Democratic view on Welfare Reforms

For this final assignment you will be paired up with a classmate.  I have randomly assigned you to a team member.  In this assignment you will be completing your assignment from the following perspectives:

(1) as a policy advisor for the leading US presidential democratic contender; and

(2) as a policy advisor for the leading US presidential republican contender.

You will get 100 points for each of the two policies, and 50 points for each side of the policy as described below:

  1. for 50 points you will develop a democratic policy (including HOW you would PAY for it) and describe/illustrate it in detail; then
  2. for 50 points you will develop a republican policy (including HOW you would PAY for it) and describe/illustrate it in detail; then
  3. for 50 points you will create a presentation of your policy proposal as if you were the candidate delivering it or you were a political advertisement
  4. for 50 points you will create a presentation rebutting your team member’s policy proposal (aka you will do an ‘attack’ ad on the opposing candidate).

To earn all 200 points you and your partner must develop a policy proposal for each side of the political divide.

Please re-read the assignment description, then read the following:

  1. Come up with a policy that addresses a topic of interest to you (poverty, digital divide, environment, education, social decay, student loan debt — whatever!)
  2. Create a solution to the problem from a “conservative” viewpoint and a “liberal” viewpoint.
  3. Use the tools of economics as FOUND IN YOUR TEXTBOOK AND IN SCHOLARLY ARTICLES to craft a solution BASED ON ECONOMIC THEORY.
  4. Create a creative presentation (video, illustration, cartoon, commercial, PowerPoint, song, dance, etc, etc, etc) for EACH perspective (conservative and liberal).

You get 50 points for the conservative policy analysis, 50 points for the liberal policy analysis, 50 points for the creative conservative presentation, 50 points for the creative liberal presentation. You need to reference your team members positions and provide arguments that counter their position and their proposal.  Each of you needs to complete an analysis and presentation — but it needs to be coordinated with your team mate as they are arguing for a DIFFERENT solution to the same issue.  Each student completes their own analysis/presentation — based on the work that the other student is doing.

So — you have ONE topic/policy that is defined, analyzed and presented from 2 different ideological perspectives. This makes 4 components each worth 50 points, which I believe adds up to 200 points total.

Put another way….

100 points of 200 points are for your creative demonstration of ideas and economic thought as applied to a problem and presented from 2 different perspectives;

100 points of 200 points is for your in-depth critical thinking and analysis — your WELL-CITED and PROPERLY referenced use of ECONOMIC THEORY as applied to a single problem as analyzed from 2 different perspectives.

In other words…

Half of your final grade is related to your creativity

Half your final grade is related to your quantitative analysis skills

In more words….

I am grading you on your ability to think creatively and apply critical thinking to real-world problems.  Everything must be well-written and properly referenced and cited, or it is not professional and will not be acceptable for a 300 level college course.  Writing and critical thinking are vital to your long term success, and I want to make sure you get to practice those skills.  You are all smart individuals, show me what you got!

PS — for example, let’s say we look at illegal immigration.  One team member argues for one position (say build a wall and deport all illegal aliens) and the other argues for another solution (instant amnesty for all and citizenship for all).  Using the tools of economics (demand, supply, taxation, deadweight loss, changes to GDP and employment, public provisioning of social services, fiscal vs monetary policy….) would argue for why their stated position is rational and preferable to the other side’s position. Each team member takes on the persona of a policy wonk for one side of the political divide and makes strong arguments USING ECONOMICS for the position of the party/candidate.  My solutions above are clearly extreme versions of what the current political debate is — and I certainly take no side in this debate and will not criticize or mark down any assignment for the ideology or philosophy.  Positions must use data, facts, theory, and logic — this is not an opinion piece — even though the issues can be very heartfelt. This is an exercise in applying critical thinking and analysis skills to complex problems.

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