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The Think tank debut

There is no shortage of political argument in this country. Check out cable TV. MSNBC and Fox present opposite and usually predictable views of just about everything. CNN is less predictable but also often thrives on argument more than discussion.

This approach can generate a lot more heat than light. A whole lot of shouting and often not much in the way of new information. And not much time actually listening to the other side.

The result: way too often we get nowhere. Take a look at Congress. The result can be gridlock.

I can’t promise that we will never do that. Old habits are way too difficult to break. I can promise that we will try. That’s why we call the show The Think Tank. We will try our very best to get guests to think and to listen to one another as much as we can.

More discussion, less argument. Or, at the very least, we will go down trying.

I was given an extraordinary mandate by station management. We all know that really heated arguments can drive an audience. But I was told explicitly NOT to worry about that. I was told to put together a high quality show that informs people. If, at the end of the hour, you have learned something important that you did not know, we have done our job. If not, we’ve failed.

And if you really care about issues, I hope you share that goal. More facts, less slogan-based arguing.

So that’s what we are about. Not just arguing, but hopefully listening, learning and thinking. That’s why we called it The Think Tank.

A personal note: I have spent over 30 years on the other side of the microphone. I have been doing political analysis in Phoenix since I was all night on KTVK-TV Channel 3 in the 1980 election. So I am used to answering the questions. It will be fun to be able ask the questions now. I am looking forward to that.

First up: everyone in the world is talking about Boston. Nonstop. And repeating the same five minutes of actual information over and over. I thought about that, and concluded I could not figure out how to add anything to that discussion, at least not yet.

So, we won’t go there.

Instead, the governor has proposed a $1.6 billion expansion of Medicaid/AHCCCS in the state. Before your eyes gloss over, realize that that amount is equivalent to almost 20% of the state’s budget. And the proposal is structured to not cost the state general fund a cent.

How is this possible? Can this be true? What are the consequences of doing or not doing this?

Join us for an informed discussion with state AHCCCS Director Thomas Betlach and Maricopa Medical Center CEO and former Secretary of State Betsy Bayless to help figure this out.

This proposal dwarfs any other proposed change in the state budget by an order of magnitude. It’s real money. And since it is your money, you might want to join us.