AP US Government : Iron Triangle

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP US Government

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

← Previous 1

Example Question #1 : Iron Triangle

Why could iron triangles be considered fundamentally detrimental to a democratic society?

Possible Answers:

The general welfare and common good are forsaken so as to advance narrow and specific interests.

Too much power is wielded by the Judicial Branch at the sake of the Legislative and Executive Branches.

It renders the impact of political accountability less substantial by ensuring that incumbents nearly always get reelected.

It takes power away from the common people by negating the impact they are able to wield in senate elections.

It takes power away from the Judiciary and places too much power in the hands of the Legislative Branch.

Correct answer:

The general welfare and common good are forsaken so as to advance narrow and specific interests.

Explanation:

An Iron Triangle is when a bureaucratic agency, an interest group, and a congressional committee works together to advance its own agenda and act in its own interests. It is generally considered detrimental to a healthy democratic process because it ignores the interests of the common good for the sake of advancing specific and narrow interests.

Example Question #2 : Iron Triangle

Which of the following is an example of an Iron Triangle?

Possible Answers:

Congress passing a new budget that expands funding for several Departments

None of the answers are correct

The Department of Education releasing a new policy that requires a higher Reading standard in public schools 

Congress increasing funding to the Department of Agriculture in exchange for lower regulations on corn production

Monsanto donating money to conservative congressmen

Correct answer:

Congress increasing funding to the Department of Agriculture in exchange for lower regulations on corn production

Explanation:

Congress giving more funding to the Department of Agriculture (the bureaucracy) would expand the DoA's power base. In return, agricultural lobbying groups (special interests) would gain lower regulation for their constituents. Most likely, Congress would receive electoral funding promises for its efforts. This answer best represents all three point of the Iron Triangle.

Example Question #3 : Iron Triangle

What are the possible concerns surrounding the Military-Industrial Complex?

Possible Answers:

It can hurt military self-sustainability 

It can cause unnecessary wars

It encourages corruption

All of these answers are correct

It can lead to a misallocation of government resources

Correct answer:

All of these answers are correct

Explanation:

There are many concerns regarding the Military-Industrial Complex, including corrupting politicians, disproportionate military spending, an incentive to wage war on others, and private corporations gaining too much control over our ability to wage war.

Example Question #4 : Iron Triangle

What about the Iron Triangle could be considered problematic?

Possible Answers:

It encourages a goal of cooperating for power instead of pursuing the public good  

It means corporations will be able to make higher profits

It doesn't include the judiciary branch

None of these answers accurately reflect a potential downside of the Iron Triangle.

It increases communication between the legislative and executive branches

Correct answer:

It encourages a goal of cooperating for power instead of pursuing the public good  

Explanation:

The biggest problem with the Iron Triangle is it encourages government agencies to pursue more power and funding instead of the public good. Oftentimes, the Iron Triangle will even result in sacrificing the public good in exchange for power, such as lowering environmental protections in exchange for oil money donations that don't benefit the public.

Example Question #5 : Iron Triangle

What is a possible benefit of the Iron Triangle?

Possible Answers:

All of the answers are correct.

Increased cooperation can lead to more efficient policy change

Decreasing the influence of interest groups on Congress

Increasing the flow of political contributions makes for faster elections

None of the answers are correct.

Correct answer:

Increased cooperation can lead to more efficient policy change

Explanation:

The Iron Triangle establishes relationships between the most influential and informed groups in specific sectors affecting the nation. Improved communication between these groups can grease the wheels of policymaking and sometimes translate into a faster and cheaper public good.

Example Question #6 : Iron Triangle

What is a possible benefit of the Military-Industrial Complex?

Possible Answers:

A second opinion on war strategy

A more efficient chain of command

Decreased reliance on private funding for government projects

Improved relations with other countries

Improved economic growth during times of war

Correct answer:

Improved economic growth during times of war

Explanation:

The economic stimulus of having the private sector produce tools of war is well documented. Many economists and historians believe that World War II is the real reason the Great Depression ever ended (instead of FDR's New Deal). None of the other options are considered a benefit of this system (in fact, most of them are drawbacks of the system).

Example Question #7 : Iron Triangle

Which of the following is a modern day example of the Military-Industrial Complex?

Possible Answers:

None of these answers are correct

The US accounts for almost half of the world's total military spending 

The US has the most efficient economy in the world

The US has the most advanced nuclear arsenal in the world

The US has had the most military success of any country in history

Correct answer:

The US accounts for almost half of the world's total military spending 

Explanation:

The US has what many consider a ridiculously disproportionate military budget, which is at least partially a result of powerful defense group lobbying. Such spending has increased radically, since World War II, widely considered the beginning of the Military-Industrial Complex era.

Example Question #8 : Iron Triangle

The "golden parachute" refers to what?

Possible Answers:

None of these answers is accurate.

Depositing remaining campaign funds into one's personal account during a withdrawal from the race

Demoting a revealed-as-corrupt politician to a cushy, less-public position instead of actually punishing he or she

None of these answers are correct

A backup measure placed in legislation in the event a project runs out of funding

Correct answer:

None of these answers are correct

Explanation:

While many of these answers sound plausible, the golden parachute generally refers to when a politician involved in an Iron Triangle is promised a well-paying job after his or her stay in government in exchange for political favors. This sometimes also works the other way, with government positions being awarded to generous lobbyists. The idea is that someone can "jump" from the public sector to the private and "settle" comfortably in financial terms.

Example Question #9 : Iron Triangle

What could average citizens do to most effectively diminish the integrity of an Iron Triangle?

Possible Answers:

None of these answers is correct.

Elect Congressmen with a convincing history of avoiding corruption and private influence

Petition the President to dismiss any executive officials that demonstrate signs of corruption

Write letters to Congressmen requesting they stay away from interest groups

Organize protests against specific corporations

Correct answer:

Elect Congressmen with a convincing history of avoiding corruption and private influence

Explanation:

While the other options may have some effect, they're either unlikely to be effective or won't dismantle the entire Iron Triangle. Only electing politicians that will reject the influence of special interest groups may be a difficult task, but it would be most effective at reducing the power of an Iron Triangle. The principle here, is that the Iron Triangle is quite strong against external influences, and must change from the inside.

Example Question #10 : Iron Triangle

The mutual cooperation between bureaucracy, Congress, and interest groups to expand power and forward interests is generally known as what?

Possible Answers:

The Iron Triangle

The Military Industrial Complex

The 3-Branch Dilemma

The Congressional Compromise

None of the other answers are correct

Correct answer:

The Iron Triangle

Explanation:

The Iron Triangle is used to describe the conspiratorial relationship between bureaucracies, congressional committees, and interest groups. These three points on the triangle often cooperate to further their own financial gains and interests. The Iron Triangle is often used negatively to describe actions that benefit these groups personally but don't benefit the general public (such as lowering regulations for interest groups and to save money for Congressmen). While the Military-Industrial Complex is often considered an example of an Iron Triangle, Iron Triangle is the best choice here.

← Previous 1
Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors

Incompatible Browser

Please upgrade or download one of the following browsers to use Instant Tutoring: