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John Kingdon’s Policy Model
John Kingdon’s policy model aims to clarify reasons for some policies being included for consideration in the policy process and some being ignored. Within this model, there are three streams necessary for facilitating policy change, including the policy, problem, and political streams. The first step in Kingdon’s model refers to the identification of a problem; for instance, the increase in childhood obesity rates associated with a decrease in physical activity.
The second step within the model is associated with the political stream, in which the previously identified problem is reviewed between communities of policy experts who possess knowledge of the problem. These experts propose possible solutions to the problem and assess their potential effectiveness. Lastly, the policy stream implies the development of proposals for addressing the identified issue. A policy change is most likely to occur when a problem is identified when community experts have knowledge of it, and when a proposal is developed.
The growing income inequality in the United States can be explained by the outsourcing of jobs to cheap labor countries such as China, unfair exchange rates, the ever-increasing popularity of labor robotization, cuts in employee benefits, as well as high-interest rates. In order to mitigate the concentration of wealth, the government implements such policies as redistribution programs (taking income from the wealthy and providing it to those with low incomes).
The social consequences of income inequality include rising crime rates, worse health outcomes for the population as a whole, reduced educational quality for the younger generation, and stifled growth for society overall. The political implications include skewed political power, a lack of attention to the low-income electorate, and corruption that high-income individuals can use to push their political agendas. The economic consequences of income inequality include slowing economic growth, a declining GDP, and increases in human capital.
With regard to the causal stories involved in the immigration debate, it is important to mention several points. First, in the past, flows of immigrants to the US were more substantial and predominantly included young single males who were looking for better job opportunities. Today, immigrant demographics have changed and now include more women and children. Second, in the past, immigrants were more likely to work in the US for several years and then return to their home countries, whereas now immigrants tend to stay in the US permanently.
Third, immigration flows used to be directly associated with the state of the economy while today, they heavily rely on political conditions. All of these points suggest that processes associated with immigration have shifted in nature and raise new issues for discussion. Specifically, the unequal distribution of labor within immigrant communities presents the greatest challenge.
Challenges Faced by Social Problems Workers
The three forces that most heavily affect social problems workers include economic injustice (inequality), the health gap, and isolation based on social status (immigrant, low-income worker, etc.). These three forces create the basis for social workers’ practice by indicating the most challenging issues that US society faces. With regard to economic injustice, there is a great need for exposing the unfair practices that lead to an unequal distribution of income within the population.
Closing the health gap is among the most challenging aspects of social workers’ jobs, as it requires stakeholders’ political, social, and economic involvement. Lastly, the eradication of social isolation requires educating the public about the risks of isolating minorities and proposing ways to strengthen connections within communities.