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Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program
Course Description

Purple Nation: Welfare and Politics

Instructor(s): Thomas (Pat) Oles, Social Work

In this seminar, students study the history of social policy in the United States, the everyday lives of poor and working class people, and current policy debates in the press and Congress. Students consider how conservatives and liberals think about the following questions. What causes poverty and inequality? Why does inequality persist during prosperity? Should government intervene in the economy to produce a more equitable distribution of wealth? Do social programs work? Are some programs more effective than others? Is political consensus about the role of government possible or necessary to ensure prosperity and a more equitable distribution of wealth in the 21st century?

Course Offered