Ethics in any setting—be it in law, medicine, business, or especially in politics—reflects the values and beliefs of the larger public. How these values transfer from the general public to the profession is a compelling question that long has been a subject of debate in the annals of Washington politics. You might argue that the power of the ballot box is the primary vehicle for the public to ensure that ethics are upheld to a standard that is suitable and reflective of the public interest. But how many voters do you think believe that their votes are making an ethical statement when they cast their ballots for offices at the local, state, and federal levels? It would seem that most individuals go to the ballot box to either show approval or disapproval of issue-based concerns. The individual’s concerns might include taxes, health care, national defense, and the economy, rather than to voice their opinions about ethics.
In both houses of Congress, there are ethical committees that have attempted to quantify what they believe are sound ethical practices for lawmakers. For this Discussion, it is not important for you to know the specific ethical guidelines that govern members of Congress. Instead, consider what ethical codes you would impose upon your member of Congress (or upon a legislative member of your home country) and how you arrived at the values that guided those codes. Is it fair or reasonable for members of Congress to be held to an ethical code at least as high as those found in other professions? Should majority opinions and values (e.g., Judeo-Christian values) impact and influence the creation of ethical codes? After all, couldn’t a member of a religious minority argue that their views and values should have equal merit in determining ethical codes? Reflect upon the values you think are relevant to ensuring the quality of the legislators and the regulation of their behavior.
Think about why ethical guidelines are important in the public policy arena. Pay particular attention to the different ethical guidelines and how they are applied in a variety of situations. Select two or three ethical guidelines you believe are most important. Think about why you believe these guidelines are most important.
The Assignment 1-1.5 pages must use resources provided and include:
1. An explanation of how you think ethics impacts public policy. Be specific by explaining how ethics has impacted a specific example.
2. Then, describe two or three ethical guidelines for decision-makers and policy analysts that you believe are the most important and Explain why you chose these guidelines.