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Budgets and Social Policy

Every individual has his or her own human rights that must be uphold and protected. Human rights play an important role in the life of an individual because he or she needs these human rights in order to live a decent life. One of the major tenets of having these human rights is the fact that these people should be given their basic needs and experience a sense of equality among others as these are needed for them to have a good life. In relation to this, the government has the responsibility to make sure that these people enjoy their human rights and these rights are safeguarded.

The government can aid in giving them food, quality education, affordable, health care, housing, and other related necessities through the social policies that they created as well as the budget planning that they allotted for these social needs. However, the political process of doing so does not always give advantageous results because sometimes these social needs is taken for granted by some politicians for other matters and also due to the flaws in the government system.

The capacity of social policy is greatly influence by budget planning as this is an increasingly essential component of

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social policy. The state of Canada is has been characterized by the fiscalization of their social polices in the past two decades. Nevertheless, there are still problems that are not properly address. This is clearly seen in the three sets of issues that relate social policy to the budget process.

First, the federal government is continuously acting unilaterally when it comes to the area of social policy field as the budget process and the representation of the level of interest is done in secrecy during the pre-consultation process. Second, the public has not given the opportunity to give their inputs regarding social policy.

Moreover, the Social union Framework Agreement is not properly established because indicators, social audits, or shared best practices are not developed in a systematic way. Third, social questions have to take a back seat to give way for financial markets and sound economic policies. The reality of that all macroeconomic policies are also social policies that have distributional consequences with regards to regional, race, and class lines are hidden from the people (“Budgets and Social Policy”).

Over the last few decades, Canada has been a signatory to numerous United Nations commitments that addresses the issue of gender inequality and more inclusive economic development. The country has also participated in the international consensus on poverty eradication and gender equality through policy commitments. These included mobilizing resources, ensuring transparency and accountability in budget processes, and monitoring progress towards the attainment of these goals in relation to economic and social progress.

Unfortunately, Canada has significant shortcomings and inconsistencies in meeting their commitments. This is proven by the fact that the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women pointed out that the key impediment to Canada’s fulfillment of their human rights commitments to women is largely attributed to the lack of funding of key social supports that women are heavily dependent on.

The problem of Canada in implementing the platform for action and adhering to their obligations is due to the disconnection among policy development, budget appropriations, and the outcomes of policies. Moreover, the Canadian government specifically its finance department has not yet fulfilled their promise of undertaking gender budget analysis in Canada (“Budgets and Social Policy”).

The failure of Canada to fulfill their responsibilities poses the question as “to whom is fiscal policy in Canada accountable?” the conventional answer has been the taxpayers, which is genetically explained that the government is accountable to all citizens that are former, current, and future taxpayers of the country.

However, feminist economists, lawyers, and activists pointed out that taxpayers are not generic subject and that they should be given due consideration according to the existing socio-economic realities. Taxpayers are not monolithic groups as they are differentiated by class, race, sexual orientation, age and disability (“Budgets and Social Policy”).

The discussions show the emergence of a new approach that focuses on the relationship between accountability and macroeconomic policy. Important dimensions must be consider in analyzing the accountability of those decision-makers in the government such as: the people involve in making the decision about the aggregate levels of spending, taxation and public debt as well as the economic views of these decision makers.

In the case of Canada, its government’s policy gives more importance to financial markets and economic policies rather than social policy. As a result, the 3Ds that are mentioned in the study namely: “the delegitimization of women’s voices in the policy process, the dismantling of gender-based agencies, and the disappearance of the gender subjects as a necessary component of social policy thinking and reform are observable in the country (“Budgets and Social Policy”).

This piece of writing was able to enlighten me with a number of important facts that must be given due consideration in dealing with gender-equality, social policy, and budget planning. The first thing that I learn is the great amount of authority and responsibility that the government has. It emphasizes that government officials especially the ones who have key positions are responsible in crucial decisions that can make or break the opportunity of the citizens to have their adequate basic needs and experience a sense of equality in the country.

Government officials are the primary decision-makers that have the control in the direction of their country when it comes to social policy. Nevertheless, I realized that this authority is sometimes disadvantageous for the citizens especially if the government makes unilateral decisions about social policies without considering the input of the public. This kind of practice is improper especially for a democratic type of government because the people are the real stakeholders and they are the one who gave the government the authority to lead them, which is why the people’s opinion should be properly attended to.

Another important information that I have learned, which made me think differently is about the accountability of the government. In the question of whom the government is accountable for, my initial answer would have been the people or the citizens. Nevertheless, I was enlightened with the fact that when I consider the general public I should not merely think of the as the “people” but rather I should put in mind the differences that they have.

As the feminist economists, lawyers, and activists have asserted taxpayers or the people are not monolithic. This should be given due consideration and attention by government officials in making social policies because they have to realize that they should make policies that are good for all kinds of people that are involved.

The most significant contribution of this piece of writing is the fact that it was able to highlight one of the important impediments in the achievement of an effective social policy that addresses issues like gender inequality. It emphasizes the reality that social policy is largely related to macroeconomics.

Budget planning and the allocation of funds for the implementation of social policy are essential in order to establish institutions and organizations that foster gender-equality and the eradication of poverty. The usual practice of governments like the one in Canada the gives more important to sound economic policies instead of social policies is one the reason why inequality and other social issues still persist.

This piece of writing was able to give important information and sound arguments in order to prove make its readers see the connection between social policy and macroeconomics. The author was able to shed light I this new approach and make the necessary relation of societal situation with government decision-making.

In relation to this, the arguments made by the author were very convincing as there are adequate supporting details to prove it. Nevertheless, it would have been better if the author also identified other states that are regarded as underdeveloped and developing in order to show the applicability of this approach with countries that have a different economic and social situation.

The realizations from this written work also pose important questions. What should the private sector do in order to participate more in the decision-making process of the government especially when it comes to social policy? How could the people convince or pressure their government to establish a sense of transparency in their decision-making process? What individual actions could they contribute towards the attainment of social policy goals?

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