So you want to be a public policy expert?  There are plenty of single issue hotshots around, people impressively schooled in a particular subject, prepared and eager to take on all adversaries.  But here we’re talking about a broad range of contemporary issues and what a well-versed policy wonk would need to know in order to speak with authority.  To those aspiring to such omniscience, here’s a course outline, i.e., a list of subjects and questions to be mastered.

Can we ever expect to achieve substantial reductions in poverty levels across the U.S.?
Will the racial divide in America ever be bridged?
Are college costs likely to be brought under control?
Will women eventually agree on the appropriate balance between employment, home and motherhood?
Is it at all likely that the Federal tax code can be revised in a fair equitable manner?
Can “big money” be removed from politics?
What aspect of personal privacy can we preserve?
Are newspapers likely to survive in their present form?
Can individual behavior be modified sufficiently in order to achieve markedly improved health outcomes?
Can health costs be substantially reduced without sacrificing access and quality?
Will college athletes in major sports ever be acknowledged as professionals and not students?
Can we reach agreement on the most effective balance between free enterprise and government regulation?
Will the U.S. and China emerge as friendly rivals?
Can we expect Muslim extremism to recede?
Will we be able to reduce the numbers of addicts and the amounts of illegal drugs consumed across the nation?
Is it too late to counteract the efforts of climate change?
Will we resolve the debate about the relationship between tax rates and economic growth?
Are we likely to agree on an immigration policy that a majority of Americans can accept?
Is there a cluster of policies that can help restore educational achievement levels?
What is the likelihood that the U.S. can achieve energy independence?
Can we expect the death penalty to gradually end in the U.S?
Can we agree upon a proper balance between environmental protection and economic development?
Will a majority of American commuters shift to mass transit systems?
Are we likely to substantially reduce our prison population?
Will we ever be able to register almost all Americans and remove most obstacles to voting?
Can we restore a robust level of social mobility in the U.S?
Will we see a workable level of bipartisanship restored?
Should and can America continue to serve as “policemen of the world”?
Can we achieve large reductions in nuclear armaments around the world?
Can we expect a significant rebound in American manufacturing?
Is cyber warfare and a reliance upon drones likely to replace the conventional tactics of our military?

If you’re prepared to offer insightful and objective analyses on most all of these issues, you may claim the title of policy expert.  You’ll probably not be elected to public office, but are likely to become a regular guest on the network and cable news show circuit.

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