Mike O’Connor presents “Two Santas: The Intellectual Roots of Conservative Tax Cutting”

A Commercial Republic Book Cover

Date: October 8, 2014
Time: 12:00-1:00
Location: IUPUI University Library 4115S (IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute)

“Tax-cutting is such a prominent concern among conservatives today that one could understandably believe it to be central to the meaning of conservatism. Yet this is not the case: during the middle of the twentieth century, conservatives were defined economically less by their hostility to taxes than by their commitment to balancing the federal budget. The shift between these two positions is largely the result of the influence of ‘supply-side’ economics, an intellectual orientation that arose in the 1970s as a response to a very specific set of economic circumstances. Once some conservatives noticed a political constituency for this position, however, their call to relieve the burden of taxes on the citizenry began to harden into an ideological position. The talk will explain the genesis of supply-side economics in the ‘stagflation’ of the 1970s and its conversion from an economic to a political doctrine in subsequent decades.”

Mike O’Connor is the author of A Commercial Republic: America’s Enduring Debate over Democratic Capitalism (Kansas, 2014). He has also published articles in Contemporary Pragmatism and The Sixties. O’Connor teaches at Georgia State University in Atlanta, and holds a Ph.D. in American studies from the University of Texas at Austin. He was one of the original bloggers at the U.S. Intellectual History website, and served as a founding officer of the Society for U.S. Intellectual History.

IU center to host national conference on civic literacy

ExhibitionINDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana University Center for Civic Literacy, a research center at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, has announced that its second annual conference will take place Aug. 22 to 24 at the Crowne Plaza Union Station in Indianapolis. The public is invited to attend.

“The data is depressing,” said Sheila Kennedy, director of the Center for Civic Literacy and professor of law and public policy at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI, which houses the center. “Only 36 percent of Americans can name the three branches of government. Only 21 percent of high school seniors can list two privileges that United States citizens have that noncitizens don’t. Fewer than a quarter of the nation’s 12th-graders are proficient in civics. How can uninformed people make the informed decisions that are critical in our society? That is what the Center for Civic Literacy addresses, and what we will discuss at our conference.”

The Center for Civic Literacy pursues an aggressive research agenda to identify and address the causes and civic consequences of Americans’ low levels of constitutional, economic and scientific knowledge. It hosts a website and blog, and publishes a quarterly newsletter and an online, peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal.

The theme of this year’s conference, held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Center’s National Advisory Committee, is “Connecting the Dots: The Impact of Civic Literacy Gaps on Democracy, the Economy and Society, and Charting a Path Forward.”

The program will open with a welcome from former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Theodore Boehm, who chairs the center’s National Advisory Committee, and will include addresses from Ted McConnell, executive director of the Civic Mission of Schools Campaign; David Schultz, professor of political science at Hamline University; Dallas Dishman, executive director of the Geffen Foundation; and Kim McLaurin, director of the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, among others.