Beyond Labels

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



May 6: Corporate Money in Politics

We’ll revisit the subject of “money in politics” to see if we can develop some new insights. (As you may recall, this is a subject we’ve discussed several times in the past.)

The original suggestion was to discuss a question something like:

Which is the greater threat to our country: “government” or “corporations?”

We can go in lots of directions:

  • What do we mean by “our country?”
  • Is the perceived “corporation” risk mostly about their concentration of power and Citizens United free speech rights or is there more to be concerned about?
  • If we think narrowing Citizens United is appropriate, how would we do so? (Citizens also covered labor unions. What about Political Action Committees? “Super-PACs?” How about significant political expenditures by individuals such as Tom Steyer or Sheldon Adelson?
  • Does “money in speech” reform have a chance of passing our federal and state legislatures? While many support reform in principle, enthusiasm seems to wane when the actual specifics are defined. Here’s an article on New York’s recent experience.

For Monday, July 30: Healthcare

Tomorrow’s topic will be healthcare in America–again.

Many Beyond Labels attendees appear to support “Medicare for All” in Maine or across the U.S. Is this the answer to our healthcare issues? Does Medicare “work?” Is it financially sustainable as configured, or is it a transfer of wealth from future generations to current Medicare beneficiaries? We’ve discussed this topic many times in the past, bot as the formal topic and informally in conjunction with other topics.

REMINDER: We meet in the Bass Room tomorrow.

For Jul 23: The Proper Role of Government

We’ll explore what “services” should properly be provided by government and which should be provided elsewhere—by the private sector, by charitable organizations, by individual households.

Most important to the “what” will, of course, be the “why” (this and not that)and “how” (to deliver it—to whom, and to pay for it.

We should also consider, within “government” how it’s role should be divided between Federal, State, County and Town governments.

Here’s an op-ed from today’s Post that I think provides some relative context to the discussion—though it’s not strictly on-topic.

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