The Ethics of the United States Government

The United States government has put effort to discourage and prevent unethical behaviors and practices in public offices.

The government has a code of ethics that promote integrity in governance. This has lead to the attainment of skills that recognize and address decisions which make the citizens confident. Specific guidelines are given for the implementation of the codes of this ethics. The conduct of federal employees is aimed at reduction of abuses in the government procurement. The employees of the government are expected to practice honesty and integrity and are not allowed to use any public office for personal gains. They should not give any preferential treatment to any individuals or private organization. Decisions that are inadequate lead to major cost implications to the government. The government’s primary roles include ensuring all citizens are both economically and socially well. According to Smith (cited in Williams, 1998), the US government has few simple roles that include defending the nation, administering justice and public goods, education and transportation. However, the government today has increased its roles to the people, which include ensuring that the economy is prospering or as some would put it; economic security is assured. This will guarantee citizens their social well being. To prevent malicious attempts to violate the information systems of the government agencies, measures have been put where each employee has to sign an acceptable use policy. The ethical standards put for quality control in production ensures that the professionals are responsible for their work and this reduces huge financial losses. The government of the United States has to be honest and open in order to reconcile any conflict of interests. It shows good morals by redistributing wealth for stability and to hinder the excesses of a free market. The government should be fair and not discriminate on the basis of either race, sex, religion, age and others (Asia Watch Committee, 1990).

Incase of moral corruption, social stability and security cannot be achieved and thus the government must be strong to ensure moral and social harmony. The United States courts and the department of commerce have restricted excessive concentration of ownership in order to promote healthy competition. It has also protected owner’s property like copyrights and patents leading to increased innovation. The government has expanded its role to include old-age pension and affordable health care to its citizens. The American government collects revenues from taxation and each year almost every family in America fills out a tax form, which determines the income tax owed to the government. The revenue is collected from the states, federal and from the local government while income from all sources is required to be reported and the sources consist of dividends, profits from small businesses, interest on savings and income from employment. The government transfers a large amount of funding to the elderly and to the poor families. It has a well defined plan where the poor in the society are given vouchers to buy food. Health spending is large and it includes Medicaid and medical research through national agencies. A huge spending is on the national defense and this includes purchase of military equipments such as guns, fighter jets and warships as well as salary for the military personnel. However, the spending fluctuates as international tensions and political climate changes. The government borrows internally from its people and an interest is paid on repayments. The government spends much in maintaining the existing federal court system.

The United States Government has a function of preparing a budget for its spending. When the government spends more than its receipts it is said to have a budget deficit which is financed by borrowings from the public by selling government debt to private investors in the United States and also to those abroad. When the government runs a budget surplus the excess of the receipts is used to reduce its outstanding debts. It is the responsibility of this same government to ensure financial responsibility is put in place during budgeting and its implementation (Mankiw, 2008).

The U.S government is both military and political ally, a trading partner and a major investor in many countries including Korea. The government brought reforms and helped in bringing democracy in Korea by exerting pressure on its government to protect the freedom of expression, the freedom of association and other basic human rights. The US government is also concerned on trial procedures that are fair and legal and are according to the international standards. The government has been playing an important role in determining the policies of air transportation and development of policies in aviation department and trade matters. The American government pays Salaries for the president and the members of the congress (Ruggiero, 2008)

The U.S Government has an important role in public education at every level. This government grants loans and regulates educational curriculum for the learning institutions. Public schools are funded by the government each year, making it compulsory for all students to attend schools. The colleges are also available to almost everyone. However, drugs and violence in the public schools makes it hard to maintain discipline as this can result to lawsuits and charges of violations of civil rights. The education system has since failed in public schools and this has made the parents to take more responsibility of their children by taking them to private schools or even teaching them at home.

There is a lot of pressure for the government schools to perform better. On the other hand less effort is made at the federal level to return the control of education to the school officials and the parents. More money for education will be available if it is left in the states as bringing it to Washington leads to waste by the bureaucrats and the politicians. Therefore the government involvement in planning and financing compromises the quality of the education delivered. There is a recommendation to pass a bill that will help parents in educating their children. This would help the parents struggling to educate their children and competition will be high in the education institutions (Williams, 1998)

The federal government is concerned with the medical care business and very few Americans are happy with that. The government pays and regulates more than 60% of all the medical bills and this increases the demand for free health care, which brings along many complaints about the shortcomings of the management of Health care which multiplies as time goes by. As far as the quality of health care is assumed to be sacrificed due to planning and financing by the government, it is now accepted that the government should provide care to those who need it as their basic constitutional right. There is a big problem with the takeover of the medical care programs by the government. The government has also been interfered with the market and the tax code has discouraged the private insurance from paying for the medical care since all terms are dictated by the government. Therefore this makes medical insurance not to exist in the country. The programs introduced by the government were welcomed at the early stages since health care was easily available and the reimbursements given were adequate. This led to abuse of power by the government and they made rules and their management technical in order to reduce the reimbursements and to limit the procedures that were available. This included choice of a private physician. Therefore medicine is not social but bureaucratic that it is managed by the United States government together with the few selected corporations that have grabbed the decision making power from the physicians. Politicians have their own interests in the Medicare of the country and this represents the evil.

