David A. Conners
B CUSP 131
Various topics designed to respond to curricular interests and needs for first-year students. Offered: AWSp.
B CUSP 131B (SPECIAL TOPICS): Presidential Politics & Economics
As a class, we will explore the “hot-button” economic issues in the November 2012 presidential election – emphasizing the salient differences between “left” and “right” perspectives. We will examine the following key issues – among others:
• the overall strength of the economy (including the unemployment rate) • wealth and poverty issues: the top 1% and the bottom 99% • national health care, including what is meant by “Obama-care” • the growing size of the federal deficit • various environmental issues*
Beyond the economic issues, we also expect to analyze the pros and cons of the more important political issues – including the televised presidential debates.
* Disclaimer: It is understood that we may not be able to cover all of the issues in sufficient depth in one quarter. That said, as we approach the November election, it should be understood that, due to changing circumstances, the above list will no doubt be modified as some of the issues fade in importance, and others are elevated.
Student learning goals
The primary objective is to learn a bit of applied economics in the process of examining the political and economic issues inherent with the November 2012 presidential election.
General method of instruction
Frequent discussions of current events led by the instructor (who is an economist) -- including following closely the presidential issues by reading newspaper articles/the Internet, and by watching the televised debates.
A strong interest in the 2012 presidential election, as well as an inquisitive mind.
Class assignments and grading
Students will have several opportunities to express themselves verbally (via short written assignments, plus in-class discussions). In determining course grades, the instructor will emphasize the above, plus improvement made throughout the quarter.
Several short papers, participation in class discussions, perhaps some short quizzes, and a couple of written exams.