Research Links and Critical Thinking Questions for September 2019 Issues

Aug 16, 2019 | Ideas For Teachers


Issue 1: Debt Ceiling H.R.3877 “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019”
Congressional Budget Office: “The 2019 Long-Term Budget Outlook”
Peter G. Peterson Foundation: “Debt Ceiling Update: What’s at Stake”
Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget: “Everything to Know About Debt Ceiling”
Bipartisan Policy Center: “The Debt Limit—What You Need to Know” “Debt Ceiling”

Issue 2: Reparations H.R.40 Summary and Text
Constitutional Rights Foundation: “Reparations for Slavery Reading” 
The Atlantic: “The Case for Reparations”
Oxford University Press: “Postconflict Reparations”
Axios: “The World’s Long History of Reparations”
CNN: “People Are Talking About Reparations. But It’s a Complex and Thorny Issue.”


Issue 1: Debt Ceiling

  1. What do you think about Congress’s decision to suspend the debt ceiling for two more years? What alternative solution(s) would you propose? Explain your reasoning.
  2. Read the Congressional Budget Office’s 2019 budget outlook (see link above). What is the long-term projection for the federal debt? How will this affect your future?
  3. When governments create budgets, they prioritize some programs over others (such as health care or defense). What types of trade-offs should be made, in your opinion, to reduce the national debt?
  4. How important is the issue of the national debt? Do you think this country is doing enough to address the problem? Why or why not?
  5. Looking at the “Buck Stops Here: What It Takes to Fund Our Nation” infographic, do you agree with the 2017 budget allocations? What would you change and why?

Issue 2: Reparations

  1. What are the arguments for and against reparations for slavery in the United States? Where do you stand, and why?
  2. Do you agree that some of the problems faced today by the African American community are the “legacy of slavery?” Why or why not?
  3. How are reparations for black slavery similar to, and different from, the reparations paid by the U.S. government to Japanese Americans interned in prison camps during World War II?
  4. What might a government program of reparations look like? How would you design it?
  5. Morally speaking, do you think a person can owe a debt based on the actions of previous generations? Why or why not?