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Struggling to Make Ends Meet In America: What can we do? Susan Jakes (919) 515-9161 Robin Roper (919) 515-9138

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Presentation on theme: "Struggling to Make Ends Meet In America: What can we do? Susan Jakes (919) 515-9161 Robin Roper (919) 515-9138"— Presentation transcript:

1 Struggling to Make Ends Meet In America: What can we do? Susan Jakes (919) Robin Roper (919)

2 Elements of Deliberation Deliberation is dialogue for weighing costs, benefits, and consequences. Deliberation is not a debate to be won. Deliberation changes relationships, which makes more action possible. Through deliberation, a shared sense of purpose and direction may be created. This shared sense of purpose and direction is a public voice and is essential for public complementary action.

3 DebateDialogueDeliberation Contest Compete Argue Promote opinion Persuade Seek majority Dig-in Tightly structured Express Choose solution Usually fast Clarifies Majoritarian Partisan victory Explore Exchange Understand Build relationships Understand Seek understanding Reach across Loosely structured Listen Dev. understanding Usually slow Clarifies Non-decisive Private understanding Choose Weigh Decide Make decisions Understand Seek integrative decision Find common ground Framed to make choices Listen Decide common path Usually slow Clarifies Complementary Public knowledge

4 Groundrules Everyone should participate. Please share your thoughts on the issue. Focus on what others are saying about the approach. Think about what their perspectives are on each approach. Listen to them. Share your ideas and thoughts. Don't hesitate to share stories that help present our ideas. Stories help explain the personal value behind the idea. Deliberation allows a time and space to share our life experience stories. The facilitator will stay neutral but will encourage us to express the values behind our ideas on each approach. We will deliberate all three approaches. You are encouraged to think about the advantages and tradeoffs of each approach Remember, it is difficult work to deliberate, let's begin!

5 Introducing the Issue A big piece of the American dream is that if you work hard and play fair, you will prosper. In our Constitution we declare our commitment to “justice, domestic tranquility, and general welfare.” What has happened to the long held American ideal of “general welfare”, generally understood to include equal opportunity and a minimally decent life for all citizens?

6 Focus of the Discussion 35 million families have incomes below the poverty line Over 55 million families are in the working poor and middle class that are struggling to make ends meet The large number of middle class families facing financial insecurity is a fairly recent phenomenon.

7 Comparing Approaches 1. Stress Personal Responsibility 2. Increase / Protect jobs with Benefits 3. Rethink the Safety Net

8 Stress Personal Responsibility Beliefs: –People make bad personal decisions that get them into financial trouble –Individuals can and must make the effort to improve their lot –Parents have an obligation to provide their children with a stable family life –Young people need to stay in school and get an education to become responsible tax paying citizens

9 Concerns with this approach Too simplistic Minimum wage jobs do not provide an adequate income to support families There is an inequality in the public school system that disadvantages some children Societal forces encourage Americans to spend beyond their means

10 Increase / Protect jobs with Benefits Beliefs: –Hard work no longer leads to financial security –Multinational corporations continue to downsize, outsource, and consolidate in the hopes of improving their bottom line –We need more jobs with higher wages and good benefits –?

11 Concerns with this approach This approach will undermine the free- market economy Employers are already overburdened with government interference Increased costs will lead to increased prices for goods and services

12 Rethink the Safety Net Beliefs: –The historic safety net for people in need of assistance was provided by family, churches and charitable groups –The Great Depression resulted in many new government programs –These are now outdated

13 Concerns with this approach We can’t afford to increase spending on welfare right now (homeland security is more important) Government programs are unresponsive and inefficient Faith community is better than the government at helping people Band-aid approach, would increase dependency

14 Reflections on Our Forum How has your thinking about the issue changed? How has your thinking about other people’s views on the issue changed?

15 Reflections on Our Forum Can we, based on our deliberation, detect any shared sense of direction or any common ground for action? What did you hear the group saying, during our deliberation, about tensions between the approaches as we discussed the issue? What were the trade-offs we were willing to make as we deliberated? What were the trade-offs we were NOT willing to make as we deliberated?

16 Next Steps What do we still need to talk about related to this issue? How can we use what we now know?

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