F203 Summer 2020 Growing Economic and Social Inequality in America: Should Public Policies Be Changed?
Wednesdays, 9:40–11:05, June 24–July 15
Instructor: Theodore Breton
Since the 1980s, income in America has increased for the top 50%, and especially for the top 1%, but not for the bottom 50% of the population. The bottom 20% of the population subsists on incomes that cannot cover the costs for a family. Perhaps more worrisome for social stability, these growing and likely persistent differences in income appear to be creating education-based social classes which could exacerbate the political polarization already observable. This course will first examine trends in economic and social data, discuss their causes and social implications, and consider whether the situation justifies changes in public policies. It will then consider whether adjustments in education policy or tax structure could alter these trends and whether they might be required to prevent the economic and social instability that can accompany excessive economic inequality.
Theodore R. Breton has over 40 years of experience as an economist and professor of economics. He has published extensively on the effect of education policies on student achievement and the effect of student achievement on economic growth. He has a PhD in economics from George Mason University.