The purpose of this course is to give students a comprehensive overview of the major issues facing U.S. fiscal policy, with special emphasis on structural issues, such as the problems facing the major entitlement programs: social security, and Medicare/Medicaid. The course will emphasize the economic aspects of fiscal issues, but will also address their historical roots and political aspects. For example, its discussion of expenditure will address the constraints posed by the budget system and the political process on expenditure control. Similarly, it will explore how politics has shaped the tax system, and why the government policy discussion is so often stymied. Washington-based experts in the field will be included in presentations and class meetings.
Taught by Sandy Mackenzie