Discussion Outline

Post Reply
Site Admin
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:48 pm

Discussion Outline

Post by UtahOwl »

Editorial Note: Each month, the person who suggested the book that was voted our focus at the previous month’s meeting is offered the option of preparing the Discussion Outline. June Taylor, aka Utah Owl, prepared the Discussion Outline. She is the head of radiology research for the U/U Hospital.

A. “Bromides to avoid,” according to the authors:

A-1. “The American political system will correct itself” – e.g., we’ve been here before & it’s all OK
A-2. Build a Third Party to rescue us from the dominance of the incompetent/corrupt D’s & R’s
A-3. A Constitutional Amendment to balance the Federal budget
A-4. Term limits for Congresspeople
A-5. Full public financing of elections

B. What Needs Fixing, according to the authors:

B-1. COOL DOWN THE UNBRIDLED BATTLE between Republican & Democratic parties to control Congress & the Presidency – which has landed us with a never-ending permanent campaign


B-2-a. Congress: Change Senate rules to

B-2-a-i. Remove or reduce the scope of Senate actions subject to filibuster
B-2-a-ii. Reduce scope for “holds”…perhaps by shining light on them?

B-2-b. Executive: Institute more BRAC-like solutions – e.g., the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) which is part of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) – for decisions where Congress is incapable of withstanding pressure on individual members to act only in the narrow interest of their constituencies rather than in the national interest. FYI: IPAB may not

B-2-b-i. ration healthcare
B-2-b-ii. raise revenues, premiums or cost-sharing
B-2-b-iii. limit benefits or change eligibility standards
B-2-b-iv. reduce payments to Clinical Labs before 2016
B-2-b-v. reduce payments to acute-care or long-term-care hospitals, or hospices, before 2020

C. Discussion Questions

C-1. Do you buy their arguments that carrying out any ( or all) of The Bromides won’t make any significant difference to our current plight? Do you have any other bromides to add to this list?

C-2. In the matter of moderating the fierce partisanship in our country, rank the items below in order of likelihood of being achieved - either before 2014..or in the next decade!

C-2-a. Moderate politics by “expanding the electorate” – pulling in more citizens with less-fixed partisan, ideological notions via Australian-style mandatory attendance at the polls, which would produce near-universal turnout

C-2-b. Reduce the bias against moderate candidates…and voters… by altering the political system that currently converts votes into seats in government:

C-2-b-i. Reduce gerrymandering of legislative districts
C-2-b-ii. Replace closed Primary elections with open or semi-closed primaries
C-2-b-iii. Replace winner-take-all systems with Instant-Runoff Voting (IRV) or some degree of proportional representation

C-2-c. Change campaign financing by requiring complete transparency regarding donors (both identity and amount) and by encouraging large numbers of small donations, as opposed to small numbers of large donations. “Reform in an Age of Networked Campaigns”

C-3. With respect to “Fixing” the government: Do you think either changing the Senate rules or the expansion of Executive power will occur before the 2014 election? Which is more likely? Which is more desirable?

C-4. In the most idealistic vision of the authors, the public discourse on politics can be made more functional, truthful and effective in influencing government policy. Which of the means below do you think can be implemented before the 2014 elections? And – for extra credit - would they work for the nearly-extinct species, The Utah Democrat?

C-4-a. Penalize by public shaming for lying openly & repeatedly (about people, institutions, etc) or trashing people, institutions or groups and denying their legitimacy

C-4-a-i. First 3 suggested targets: Stephen Schwarzman of the Blackstone Group, the racist Speaker of the Kansas House of Representatives Mike “Mrs. YoMama” O’Neal.and Rep. Alan West of Florida.
C-4-a-ii. Recent addition: Lame-duck Sen. Rick Santorum, for spreading lies during the Senate debate on the International Disabilities Act Dec 4 2012

C-4-b. Develop a continuous & visible FactCheck.org-type monitoring of the Internet and radio/TV, to call out egregious lies & calumny

C-4-c. Re-create the Public Square, funding this effort by a fee on TV broadcasters of 2.5 BILLION annually, to go to a public or private foundation to produce this miraculous Public Square

C-4-d. Create a Shadow Congress of former lawmakers from across the spectrum, to debate the issues and policies the way Congress is supposed to do

Post Reply

Return to “Discussion Outline - It's Even Worse Than It Looks by Mann + Ornstein - Dec 12th”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest