.
A tall order indeed, but it is one which will ensure the vitality of the US economy for decades to come. Social welfare policy is also a hot button topic in the United States these days. As he national debt nears the 17 trillion dollar mark, calls for entitlement reform will inevitably grow louder. Since the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt the size and scope of the government in the USA has been gradually growing. Welfare spending has ballooned to unbelievable proportions. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AI) suggests that the total amount of federal and state welfare spending has eclipsed the 1 trillion dollar mark annually.
He also says that the amount of federal spending on welfare is far greater than any other item on the budget. (Lealer, 2013) The exact numbers are frequently disputed particularly along partisan lines. Timothy Noah, a writer at The New Republic, offers a stern rebuttal to Senator Session’s claims. He writes, “Sessions’ Congressional Research Service (CRY) to add up every means-tested item in the budget, and suggests that the term welfare is understood to mean the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANK) program and sometimes food stamps. Those two programs together account for only $96 billion of the budget.
The reason Sessions subscribes to such a wildly inflated measure of welfare spending is because he wants to scapegoat welfare recipients in order to build political support for cutting government spending. (Lealer, 2013) Whichever side one decides to find agreement with, it is hard to ignore the unsuitability of current spending practices in Washington D. C. Social welfare was originally created to act as a safety net in the event that an individual or family fell upon unexpected hard times. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANK) is a great example of this type of assistance.
Social Security was created and still exists as a means of ensuring the well being of seniors that have reached retirement age. Programs such as Medicare and Medicaid allow the less fortunate and senior segments of society to seek timely latherer that is crucial to their wellbeing. Debating the amount of money being spent on such programs is not only responsible, but it is also necessary to maximize efficiency and protect taxpayer dollars. However, particularly in the US, there is a tendency to vilify the recipients of federal aid. Cindy Cam addresses this in her study.
She writes “The political culture of welfare abounds with various frames, most vilify recipients, and some classify them as the working poor. ” (Cam, 2008) Her study concludes that a majority of Americans are in favor of welfare in varying degrees. The past elections certainly give credibility to her conclusions. There were intense debates which centered on the current state of welfare and the future of such programs. Ultimately, voters sided with the status-quo. Make no mistake though. Conversation about the future funding of welfare will only get more heated as time passes.
The national debt will keep climbing, and sooner or later meaningful compromises will have to be reached. At the end of the day, however, a robust and growing economy is the only sure fire way to alleviate burdens on the federal coffers. The US government must combine entitlement reforms along with deregulation and lid tax increases in order to get the most out of a recovery and ultimately lift the people out of government dependency. Hopefully compromise can be reached much sooner than later! Environmental policy in the United States is also a huge topic trending these days.
Regardless whether one agrees with “Global Warming” or not, it is impossible to ignore the negative effects that human pollution has on the planet Earth. In recent decades, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established itself as one of the most powerful bureaucratic units. They are largely responsible for the condition hat pundits like John Stole refer to as “Regulation Nation. ” Many people, particularly conservatives, see the EPA and related entities as more examples of excessive government overreach. Conservatives also cite budgetary shortfalls as reasons to halt increasing environmental regulations.
They see it as an undue burden on businesses and taxpayers alike. Prominent liberals such as Michael Moore, AAA Gore, and even Barack Obama have made significant strides to promote “Green Energy’ programs. As much as conservatives may dislike it, sustainable and is afforded the opportunity to assume primary responsibility for implementation and exultation of environmental policies. Though they must meet minimum established national standards, this type of intergovernmental cooperation allows for states to shape their own policies to meet the needs of their particular region and population. Woods, 2006) As the years have passed, the EPA has established greater minimal standards in an attempt to thwart human destruction of the ecosystem. Today in the United States there is great discussion regarding the cleanliness of various energy forms. While the oil, coal, and nuclear energy industries provide countless avenues of economic boost for our country, they do not come without their fatal flaws. One need not look much further than the Coherency incident and the most recent Japanese nuclear scare to understand the concern regarding nuclear energy.
Various oil spills, particularly the BP spill which decimated the Gulf Coast environment and economy also added to the national conversation on clean energy. Moreover, the coal industry is also riddled with mining disasters and environmental destruction. Ultimately scientists must find ways to implement solar, wind, and hydro-electric energies in a practical and cost effective manner. The US is at a crucial crossroads in terms of shaping both domestic and international environmental policy for decades to come. As a leading member of the G-20 summit, the US is in a great position to push other nations to adopt cleaner practices.
It must first get its own house in order, however, and transition toward a cleaner and more self reliant future. Both parties must be able to compromise. They must take the future generations into consideration, and they must work toward leaving the Earth better than they found it. The United Kingdom also faces their share of immigration challenges here in the 1st century. According to the official website of the I-J government, their platform stance on immigration is as follows: “Immigration enriches our culture and strengthens our economy.
