Public policy often concerns to the actions of the government. The process of policy making in the USA facilitates the most effective and valuable discussions before any decision is made. Public policies are those actions that usually the government undertakes. Though it may not always appear as a case, but decisions that arrive from the outcome of policy making process, intend to enhance the standard of life for all United States citizens, and also to resolve their problems. Public policies made at the federal level intend to regulate industries and businesses, to assist state and the local governments and also to encourage social and economic goals for further betterment (Lindblom, 1968).
On the formation of a policy, at first, members of the government execute this policy, and then it passes through several stages, beginning from origination to conclusion. The first stage in the policy building process is agenda building. In other words, before formulation of the policy, it must focus on the intervention of concerned members of the government. Many critical incidents can highlight a problem on the agenda. The best example is the new legislation concerning terrorism. The U.S. Patriot act does not come into existence until the horrible terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. Agenda building implies that the general public considers the topics with high levels of attention from a higher perspective. The next stage is the formulation and adoption. Formulation of a policy means developing an effective and agreeable way of action for directing all those issues that lie on the policy agenda. Effective formulation implies that the policy proposed should be a valid, implementable and efficientsolution to the issue at hand. (U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 2012)
Policy formulation implies initiating a viable technique to a problem solving. Since the government has various branches and there are vested groups for these branches, the needs should be specific and agreeable upon method. It is significant to acknowledge that policy formulation provides a concrete result. A bill presents before a regulatory body or Congress an outline of suggested ordinances. The process goes on with adoption. Adoption of a policy takes place when Congress finally approves legislation and this regulation attains a final status, or the Supreme Court delivers a judgment in a suit.
The final step in the policy making process is implementation. The carrying out or implementation of policy is quite often consummated by those institutions who have not articulated and implemented it. A regulation usually offers simply a comprehensive draft of a plan. For example, Federal government may authorize to improve quality of water, but the regulatory agency EPA draws the detailed guidelines on those procedures and standards for evaluating conformity through regulations.
The last step is evaluation and discontinuation. Evaluation determines how effectively and efficiently a policy is functioning, and it, certainly, is a difficult task. The government usually measures it with cost-benefit evaluation to determine the solution. Evidence from history shows that policy once adopted is tough to discontinue. In case of termination of policies, it usually occurs because the policy turned obsolete, did not show result, or could not gather its support among the elected officials and interested groups that put it on the agenda in the first place. For example, in 1974 Congress brought legislation of maximum speed limit of 55 miles per hour. Initially, it was successful in minimizing gasoline consumption and highway fatalities. However, this act multiplied costs for the fleet owners and the public considers this act as unjustifiable government interference into a territory that belongs to the regulatory bodies or local governments to act accordingly. The federal government finally revokes this law in 1987 (Hahn, 1988).