The existing market can deliver medical care in an efficient manner as it does to other products and services. It therefore follows that there’s need for the government develop enough confidence in the market, so as to increase service providers’ ability to succeed in delivery process. Citizens on the other hand need to realize that federal government does not have the solution to all their problems even though they receive they benefit from the government’s Medicare program. Realistically, efforts to help the low income earners have drastically reduced the quality of medical services, despite the continuous increase in costs of medical service provision. The government should make wise decisions so that the quality of the medical care is improved and the private practice of medicine in the country is saved. Therefore the government should implement ways of making generous medical savings accounts available to reduce persistent government involvement in the practice of medicine in the country (Government press, 2000).

Government has also stepped up its housing program. Each year, a total of US$30 billion is set aside in the budget to cater for the housing program, and it is predicted that the amount is likely to continue rising in the coming years as need for proper shelter increases. However, public housing in the US is painted in the bad picture, always associated with drugs trafficking and criminal activities. Accusing fingers is being pointed at the continuous funding despite endless failures. In the recent past, housing department accused makers of guns for not being responsible for the increased crime. Generally, there has been irresponsible abuse of law, which has contributed to impunity on the side of criminals. There are also governmental agencies existing illegally and their roles are expanding into legal matters. In fact, it is prudent to state that some of these expanded programs are abuse of individual freedom, as no political system would be left safe in the long run. The housing programs are associated with a depreciating currency and the markets are not considered to be free. The market situation has been distorted, as the increased pumping of money in these housing programs has led to increased interest rates. The government is responsible for inspection of contractors in order to safeguard the public and the government property that are exposed to contractor’s activities (Boyer, et al., 2009).

The Bush and Clinton administration used diplomacy, economic aid and technical assistance to secure for safe disposal of nuclear weapons in the former Soviet Union. President Clinton preferred domestic issues to foreign policy but the American government cannot ignored the world and he was faced with challenges like protecting the U.S. trade, promoting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, responding to security threats including nuclear proliferation and terrorism and how to use its power wisely in the post soviet era. In the United States of America civil proceedings can be brought against a sitting president. The white house political and legal advisers can also be questioned and forced to answer under oath. Following the succession of court battles that arose from allegation of sexual harassment against President Clinton and Kenneth Starr’s investigations, the concept of executive privilege was limited by the Supreme Court in 1974 when it ruled, in the case US v. Richard M. Nixon that the president must release transcripts of the tape recordings that had been made following a conversation with his aides. It has been considered legitimate to investigate and expose the private lives of other politicians and the president as well since the Watergate scandal which had involved the white house personnel. There have been twenty independent counsel investigations between 1979 and 1998 and the most well known being Kenneth Starr’s inquiry into President Clinton’s financial affairs, his personal behavior and the legal testimony. This report provided the base for accusation against Clinton. A member for the counsel’s office is appointed to handle all the scandal related to publicity. The Supreme Court has played a role in strengthening the powers of the presidency but some rulings have curtailed the president’s freedom of action. Therefore if the attorney general finds it necessary to investigate allegations of lawbreaking at the highest levels of government the report is presented to the congress (Williams, 1998). The United States have a federal structure where power is distributed between Washington and other individual states. Therefore in policy spheres decision making has to be a negotiated process between the president, congress, state governors and the states legislatures (Ashbee & Ashford, 1999)

In the United States privacy is an ethical issue unlike in other countries where privacy laws are more stringent. There is a principle of informed consent where one is allowed to opt whether the personal data should be released or not. There is a legislation that authorizes the president to appoint an independent special prosecutor to investigate high profile scandals. This shows that the politicians are held with higher moral standards and their image is protected unlike in other countries.

The United States government should not interfere largely with the education and the medical care and instead a free market should be maintained where the government has confidence in the private sector. Decisions should be made to provide quality education and quality health care to all citizens with no discriminations. The government should put more effort to completely ban unethical issues in the government. There should be integrity and honesty in the governance of the public offices (Krieger & Crahan, 2001).

Reference List

  1. Ashbee, E., & Ashford, N. (1999). US politics today. London. Manchester University Press ND.
  2. Asia Watch Committee (1990). Retreat from reform: labor rights and freedom of expression in South Korea.Chicago. Human Rights Watch.
  3. Boyer, P., Clark, C., Hawley, S., Kett,J., & Rieser A. (2009). The Enduring Vision: A History of the American People. New York. Cengage Learning.
  4. Government Printing Office (2000). Congressional Record. Chicago. Government Printing Office.
  5. Krieger, J. & Crahan, M. (2001). The Oxford companion to politics of the world. Chicago. Oxford University Press US.
  6. Mankiw, N. (2008). Principles of Economics. Chicago. Cengage Learning.
  7. Ruggiero, V. (2008). Becoming a Critical Thinker. Chicago. Cengage Learning.
  8. Williams, R. (1998 ). Political scandals in the USA. Chicago. Routledge.

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