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Issues for Debate in American Public Policy
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Issues for Debate in American Public Policy
Selections from CQ Researcher

Fifteenth

CQ Researcher: Award-winning writing; non-partisan reporting; current research.



May 2014 | 424 pages | CQ Press

This collection of non-partisan reports written by award-winning CQ Researcher journalists focuses on provocative current policy issues. As an annual publication that comes together just months before it goes to press, the volume is as up-to-date as possible. And because it’s CQ Researcher, the policy reports are expertly researched and written, showing all sides of an issue. Chapters follow a consistent organization—exploring three issue questions, then offering background, current context, and a look ahead—and feature a pro/con debate box. All issues include a chronology, bibliography, photos, charts, and figures.


 
ANNOTATED CONTENTS
 
PREFACE
 
CONTRIBUTORS
 
ENVIRONMENT
 
1. Climate Change
Are catastrophic climate change impacts inevitable?  
Is climate engineering a good idea?  
Should the United States adopt a carbon tax?  
Background  
Current Situation  
Outlook: Adapting and Leading  
Notes  
Bibliography  
 
2. Coastal Development
Should state and local governments block coastal development?  
Can the federal flood insurance program be fixed?  
Does New York City need floodgates?  
Background  
Current Situation  
Outlook: Resilient Coastlines  
Notes  
Bibliography  
 
BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
 
3. The Federal Reserve
Should the Fed’s mandate still include assuring maximum employment?  
Should the Fed continue its massive “quantitative easing” strategy of buying government securities?  
Is the Fed too close to banks it regulates?  
Background  
Current Situation  
Outlook: Continuing Conflicts  
Notes  
Bibliography  
 
4. U.S. Trade Policy
Will expanding free trade create jobs for Americans?  
Can U.S. firms compete with state-owned companies?  
Does expanding free trade help promote human rights and democracy?  
Background  
Current Situation  
Outlook: Change in China  
Notes  
Bibliography  
 
RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES
 
5. Media Violence
Does media violence cause aggressive behavior?  
Are there benefits from media violence?  
Should the government regulate violence in media?  
Background  
Current Situation  
Outlook: Debate Rages On  
Notes  
Bibliography  
 
6. Sentencing Reform
Should mandatory sentences be rolled back?  
Are lengthy sentences necessary to protect public safety?  
Do alternatives to incarceration reduce recidivism?  
Background  
Current Situation  
Outlook: New Consensus?  
Notes  
Bibliography  
 
7. Racial Profiling
Are racial and ethnic profiling prevalent in U.S. law enforcement today?  
Do aggressive stop-and-frisk tactics help reduce crime?  
Should courts take a leading role in combating police racial and ethnic profiling?  
Background  
Current Situation  
Outlook: Mean Streets  
Notes  
Bibliography  
 
8. Government Surveillance
Is government surveillance making the country safer?  
Does government surveillance violate civil rights?  
Does surveillance undermine Americans’ trust in government?  
Background  
Current Situation  
Outlook: More Cameras  
Notes  
Bibliography  
 
9. Gay Marriage
Does the Defense of Marriage Act improperly deny federal benefits to same-sex couples?  
Did California voters violate the U.S. Constitution by passing Proposition 8?  
Should the Supreme Court recognize a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry?  
Background  
Current Situation  
Outlook: A Lasting Shift  
Notes  
Bibliography  
 
SOCIAL POLICY
 
10. Polarization in America
Will political polarization inevitably increase across America?  
Does a no-compromise stance threaten U.S. democracy?  
Should the United States shift to a parliamentary system of government?  
Background  
Current Situation  
Outlook: Proposed Solutions  
Notes  
Bibliography  
 
11. Whistleblowers
Are national security leakers whistleblowers?  
Are federal whistleblowers adequately protected?  
Are private-sector whistleblowers adequately protected?  
Background  
Current Situation  
Outlook: Contagious Courage?  
Notes  
Bibliography  
 
12. Minimum Wage
Would raising the federal minimum wage mean job losses?  
Would raising the federal minimum wage reduce poverty?  
Would raising the federal minimum wage help the economy?  
Background  
Current Situation  
Outlook: Action Expected  
Notes  
Bibliography  
 
13. Government Spending
Is too much being spent on mandatory programs?  
Is too much being spent on Social Security and Medicare?  
Is too much being spent on discretionary programs?  
Background  
Current Situation  
Outlook: Forever Sequester?  
Notes  
Bibliography  
 
HEALTH
 
14. Mental Health Policy
Should states make it easier to force the mentally ill into treatment?  
Does the medical profession define mental illness too broadly?  
Do insurers treat mental and physical health equally?  
Background  
Current Situation  
Outlook: Legislation in Limbo  
Bibliography  
Notes  
 
National Security and Foreign Policy
 
15. Border Security
Has the border security buildup made the United States more secure?  
Is it possible to ‘seal’ the U.S. borders?  
Is the United States paying enough attention to security at its ports of entry, Canadian border and coasts?  
Background  
Current Situation  
Outlook: ‘Drone Recycling’  
Notes  
Bibliography  
 
16. Improving Cybersecurity
Are doomsday cyberwar scenarios exaggerated?  
Should the U.S. government impose cybersecurity standards on the private sector?  
Should the United Nations regulate the Internet?  
Background  
Current Situation  
Outlook: Managing Intrusions  
Notes  
Bibliography  
Key features

NEW TO THIS EDITION:

  • All selections are brand new and explore some of today’s most significant American public policy issues including U.S. trade policy, whistleblowers, media violence, racial profiling, improvements to cybersecurity, minimum wage, and gay marriage.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Pro/con boxes in every report examine two competing sides of a single question to enhance readers’ critical thinking skills.
  • Detailed chronologies put each issue into context.
  • An annotated bibliography and web resources allow readers to explore topics of interest in more depth.
  • Photos, charts, graphs, and maps clarify key points and enhance visual understanding.

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