America's Job One: How a Deliberative Public Talks about the Economy

Kenny McGuane's picture

In the last four decades, the US has weathered recessions and enjoyed periods of growth and improvements in living standards. In good times and bad, “jobs and the economy” typically ranks at or near the top of the country’s most important issues. There is little disagreement about the goals: growth and prosperity, good jobs, fair wages, and an equal shot for everyone. But there are sharp divisions on how to achieve these goals.

Enduring Values, Changing Concerns: A Retrospective Analysis of NIF Forums on Jobs and the Economy from 1982 to 2020

Kenny McGuane's picture

Since its founding, the National Issues Forums (NIF) has revisited the issue of jobs and the economy on nine separate occasions, ranging from its inaugu- ral year in 1982 to its most recent forums in 2020. In this analysis, we have reviewed reports from those forums to understand how the nature of public discussion has evolved over almost four decades.

Four main themes have emerged from the review:

  • Enduring values
  • Changing concerns
  • Underlying causes
  • Policies

Forty Years of Citizen-to-Citizen Deliberation on National Security and America’s Role in the World

Kenny McGuane's picture

In an unpredictable, interconnected, and sometimes dangerous world, US military leaders and elected officials must make countless decisions that have the potential to impinge on the safety and freedom of US citizens. And everyday Americans must consider similar questions. What does national security mean? What role should the US play in the world’s affairs? What is the appropriate balance between freedom, safety, and protection of the world’s most vulnerable people?

Health Care 2020: How Can We Bring Costs Down While Getting the Care We Need?

National Issues Forums Institute's picture

Published in 2020, this 7-page report summarizes what was heard in forums that were convened between January and June 2020 by the nonpartisan network of the National Issues forums (NIF).

The report describes five main insights that emerged during the forums:

  1. An underlying stability in attitudes
  2. Concern for themselves and compassion for others
  3. A complex tragedy with no clear villains
  4. Pragmatism and an aversion to radical changes
  5. A different conversation

A House Divided: Observations from Nationwide Deliberative Forums

Kenny McGuane's picture

Each year, it seems more difficult for our nation to face and resolve difficult issues. Leaders often avoid important questions altogether. Confidence in governing institutions has fallen. Many Americans see mainstream media as biased, while social media have become a sort of echo chamber where people reinforce their own fixed beliefs. And in many cases, people say they are reluctant even to speak to family members or neighbors about important issues on which they may disagree.


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