Beyond Labels

A 360° Discussion of Foreign, National and Local Policy Issues



5/15: The Debt Limit

  • What do we make of the debt limit negotiations?
    • Should debt limit increases be automatic?
      • If not, what subjects are (or are not) “fair game” for discussion?
  • Bigger picture, how should the US think about its use of debt to fund government programs?
    • Should we aim to
      • repay over time?
      • maintain a constant level relative to GDP? (At what target level?)
      • Something else?
    • How does our use of debt compare to our peers?
  • What does all of the above mean for our annual budgets?
    • To use the terms from today’s WaPo “Budget Game,” are you a
      • Diligent Deficit Hawk?
      • Big Tax and Spender?
      • Money-printing Maverick?

May 1: Corporate Speech

This week, we’ll revisit the First Amendment, particularly in the context of whether it should protect “corporate speech.” We’ve talked about this before, both in this group and in a Colloquy Downeast colloquy a few years ago, but maybe we’ll find some new insights this time around.

I’ll be interested to hear whether anyone is going to argue to muzzle:

  • the New York Times (a for-profit corporation that regularly engages in political speech), or
  • Elon Musk, Donald Trump, and other wealthy individuals who have the financial wherewithal to buy a bigger “megaphone” than ordinary folks can afford.

We’ll see.

April 24: Priority Problems Facing the U.S.

There will be no meeting on Monday, April 17. The library will be closed in observance of Patriot’s Day.

One of our participants has observed that senior management of a company is typically faced with dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of issues to consider and, potentially, address. Recognizing that they cannot all be solved in the short term (and, for some, ever), management must identify a much smaller number to try to resolve—by evaluating their likely impact on the organization as a whole, their degree of urgency, and the availability of strategies to address them.

We’re going to apply the same thought process to the issues facing the U.S. as a whole:

If you were “in charge,” what would the top five priorities be for the U.S. [government] to focus on?

Hopefully, participants will be armed with some thoughts as to why the issue should make the “short list,” and what their strategy (hopefully a realistic one) would be to address each issue they identify.

It’ll be interesting to see what we come up with “priority problems” and, even more so, what our strategies for solving (or addressing, or mitigating) them will be.

See you in ten (or so) days.

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