Lecture covers US economic issues, systems of government


Brandon Lane

Scott Nikolai, political science professor, discusses the United States’ status in the global economy as well as the occurrences that led to our nation’s current deficit during an open forum on Debt and Deficit.

With the current political gridlock and recent government shutdown, people are wondering who is behind it and why it is happening. After weeks of questions from students, the Political Science Department decided it was time to address this issue for the entire University of Wisconsin-Platteville and the Platteville Community.

The open forum, “Debt and Deficit: Behind the Government Shutdown”, consisted of five speakers covering a range of issues from debt and deficit to the differences between presidential and parliamentary governments.

Dr. Rosalyn Broussard began the forum by selecting a couple of brave volunteers from her class to join her. Broussard addressed the government bailouts of 2008. She then spoke about the importance that we care about what our government is doing and what might happen in the future.

“Within the next generation, our biggest threat will not be terrorism but the inability to compete in the global market,” Broussard said, as she powerfully concluded her presentation.

Dr. Scott Nikolai delivered the night’s main address, covering the topic of where the United States currently stands on a global spectrum and the events and circumstances that have led the nation to this place, such as the housing crisis. After strongly emphasizing that our government just keeps spending, Nikolai concluded his presentation by having the crowd participate in the shouting of his words, “kicking the can down the road.”  This phrase encapsulates the idea that the government has done nothing to decrease spending.

Subsequently, Dr. Shan Sappleton, Dr. John Rink and Dr. Brian Peckham spoke about presidential vs. parliamentary systems of government, the Supreme Court, and The Affordable Care Act. Once they concluded, the audience had the opportunity to ask the professors questions of their own.

Sappelton responded to the question of how the university plans to get students interested in political issues such as these.

“I think it is the role of the professors to inspire the students to become politically active,” Sappleton said.