“It's a real public service to have debates that bring top-tier participants together and add the sizzle of prize fight competition to a discussion of issues of first-order importance.”
- The Atlantic
President & General Counsel, Center for Equal Opportunity
Director, Racial Justice Project & Professor, New York Law School
Dean, University of California, Irvine School of Law
Nonresident Fellow, Brookings & Co-Author, Mismatch
Central banks all around the world have been printing money. This policy, known as quantitative easing in banker jargon, has driven up the price of stocks and bonds. But will it lead to real and sustainable increases in global growth, or is it sowing the seeds of future inflation?
Executive Chairman, Capital Economics
Visiting Scholar, AEI & Former Partner, Bain Capital
Sr. Fellow, Rutgers Business School
Professor, MIT & Fmr. Chief Economist, IMF
Today, a national debate rages about the functioning of our criminal justice system. Is it fair? Does it serve the ends of justice and public safety? Does it apply equally to all? Prosecutors, endowed with both autonomy and immunity, hold immense power within this system. They control secret grand jury proceedings, who will be prosecuted, and the specifics of charges. Moreover, those charges are often based on complex laws -- and enforced by long mandatory minimum prison sentences -- creating strong incentives for defendants to capitulate to lesser charges, perhaps even to crimes they did not commit. Indeed, more than 90% of both federal and state court cases never go trial, but instead are resolved through plea bargaining. Autonomy and secrecy, complex criminal code and mandatory minimums -- in combination, these factors have given prosecutors enormous leverage, and the opportunity to wield it relentlessly and selectively. The results, critics charge, are the undermining of the right to jury trial, mass incarceration, public skepticism regarding equal justice, and immense pressure on every defendant. Yet there can be no justice without empowered prosecutors. And is abuse really endemic? Isn't the national crime rate down over the long-term, showing that these powers work? And would changes reducing the leverage of prosecutors in the criminal justice system weaken their critical responsibility to prosecute crimes of great complexity, keep communities and the nation safe, and secure justice? Do prosecutors have too much power?
If you could take a pill that would help you study and get better grades, would you? Off-label use of “smart drugs” – pharmaceuticals meant to treat disorders like ADHD, narcolepsy, and Alzheimer’s – are becoming increasingly popular among college students hoping to get ahead, by helping them to stay focused and alert for longer periods of time. But is this cheating? Should their use as cognitive enhancers be approved by the FDA, the medical community, and society at large? Do the benefits outweigh the risks?
Fmr. Federal Prosecutor & Professor, Georgetown Law
Fmr. Federal Prosecutor & Partner, Sidley Austin
Fmr. Federal Prosecutor & Partner, Jenner & Block
Fmr. Federal Judge & Sr. Lecturer, Harvard Law
Professor, UPenn & Chair of Neurology, Pennsylvania Hospital
Director, Neuroethics Research Unit, IRCM
Assoc. Prof. of Philosophy, Law, and Neuroscience, Georgia State University
Professor, Duke University & Director, Duke Science & Society
The Highway Trust Fund provides funding for road, bridge, and mass transit projects across the country – and it’s running out of money. Its revenue source, the federal gas tax, at 18.4 cents a gallon, has not been raised in over two decades. Congress has been kicking this can down the road for years. There are many arguments for a leaner fund, among them, the idea that scaling back the program would force government to prioritize projects and eliminate waste. But proponents of the tax say that it still plays a vital role in supporting infrastructure, and that perpetual shortfalls have led to construction delays and uncertainty. Should Congress raise the federal gas tax?
Executive Director, Colorado Dept. of Transportation
VP of Policy, Reason Foundation
Distinguished Visiting Fellow, The Heritage Foundation
Sr. VP & Chief Economist, American Road & Transportation Builders Association
Is China’s ascendancy a threat to the U.S.? China’s rise as an economic and military power, coupled with its aggression in the South China Sea, have led some to call for a major rebalance of U.S. policy and strategy. Can China be trusted to act as a responsible global stakeholder? And will they be a long-term ally, or adversary?