At the same time, we must control immigration and the movement of goods to protect the Auk’s interests. We want to simplify and improve immigration law and policy, and make sure the I-J has an internationally competitive visa system and an efficient and effective enforcement operation” Much like the United States, the I-J is a relatively free and prosperous country. They have national healthcare and moderate unemployment. As a result, their immigration rates have increased dramatically over the course of the last few decades. One can certainly understand how the British would benefit from a simplified and streamlined immigration policy.
Unlike the US, however, the UK population is far more hostile and untrusting toward immigration in all forms. Most recently, the I-J Home Secretary introduced an immigration reform bill that would split the Border Security into two separate entities. Pending approval, one will deal with immigration and distribution of visas, and one will take full responsibility for immigration law enforcement. The British are also seeking to modernize their IT systems in an effort to reduce paper applications and eventually switch solely to a manual data entry process.
This step will greatly increase their efficiency and ability to quickly process data. One large concern that the United Kingdom faces in the years ahead is the influx of EX. Migrants from Bulgaria and Romania. One negative aspect of Joining the EX. Is the capability of citizens to freely migrate across all member borders. David Jones, a country is as worried as Britain about the uncontrolled mass immigration that a few redirect could be unleashed next year when all 25 EX. Countries are obliged to open their labor markets fully to Bulgarians and Rumanians who Joined the union in 2007.
This has to do with the country’s Resurrection mood, its experience of a big increase in immigration from Poland and other Eastern European countries in 2004-”and general ill will towards immigration. “nines, 2013) As the economic situation in Europe continues to limp along, it can only be expected to provide increasing challenges for I-J immigration officials. Additionally, the recent brutal attacks by Muslim extremists n London provide another set of challenges for British officials. Beginning with their fervent support of US operations in the Middle East, the I-J had a giant target on their backs.
Much like the United States, threats of international terror provide yet another compelling reason for the I-J to protect their borders. It can only be expected that the terror threat will remain heightened for much of the foreseeable future. While the UK isn’t faced with quite the monumental challenges as their US allies, their drive to catch up to 21st century technology and adapt to the influx of EX. Migrants will still prove to be a rather difficult task. If they are to maintain their high level of domestic safety and prosperity they must meet these tasks head on.
Much like the United States, the United Kingdom also faces daunting fiscal challenges in the decades ahead. The way they approach social welfare reforms will play a key role in their future economic wellbeing. To begin with, welfare benefits in the United Kingdom include five different types of services: cash benefits, health care, education, housing, and various social services. The most widely used form of welfare in the United Kingdom is cash benefits that make up nearly 13% of their total Gross Domestic Product.
According to the official I-J government website, they are currently pursuing a variety of reforms aimed at decreasing welfare dependency and increasing the size of the labor force. Their strategy utilizes a multi-pronged approach to ensure that the goals are met in a timely manner. First, they are streamlining all cash benefits (income-based Jobholder’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits, and housing benefits) into one single Universal Credit.
The account will be accessible and manageable via internet, thus greatly reducing distribution cost and increasing efficiency. This credit will be reformed in such a way to encourage employment or at the very least an increase in hours. Also, there is a time limit placed upon receiving welfare in addition to a cap on the amount of welfare available per household. They will also re-evaluate those seeking disability in attempt to reduce systemic fraud. Furthermore, they will cap the amount of welfare available at 10% less than the minimal remarkable wage.
This will hopefully incentive recipients to eek work rather than live solely off of the welfare income. In addition to these reforms, over the course of the next several years there will be many more changes to take place. The United Kingdom, in collaboration with the ELI, is dedicated to comprehensive fiscal reform. In addition to these reforms, vast changes to their National Healthcare System will be necessary. Many experts believe that it is on the brink of collapse. Despite the increasing injections of financial stimulus into the system, the public health shortfalls in the UK are staggering.
Will Oliver writes, uncial injections into the NASH do not prevent increasing death rates. A recent report on I-J health performance exposed a worsening public health situation. The report published in The Lancet, a recognized medical Journal, revealed that despite a substantial increase in health expenditure, the I-J only occupies 12th place in the list of 19 countries including France, the US, Canada and Australia. ” (Oliver, 2013)An increasing mortality rate is Just one of many problems facing the NASH system and the people of the I-J.
Especially for people in the United States, this grim outlook is a potential sign of things to come with “Beamer. Hopefully both nations can successfully navigate thru the roadblocks and pitfalls inherent in social welfare programs. The changes will be critical to ensuring their fiscal wellbeing and the solvency of future social programs. Much like the USA they face many challenges in which cooperation and compromise will be absolutely necessary. As a member of the European Union, the United Kingdom along with all EX. Member states must adhere to a regionally crafted set of strict environmental regulations.
