Vol. 53, No. 4

In this edition

In this edition of The Ripon Forum, we take a look at the state of our national political discourse, and why facts matter now more than ever.

On the Front Lines of the Fight Against Opioids

There is hope for our communities. But it only will occur through continued collaboration between the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.  

What Medicare for All would Mean for Us All

Medicare for All would involve an unprecedented expansion of federal government expenditures and tax burdens.

Why the Electoral College Should be Preserved

The Electoral College, along with the Constitution’s other institutional arrangements, exists to safeguard the space where Americans participate in politics to make collective decisions based on equality.


Poppy MacDonald discusses the mission of USAFacts and the effort to combat misinformation heading into the 2020 election.

What Every American Should Know About the Debt & Deficit

In the current year, the federal government collected $3.47 trillion in revenues and spent $4.47 trillion, resulting in an annual deficit for 2019 of $1 trillion.

What Every American Should Know about U.S. Foreign Aid

At $39.2 billion for fiscal year 2019, foreign assistance is less than 1% of the federal budget.

What Every American Should Know about Our Health Care System

We can spend less – we just cannot spend less and still have as easy an access to the open-ended, technically-advanced, sophisticated health care delivery system that we have had in the past. 

What Every American Should Know about the Immigration Crisis

To overcome this crisis, we must rethink our asylum processes at the border and our deficient legal immigration system.

What Every American Should Know about Education

Preparing the next generation of Americans for the future is in our nation’s greatest interest and is our society’s greatest investment.

Free Speech is Not Perfect, but the Government as Censor is Worse

Individuals and private enterprise are the proper censors of bad speech.

The Positives and Pitfalls of Policing the Internet

For decades, many in the democratic world thought of the internet as an inherently “free and open” place, now many countries exert control over internet architecture within their borders.

Ripon Profile of Mike Braun

Indiana’s newest Senator discusses his private sector background and how it equips him to best address the challenges facing his state.

Ripon Profile of Mike Braun

Name & occupation: Mike Braun, U.S. Senator (IN)

Previous jobs held: Previously the founder and CEO of Meyer Distributing, a company I built in my hometown of Jasper that employs hundreds of Americans across the country.

Book(s) you’re recommending to friends: Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Challenge facing your state you’re working hard to address: The three things I’m working to address on behalf of Hoosiers are finding solutions to lower the cost of prescription drugs, addressing the opioid crisis, and workforce development that will keep our economy strong.

How has your background in the private sector affected your work in the Senate: In the private sector, we need to achieve real results for the customer or you go out of business. While Congress is more gummed up than I ever imagined, we need solutions and that’s why I’ve worked on separate legislation with Republican Senator Rick Scott and Democrat Senator Tammy Baldwin that lowers the cost of healthcare.

Finish this sentence: “If I could change one thing about American politics, it would be…”: How polarized and dysfunctional our political process has become. When President Obama was in office, Democrats supported border security but now oppose efforts by President Trump to address the humanitarian and security crisis on our southern border. Likewise, Republicans claim they’re for free market principals, but when it comes to the healthcare we’ve become apologists for an industry that is opaque and cloaked in secrecy.