Should the Texas government do more to redistribute wealth from upper income to lower income households?

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1. One of the deepest fault lines dividing the political right and left in this country…and in Texas…is the appropriate role of the government in aiding the poor. Should the Texas government do more to redistribute wealth from upper income to lower income households? How might the state’s tax system be reformed to accomplish this? Is the present system regressive? Or is it fundamentally fair and conducive to economic growth?

2. Texas is the death penalty capital of the democratic world. Yet the state has one of the highest crime rates in the country. In addition to the ethical issues capital punishment raises, does this prove that the death penalty is ineffective? Discuss with reference to the theories of punishment, deterrence, isolation, and rehabilitation.

3. Is Texas’ “citizen legislature” really representative of its citizenry? Would Texas be better served by having a full-time, professional legislature rather than its present part-time one? What would be the likely benefits of such a change? Are there any costs that might come with it? Is such change even likely or realistic given Texas’ constitution and political culture?

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