Democracy Forum 7/15/16

Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine    
Engineer: Amy Browne

Program Topic: Privatizing Public Policy: Is Philanthropy Good for Democracy?

Key Discussion Point:
a) We discuss philanthropy, foundations, shadow networks, and the private drivers of public policy from the Koch Brothers to the Gates-inspired Giving Pledge.
b) To what extent is a libertarian world-view pushing down taxes and reducing the size of government while increasing concentrations of private wealth? Has there also been an increase
in charitable and public-benefit giving?
c) Is private generosity displacing public dollars in supporting charitable, educational, research, and other non-governmental institutions? Has this shift in funding created a change in priorities for these dollars?
d) How much of this private giving is transparent? Can we tell where the money is going and to what ends?
e) Government bureaucracy has a terrible reputation for waste and fraud. Is this kind of philanthropy more effective? Does it get the job done? Could the public sector spend the money more
effectively?
f) Whose interests are being served? Is this good for democracy? What can citizens do?

Guests:
Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology, Harvard University; sociology.fas.harvard.edu/people/theda-skocpol
Alec MacGillis, Alec MacGillis covers politics and government for ProPublica. www.propublica.org/site/author/alec_macgillis

The all-volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes:
John Bradford
Linda Hoskins
Ann Luther
Pam Person
Leah Taylor
Linda Washburn

FMI re League of Women Voters of Maine: www.lwvme.org

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