Fiscal cliff class

By Ali DeRees

A new course within the political science department allows students to work with real life issues both the federal and state government are currently facing.

“The Fiscal Cliff: Taxing, Spending, Debt, and Deficits” is a course designed to give students the opportunity to work both individually and in groups on projects such as balancing the budget, avoiding a government shutdown and reforming different laws and taxes. 

The course is taught by Chuck Moss and Michael or “Mickey” Switalski, both accomplished politicians with extensive backgrounds in local and state government. 

 

Behind the podium

Moss is a law school graduate of University of Detroit Law School. He was a political columnist for The Detroit News and also did political commentary in radio and TV. He has served three terms at the Oakland Country Commission and three terms at the Michigan House of Representatives. Within his three terms at the House, Moss was Chairman of the House of Appropriations Committee. 

Switalski is the newly elected treasurer of Roseville. He is a Roseville native and served on the Roseville City Council. He has served terms two terms as a legislator in the House of Representatives and two terms as a Senator in the Michigan Senate. Switalski has taught classes at Oakland University for three years and has also taught at Macomb Community College. 

In the three and a half hour class, students do a range of activities, from quizzes and readings to debates on current government issues. 

Moss described how topical the class has been and how beneficial it has been for the students.

“The night, for instance, Congress was debating the budget, we came in and debated the budget. We came in and had half you guys Democrats, half you guys Republicans, half you guys House, half you guys Senate, gave them some objectives and said alright 9:00 p.m. is the equivalent of midnight, the government shuts down at midnight,” he said. “We told them don’t shut down the government, don’t do it, and they got it done.” 

 

Fiscal responsibility

Moss has also been impressed with the students. 

Switalski is pleased to see the students have grown since the beginning of the semester and their focus on the reality of government activities. 

Switalski said there are four people in the class working on their own campaigns.

He said one student asked if being on the legislature in Lansing was as much fun. 

“Way more fun, way more fun!” Moss said with a laugh.