Briefs to be developed
Income & Wealth Inequality (Preview): Since 1981, there has been a significant and widening gap in income as executive compensation among the largest companies has risen much faster than that of the typical worker. The result has been a growing concentration of wealth that is counter-productive to our market-based consumer economy and also undermines the principles of American democracy.
Money in Politics: Wealth provides political access to the few who possess it and leaves those who lack financial resources with no voice, or a very quiet voice, in the political process. It follows that as wealth shifts to a small percent of the population, so too does political influence. While the US continues to have free elections, in many cases, and especially at the state and national levels, the wealthiest individuals contribute vast sums of money to promote the candidates and policies that they prefer.
Educating for Democracy: The strength of our American democracy lies not with agreement on government policy but with agreement on historical facts and how they’ve shaped our American political, economic, and social culture. Our founders understood that an informed electorate was vital to the future of their democracy, but Americans have constantly struggled with the question, “What should our schools teach our children?” That question has long been the source of a contentious debate around teaching “other people’s children” that has only been resolved by lack of resolution – and produced divergent histories of the nation’s evolution that from time to time have further divided the country and weakened the union, if not threatened its very survival.
Immigration: The increase in the number of immigrants to the US has brought renewed focus to our broken immigration system. Recent efforts to fix the system have again raised questions about the value immigrants bring to our country and who is to be held accountable for the presence of so many illegals. With climate change likely to contribute to even greater numbers of migrants and automation steadily eliminating jobs, we may need to find a new balance between the aspirations of the American melting pot and new economic and environmental realities.