Pizza and Politics- Size of Government

Posted: December 20, 2017 | Author: Cami Mathews | Read Time: 4 minutes

Does Government size really matterThe Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service hosts Pizza & Politics every Wednesday at noon to discuss a current political topic. Leavitt Center student employees research the topic and moderate the conversation. These discussions expose students to a variety of important issues and encourages them to share their own perspectives while learning all sides of an issue. Free pizza is provided for all who attend.

The discussion on size of government focused on the role of government, ending with specifics on disaster relief. The moderators were Jordan Call, a senior Criminal Justice major, and Shay Bauman, a senior Economics major. The conversation happened following both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.

Aside from a brief recap on the three branches of government and the general powers each possess, the conversation was not heavy on background information. Instead, students came with preconceived notions of what the government has done and should do.

What is the proper role of government?
Those that attend Pizza & Politics are typically conservative in their political views. This question set the tone of the room: most said the government should have very limited powers, some said it should maintain the powers it has.

For those that said the government should do less, they stressed the preamble of the Constitution. The government is in place to establish justice, ensure peace, defend the country, and take care of the citizens as well as possible.

The other side took the Constitution argument and flipped it on them, saying that in order to take care of its citizens, it needs to ensure basic rights. It was noted that health care is not a stated basic right, but that if it helps the citizens, it should be the role of the government to provide it.

Should the spending of the government increase, decrease, or stay the same?
The answers to this question varied. The side that said the government should do less, said the military should always receive as much money as possible. The side that said the government should do more said military budget increase was unnecessary, but the money should go to other areas such as healthcare or education.

Does government size affect corruption?
The audience stated that government size does not affect corruption, people affect corruption. There could be 100 good people in a room and 10 bad people in another, and the size would not affect which group does what. People are the reason for corruption and unethical decisions, not the size or role of government.

In a natural disaster, should the government give all the facts or try to limit the panic?
During Hurricane Katrina, information has been released that former President Bush and others knew about the strength of the storm, but did not want anyone to panic. They did not release the information until it was too late for a large amount of people to evacuate.

With this information, people were split in their answers. No one wanted to see lives lost in the storm, but with a mass panic in a city with millions of people, some audience members felt that it would lead to more harm than good. Others felt that people should be given a chance to leave and a heads up to try and save their families.

Thoughts on the government forcing evacuations vs strongly suggesting them?
The role and size of government conversation was back on track with this question. People felt that if a person wanted to wait out the storm and take their chances, they could and the government should not show up to their door and force them out. The officers and public servants that risk their lives to evacuate others is unnecessary if people are stubborn.

Though others agreed, some said that the government does not evacuate the lower income neighborhoods. Many people want to leave their area but do not have the resources to make it happen. Those in the audience that felt this way stated the government should assist with evacuations for all neighborhoods, but no one should be forced to do anything they do not want to do.

What is the solution to the argument on the size of government?
To put it simply, there is not a solution. No solutions came from a small conversation in Pizza & Politics. When the conversation broadens to larger audiences throughout the United States, no compromise will ever be reached.

Tags: Student Blog Leavitt Center

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