The second and final day of the "Critical Perspectives on Tax Policy" Conference at Emory is under way.
This morning, Tony Infanti (Pitt) presented "A Critical Perspective on International Equity." In that paper, he argues that tax issues are embedded in larger foreign policy and development issues.
Sarah Webber (Business, Dayton) presented "Earned Income Tax Alternatives: A Comparative Look at Other Developed Nations' Response to Working Poor Assistance." She examines the tax benefits provided by G8 countries, as well as Norway, Australia and New Zealand, for families and low-income workers. Professor Webber looks at the extent to which other countries have adopted aspects of the U.S. EITC program, and considers alternatives to a U.S. model.
Devin Fergus (History, Hunter College) spoke on "Reagan's Tax Eaters: College Students and the Origins of Today's Student Debt Crisis." He is at work on a book and a documentary film on the subject. I was captivated by Professor Fergus's explanation of how federal law, rates of inflation, the rise of conservatism in America - among other factors - have contributed to a true economic crisis in the financing of higher education.
The current project of Palma J. Strand (Creighton) is "Give the Kids a Break: Using Tax Policy to Support Care for Children." She investigates poverty and economic inequality experienced by women and children. Professor Strand argues for tax benefits for care-providers.
Camille Walsh (Interdisciplinary Studies, U. of Washington Bothell) spoke on "Racial Consciousness and 'Taxpayer Citizenship' in 20th Century School Funding Debates." This is the topic of her book manuscript, Racial Taxation: School Finance and "Taxpayer Citizenship," 1869-1973, in which she argues that the historic disaggregation of racial and class identities in education-related litigation arose, in part, out of an interconnected set of ideas about property tax, citizenship, and a right to education.
After lunch, Nancy Knauer (Temple) will offer reflections on and lead a discussion about "Critical Tax Theory: Earning a Place at the Table."
The conference is a great size -- 19 participants -- which has allowed for ample discussion. The schedule also has included several unhurried breaks and meals, which has encouraged informal interaction. Sometimes conferences can be too big or too programmed, but conference organizer Dorothy Brown (Emory) struck the right balance (and knows how to pick a great restaurant!).