Beyond Labels

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



7/24: Up for grabs

Tomorrow’s Beyond Labels discussion will have no predetermined topic, so we can be as freewheeling as the participants would like.

Next week’s discussion will be about education in the U.S., in particular, the recent declines in math and reading scores amongst eighth-graders (the age at which, I guess, we do comprehensive testing).

More to come on that subject in the next few days.

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.

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