January 2017 Column – Policy and Goals 101

A new semester will soon begin at Canisius College.  On Day 1 I will walk into my American Political Process class and tell a group of eager freshmen about public policy.  I will offer a simple definition telling them that it is a course of action to attain a goal.  I will then caution them not to confuse policy with goals, because a single goal can have multiple policies associated with it.  I will assert that most of the time we all agree on a goal.  It is the particular course of action to attain the goal upon which we differ.

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