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I find a certain amount of difficulty when I attempt to offer an assessment of Baumgartner and Jones work Agendas and Instability in American Politics The reason for this is because the book is written in such a manner that it is enormously difficult to offer a conflicting argument to the model they use to describe how issues become part of agenda the power of interest groups policy monopolies how power shifts and other issues related to the aforementioned For this reason I must say that I find their model to be on solid ground The previous reading assignments in this course which where mostly based on the writings of C Wright Mills and his protg Robert Dahl read like the thoughts of writers who were desperately trying to convince the reader that they are right To the contrary Baumgartner and Jones made no real attempts to sell their research and rather presented their findings and beliefs in a way that seems to say to the reader that this is the way things are Examples of legislative activity that seem to conform to their model offered to the readers of Baumgartner and Jones are presented in a way that basically shows the reader how their model translates into real life as opposed to an offering of evidence to bolster the correctness of their assertions The notion of policy monopolies I find to be a very believable concept when describing the formulation definition and promotion of issues in the American political agenda Making an issue a taboo or untouchable or dangerous to national security thus ensuring its longevity perhaps even immortality This phenomenon is most visible in the issues of Medicare and Social Security Both programs are in deep financial trouble but anyone who advocates even the slightest bit of change in either program is immediately labeled an extremist who lacks compassion for our nations senior citizens or a radical who is trying to move
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