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   Constitution Day Lecture - "How a Constitution of Limited Powers Can Protect Democracy From Itself."

   Date : Monday, 17 September 2012       From : 5:30pm   To : 7:00pm
   Category : Lectures/Conferences/Symposia       Location : Blount/Buckman Lobby

   Event Description :

James Capretta, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, will present "How a Constitution of Limited Powers Can Protect Democracy from Itself."

In the 20th century, the United States constructed a system of federally-administered entitlement benefits aimed at improving the economic security of the elderly, disabled, and unemployed. Critical court decisions paved the way for this legislation by expanding the basis for acceptable use of federal tax and spending powers. The aging of society and the pressure that comes from global economic competition will require updating and modernizing these programs for the realities of the 21st century, but the benefits conferred by the programs have proven to be so popular with voters as to be almost impossible to alter in any meaningful way through the legislative process. Is it the inevitable destiny of democratic societies to weaken themselves by voting for benefits today at the expense of tomorrow? What would the nation's founders have to say about this state of affairs? And what does our Constitution have to say about it?

Capretta will address these issues. From 2001 to 2004, he was an associate director at the White House Office of Management and Budget where he had responsibility for health-care, Social Security, education, and welfare programs.

Free and open to the public, this event is sponsored by the Project for the Study of Liberal Democracy, Academic Affairs, Department of Political Science and the Program in Political Economy.

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