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Fall 2015 - Spring 2016 Speakers

Bill White

September 16, 2015 at 5:00 pm, University Center Theater Room 103/203

America's Fiscal Constitution: Its Truimph and Collapse
Bill White

What would Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln, the Roosevelts, Truman, and Eisenhower have done about today’s federal debt crisis?

America’s Fiscal Constitution tells the remarkable story of fiscal heroes  who imposed clear limits on the use of federal debt, limits that for two centuries were part of an unwritten  constitution. Those national leaders  borrowed only for four extraordinary purposes and  relied on  well-defined budget practices to balance federal spending and revenues.  

That traditional fiscal constitution collapsed in 2001.  Afterwards—for the first time in history—federal elected officials cut taxes during war, funded permanent new programs entirely with debt, grew dependent  on foreign creditors, and claimed that the economy could not thrive  without routine federal borrowing.

For most of the nation’s history, conservatives fought to restrain the growth of government by insisting that new programs be paid for with taxation, while progressives sought to preserve opportunities for people on the way up by balancing budgets. Virtually all mainstream politicians recognized that excessive debt could jeopardize private investment and national independence.

With original scholarship and the benefit of experience in finance and public service, Bill White dispels common budget myths and distills practical lessons from the nation’s five previous spikes in debt. America’s Fiscal Constitution offers an objective and hopeful guide for people trying to make sense of the nation’s current,  most severe debt crisis and its impact on their lives and our future.

rule of law

April 7, 2016 at 9:30 am, Student Center Theater Room

"The Rule of Law": Current Status
James E. Fleming, Nadine Strossen, Steven Simpson, Tara Smith

Rule of law:  the just application of law that emphasizes no one is above the law.

Rule of law: an ideal we strive for as a society or government.

The meaning of the term is as varied as the many political debates that have invoked it. The University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs' “BB&T Speaker Series” hosts a panel of experts in the fields of law, civil liberties and philosophy to discuss “The Rule of Law: Current Status.”  The event begins at 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, April 7 in the UH Student Center Theater.  It is free and open to the public.

“This distinguished panel of scholars, from various backgrounds and viewpoints, will share their thoughts on a fundamental principle separating democracies from dictatorships,” said Jim Granato, professor of political science and director of the Hobby School. “The policy implications are profound, since ‘rule of law’ considerations in the United States cover the entire spectrum – from national security to domestic policies.”