Suggested Discussion Outline

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Suggested Discussion Outline

Post by johnkarls »


In trying to make his book title sound like “Five Easy Pieces” (the classic 1970 Jack Nicholson movie which received Oscar nominations for Best Picture & Best Actor), James Stone picks 5 of the nation’s most challenging problems -- fiscal balance, inequality, education, health care and financial-sector reform -- and, for each, posits a thesis of allegedly-easy solutions.

It is suggested that we focus on each of our focus book’s 5 problems for 20 minutes, which (after deducting from our 120 total minutes, 5 minutes for voting for July’s focus book) should leave a cushion of 15 minutes in case anyone just has to get in a last comment “after the bell” on any of the 5 problems.

For each of the 5 theses, please ask yourself the following questions --

1. Did James Stone identify the cause of the problem correctly?

2. Whether or not Stone identified the cause correctly, do his proposed solutions help to solve the problem?

3. Are there better solutions to solving the problem?

[NB: These 3 questions were posed as part of The Short Quiz whose Suggested Answers were circulated with last Saturday’s weekly e-mail and posted on If everyone planning to attend reads Yours Truly’s Suggested Answers, he won’t have to say anything during our discussion.]

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