The most current plan called “Europe 2020” calls for increased attention to energy and resource efficiency. In the post-2008 economy, money for reform has been harder to come by, but environmental expenditures are gradually seeing resurgence as the markets stabilize. Environmental Policy has also been a major issue on Prime Minister Cameraman’s agenda. According to the Environmental Virtual Observatory, “Economic development and population growth are putting increasing pressure on natural resources, and human activities are causing unprecedented changes to the I-J environment, including changes to the global climate. They list 4 critical areas of policy focus: Sustainable natural resources, diffuse agricultural pollution, Environmental change, and ecosystem services. The Ecologist Online lists several policies adopted by the current coalition government. Just a few of these critical changes include, “The creation of a green investment bank, Mandating a national recharging network for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, strict emissions performance standards for coal powered plants, nuclear power plant construction regulation, etc… The current coalition government has doubled down on their efforts to make environmental reform a national priority. This is great news for UK environmentalists as environmental policy was a second tier concern in decades ROR. Despite recent progress, the environmental prognosis for the I-J isn’t all peachy. Jamie Toward, an observer for The Ecologist Online, reports “Climate change will wreak havoc on Britain’s coastline by 2050… The total rise in sea levels off the I-J coast may exceed one meter, and could potentially reach two meters’.
They warn that the frequency of intense storm events is expected to increase and, along with the rise in sea level, to lead to more coastal flooding’. As a result, many of the 30 million people living near the Auk’s coastline – which has 291 inhabited islands – will need to anticipate how climate change will affect them. ” (Toward, 2011) Most recently there has also been much debate over the practice of hydraulic “franking”. Hydraulic fracturing is the process by which millions of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals are pumped underground to break down rock clusters and release gas.
Industry executives suggest that the process is natural and not harmful to the environment. Environmentalists understandably have a bone to pick with this assessment. Industry. Given the high stakes involved, coming to a healthy compromise will certainly be a difficult task. This is Just one issue among many that the UK will have to face in the coming decades. Also a member of the 6-20 summit, they possess the ability to encourage global environmental reform. Kicking the can down the road has occurred for far too long, and thankfully that is no longer an option for the United Kingdom.
Immigration reform in Germany has become an issue of critical importance particularly in the past decade. Beginning in 2000 there was a real push toward reforming the tough immigration standards and streamlining many of the procedures involved. Much like the United Kingdom, immigration in Germany is a intentions issue that is frowned upon by large segments of society. These views have been expressed very vividly in the ELI. Von Strike writes, In the European arena, Germany’s prevailing restrictive immigration practices have led it to obstruct any attempt to develop a common migration policy.
After opposing the Economic Migration Directive in 2001, Germany was also against the ‘Blue Card’, a work permit for highly-skilled migrant workers to be valid throughout the ELI” (Von Strike, 2009) Prior to 2004 immigration to Germany was restricted solely to those who could prove traceable German heritage. The Naturalization Law of 2004 can be considered a real reform as it has put an end to the exclusion from German citizenship of those who are not ethnic Germans” (Von Trotsky) Ultimately these reforms have lead to the steady influx of outsiders, and they have had a favorable impact on the German economy at least in the short term.
Compared to other EX. Member states, in 2006 Germany received the second largest number of immigrants after Spain. They also came in third in the total number of naturalization. As the EX. Economy continues to remain flat, it can only be expected that populations will flock toward the stability that Germany provides. The progress that Germany has made toward welcoming outsiders is certainly a positive step; however, they do have a long way to go. “It has taken Germany many years to accept that immigration is unavoidable and that legal channels should be opened to regulate the inflow and to foster the integration of immigrants.
However, even now public opinion is reluctant to accept immigration, while immigrants are still viewed by a substantial part of society as a source of social problems, whether as Islamic fundamentalists, consumers of social benefits or competitors in the labor market. (Viewpoints, 2009) Over the course of the coming decades, Germany will be faced with mounting challenges in regards to immigration policy. They are a proud society, and the Government is interested in maintaining its citizen’s wellbeing first and foremost. Ultimately their immigration policy is characterized by continuity more than it is by change.
Germany’s main priorities are threefold: Protection of their domestic labor market to prevent competition among Germans and foreigners, the maintenance of competitive salaries and above average working conditions, and the defense of their welfare state. Germany’s ongoing opposition to the development of a common EX. Migration policy will also provide a significant obstacle to the reforms in coming years. At the end of the day, Germans must fully accept the reality of the world in which we live. Economically it makes much more sense to allow the free flow of labor and capital across arbitrarily defined borders.
Their ability to overcome these challenges, or reluctance to do so, will define tremendous challenge in regards to social welfare policy. Beginning in the late 19th century, Otto von Bismarck initiated Germany’s dedication to social welfare. Fast reward over 100 years, and the sheer size and scope of Germany’s aid to citizens is something which I doubt Otto could have even fathomed. Nobel Prize winning economist Edmund Phelps is extremely critical of the current system in place. He writes, “Don’t get me wrong, but you can survive in Germany without doing anything – that’s Just not normal. (Guest, 2008) He believes the current state of welfare inhibits the desire to earn a real wage for a living, and it places an unnecessary burden upon the working man. “Already each German pays on average around 40% of his or her income to the state and the social agencies. This is almost unique in international comparison” (Guest, 2008) Only France and Sweden place more of a burden upon their citizens. Although it is important to note that the amounts of services these countries provide place them in a league of their own. Germany takes a two pronged approach to welfare disbursement.
Social insurance agencies oversee social welfare and social insurance benefits, and the state is responsible for benefits relating to social compensation and all additional aid. Germany also places a high priority on temporary forms of aid including childbirth compensation and Job loss protection and insurance. Germany spends over 280 billion Euro on elderly people and the bereaved annually. They also direct 242 billion Euro to the “social net”. It covers aid to those hampered by illness and disability. Parents and Children receive over 100 billion Euro, and the unemployed receive over 38 billion Euro.
Phelps correctly summarizes the problems ahead for Germany. He writes, “The size of these sums reveals only too clearly the nature of the problem: as soon as the economy is unable to employ and pay enough people, the social insurance agencies lack contributors and the state lacks taxpayers to finance all these benefits. In addition, there is the increasing ageing of society. Today almost 17% of all Germans are over 65 years old. In 2050 it will be 28%. This means there will be many benefit recipients but an ever smaller number of people who are paying for this…
Germany faces a “huge mountain of problems” that can only be solved if Job dismissal protection and unemployment insurance were to be scrapped and if trade unions and public banks were to disappear. “(Guest, 2009) Simply put, Germany must find ways to privative many of their expenditures, and they must begin to incentive people to enter and remain in the workplace. In many ways they face the same challenges as the United States and the United Kingdom moving forward. Compromise must be met, but societal reliance on government will prove to be a giant hurdle to overcome.
It is absolutely crucial that they meet these challenges head on, and as the situation worsens they will inevitably be forced to do so. Lastly, Germany has helped to lead Europe into a new era of environmental policy reformation. From 1990 to 2005 their overall green house gas emissions have declined over 18%. Their parliament buildings have been rewired to run solely on renewable wind, hydro, and solar energy. Bio-fuel generators in the basement provide the air and electricity to government buildings. Hot air from these generators is trapped during winter months and used to heat all of their buildings.
Additionally, the Reichstag which was originally built over a century ago now gets up to 60% of its power from renewable energy sources. Despite all of these Plans are in place to power the Reichstag along with a host of other government owned structures completely with renewable energy. Even with all of this innovation in place, the critical implementation of policy has been virtually flawless. Laura Blue rites, “Germany’s impressive performance has been less about innovation than about implementation. The government has left little to chance. An echo-tax on fuel discourages petroleum use.
Laws push waste reduction and recycling; producers must pay to deal with packaging they create. Subsidies encourage people to retrofit their homes with solar panels. It may seem glib to resort to national stereotype, but the Germans have done well by being, well, efficient” (Blue, 2008) Given the huge amount of success resulting directly from these reforms, it goes without saying that other countries could stand to learn a good bit from them. Take the United States for instance. Both countries are major industrial powers where viable environmental reform must coexist with business interests.
Furthermore, both countries are blessed with a political system where state and local governments operate somewhat autonomously within the federal structure. This setup affords plenty of room for policy experimentation. Hopefully other countries will begin to take note of the “German Model. ” While Germany is far ahead of the pack in regards to environmental policy, they have set a multitude of lofty goals for their future. Given the economic halogens currently facing the EX. And Germany’s increasing role in the bailouts of neighboring economies, it is fair to presume it could potentially hamper their drive toward total sustainability.
Hopefully they can navigate through these potential roadblocks unscathed. In conclusion, as we charge into the 21st Century, there will be many critical issues that the United States and the world will face. Immigration policy, social welfare policy, and environmental policy will undoubtedly headline the monumental challenges going forward. As previously mentioned, the United States has much in common with its European counterparts. By utilizing collaboration and compromise, successful policy can be engineered to meet the demands of an increasingly complex and globalizes society.