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Free Speech

What is free speech? What are the limits to free speech? How does free speech play out on university campuses and on social media platforms? This brief discusses freedom of speech as provided in the First Amendment of the Constitution, why it is important in a democracy, court decisions that have limited and/or expanded these freedoms over time, and the challenges of supporting freedom of speech while also promoting safety and security of the nation and its citizens.

Part of the Conversation Series: The 2023 Series The Active Citizenship Series

Government Regulation

Ideally, regulations are designed to protect individuals and/or the environment, yet regulations can negatively impact people’s ability to create innovative products or services to serve their communities and to employ people.

What the proper balance is between protecting citizens and not prohibiting growth remains an area of debate. This brief outlines and explores regulation from a free-market perspective with the goal of creating an economic environment where human creativity can best flourish.

Part of the Conversation Series: The Business Series

Government Transparency and Accountability

The United States political system was originally founded on the idea of consent of the governed. Today’s government relies on thousands of administrative officials, which makes it difficult for citizens to know who is making decisions. Only with transparency at the administrative level can citizens know the decision makers and the decision making process, which allows them to hold elected and appointed officials accountable for the results of those decisions.

Part of the Conversation Series: The 2023 Series

Government, Community, and Sports Teams: Tax Credits

The impact of sports in the United States is undeniable: sports teams have had lasting social and economic effects at the local level in their own communities and at the professional level across the country. What goes into the economic value of sports teams? What do sports bring to communities? What should the role be, if any, of government in fostering sports in community development?

Part of the Conversation Series: The Community Series

Health Care

From ancient times it has been understood that “Good health and good sense are two of life's greatest blessings.”
(Publilius Syrus)

Good health is a building block of a good life and the American Dream. Advanced medicine is modern-day blessings courtesy of economic development and American medicine is by some measures the best in the world, but costs have been rising for decades, creating problems of access and affordability, and suppressing wage growth. Reforms meant to address these concerns have had unsatisfactory results. Is there a better way?

Part of the Conversation Series: Personal Finance Series The 2023 Series

Health Disparities & Determinants of Health

Disparities in health and health care across the United States reveal weaknesses in the country's health systems. Understanding what these disparities are, how they originate, and their effects on health outcomes and the health care system can help determine strategies and policies that benefit the health of individuals, their communities, and the United States as a whole.

Part of the Conversation Series: The 2023 Series

Higher Education Reform

Education is the pathway to a productive life. Higher education has opened opportunities for millions of people, and in doing so has bettered our economy and society. But the existing system is not working well for many, and costs have been rising rapidly. Can it be made to work better?

Part of the Conversation Series: The 2023 Series


From the Great Depression to the housing market crash of 2008, or the plight of homelessness to the shortage of affordable housing, housing has been a pressing policy issue in the United States, and new trends are emerging in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Is owning a home still a crucial part of the American dream? What about housing for those for whom it has been a constant struggle? What roles do society and government play to meet the universal need for a safe place to call home?

Part of the Conversation Series: Personal Finance Series The Community Series

How We Build a Brief

The Policy Circle Briefs are at the heart of Policy Circle discussions. Focusing the conversation around a brief curated with subject matter expertise helps to ground the discussion in facts. Read on for an in-depth look at how we create The Policy Circle Briefs.

Human Trafficking

It’s difficult to believe that any form of human trafficking could happen in our own backyards, but it does. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are victims of human trafficking around the world, and tens of thousands are victims right here in the United States. Furthermore, because trafficking is frequently underreported, these estimates most likely represent only a small fraction of the actual cases. This brief presents an overview of human trafficking and what is being done around the world and here in the United States to combat this global challenge.

Part of the Conversation Series: The World View Series


“We are a nation of immigrants.” No doubt you have heard that well-known saying describing the rich tradition of people arriving from all over the world onto our shores to find opportunity and forge a new life of prosperity.

Immigration has also become a highly charged topic with wide-ranging viewpoints on who should be allowed entry and what the appropriate levels of immigration are for our country.

In this brief we provide an overview of this issue, define some key terminology, look at the history of immigration policy, understand the numbers over the years, outline varying viewpoints, explore areas of future reform, and identify resources where you can learn more.

Part of the Conversation Series: The 2023 Series The World View Series

Introduction to The Policy Circle

The Policy Circle brings together women in the same community to learn from fact-based research and strengthen their voices in public policy dialogue. By coming together and deepening our understanding of the issues we face in our communities, our states, and our nation, we feel heard, validated, and energized, and can come up with ways to influence policy.

Part of the Conversation Series: The Foundational Series