Analyzing Weekly Policy Issues


1:10 PM – 2:50 PM

9/12, 9/19, 9/26, 10/3, 10/10, 10/17, 10/24, 10/31

This is a discussion course. Participants help select the topics to be explored with the instructor identifying the underlying policy issues while adding historical and theoretical perspectives. Class involvement, exchanging of informed opinions as well as the norms of civil conversation are encouraged.  Issues might include: Immigration/Refugee Policy, National Budget, National Tax Proposals, how to employ the unemployed, National Energy Policy, International Trade, Current Constitutional Issues, Transportation Infrastructure and Health Care Policies.


Syllabus: Analysis of Weekly Policy Issues

Erik Rambusch,

 The following lists the type of policy issues to be discussed.  The order in which they will be analyzed will be a function of how they emerge in the national debate.

  1. Immigrant/Refugee/Migrant Policy:  Define different classifications.  Should limits/criteria be set for each group? How should they be enforced?
  2. Nation Budget: Is the debt of the USA out of proportion to the GNP (Gross National Product)? Is the federal government is too big/inefficient/collecting too much money that could be better spent elsewhere? How should we reprioritize federal spending?
  3. National Tax Proposals: Can the present Individual/Corporate Income tax system be fixed –if so how? Should we establish a flat tax or value added system?
  4. How to Reduce Unemployment: Will training and more education help the less than fully employed reach their potential, and give the USA the better trained work force we need? What change of strategy would work more effectively?
  5. National Energy Strategy: Should we ban all future oil imports and/or coal burning electric generation plants? Should we require that all air conditioning should run on solar power generated by the user?
  6. International Trade: In the long run are unilateral trade agreements more effective then multilateral ones? What should we change/not change with NAFTA (North American Trade Agreement)?  Should we resurrect the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership)?
  7. Current Constitutional Issues: Example: Was the April bombing of a Syria Airbase constitutional?
  8. What should our future transportation Infrastructures look like vis a vis air, auto, trains and water? How should we finance this upgrade?
  9. Why is our tradition heath care policy at variance with most industrial world? How can we reduce cost without reducing quality? 

Facilitator: Erik Rambusch

Erik Rambusch earned his BA and MBA in Economics from Columbia University. Previously he held teaching and advisory positions at NCC and conducted graduate seminars at The New School in NYC for ten years. His corporate career was with The New York Times and Dun & Bradstreet. Eric also served as an officer in the US Army Corps of Engineers. He has led discussions on foreign policy issues for Lifetime Learners for the past five years.