It seems somehow shocking to suggest that the American President be given more power today…Trust me…Having done so in the context of this EconTalk episode in different online media (here, for example), the reactions are strong. But that’s just what this week’s guest, Stanford political scientist Terry Moe, suggests. His reasons are interesting…and he suggests the sort of change he proposes might actually result in smaller, not to mention more efficient, government.

1. What is the mechanism by which Moe suggests more power be shifted to the President? How does he think this will increase governmental efficiency, and how convincing do you find his argument?2. Moe suggests that defining what are pressing policy problems (and their respective solutions) is a part of the democratic process. What would Pierre Lemieux say about this? Can we really define the “we” effectively enough to accomplish this?

3. Part of Moe’s argument is that the US Constitution is outdated, and that the crux of the problem lies with Congress. Roberts and Moe note how different the Senate, in particular, was at the time of the Founding. To what extent might a return to this model increase the check on legislative power which Moe blames for our current inefficient state?

4. Is Moe’s proposal more attractive to “big government” or “small government” people, and why? What do you think would be the most effective way to “sell” such a proposal to the latter?