Coffee House Debates: What Good is Government Anyway?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

 

The recent government shutdown reopened a debate as old as 1776: What is the proper size and scope of government? Conservatives believe Big Government is the problem, especially at the federal level. Liberals counter that the nation’s social and economic challenges have become too unwieldy for market mechanisms alone to handle. Both sides agree that there is waste, fraud, and abuse, and both sides agree that the aim of public policy is human flourishing. But is that where consensus ends? To debate the size and scope of the federal government, the Hauenstein Center hosted a forum featuring Mark Hoffman and Donijo Robbins, both professors in GVSU’s School of Public, Nonprofit & Health Administration. These two lively disputants not only aired their differences, but they also explored the possibilities of principled compromise and actionable common ground between liberals and conservatives. What Good is Government Anyway was the Hauenstein Center’s inaugural Coffee House Debate which was a part of the Common Ground Initiative.