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Tax Policy & Social Justice

Professor
Credits
2.00

Everyone is touched by taxes and much of our social policy and economic policy are implemented through the tax system. The Tax Code is replete with instances of discrimination and economic injustice on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, immigration status, and certain social characteristics, such as marital status. Having a system built around taxing the family unit, necessarily creates structural biases between singles and married couples, which results in economic biases. Using the tax system as a tool for social policy on top of that further skews the incentives and creates significant economic injustice largely on the basis of race and gender. The differences between the taxation of income and wealth further the wealth disparity. Many of the policies that result in racial, gender, economic, and other social injustice were actual created in the name of equity or improving the situation of the poor. Some areas of discrimination in the Tax Code have been improved but there are many left. We all suffer for them. This course will explore the manner in the tax system in designed, so that we can understand where there is structural bias. We will also explore a variety of specific areas of the tax system to explore instances of implicit and explicit creation of economic disadvantage, injustice, and discrimination through the tax code. This course will include discussions on the tools available to all lawyers and advocates to effect meaningful change in the system. Introduction to Taxation is not a prerequisite.