Your assignment is to analyze the STRUCTURAL ARRANGEMENTS involved, showing how the structure gives rise to efforts to change this law. Attend to the parties who are in conflict. It will require some disciplined thought to identify even a majority of parties! 1986 was an election year. Tax reform had been on the public radar since the late 1970s and it had been one of the central domestic issues of the Reagan administration. “Supply side”” economics (see Phillips) was a conservative mantra embraced by Ronald Reagan in his first electoral campaign (and condemned as “voodoo economics”” by one of his republican competitors).
Treat this as an issue of CLASS POLITICS rather than status politics. If you identify any status issues, ignore these for the current assignment.
Specifically, do the following:
Identify the parties involved in the underlying conflict that gives rise to the legislative proposals. Focus on the important parties.
You may want to find a way to simplify parties into larger groupings, but in doing so, do not lose track of the multiplicity of parties and interests. If you do simplify, identify the parties you are grouping and indicate some of their differences and the reason they joined together. (Show me that you recognize the differences in structural position [therefore interests] between parties who may make a tactical decision to join together on a common position.)
Identify at least one relationship between the parties that affects the phenomena at issue, in this case, whether to change a long stable tax code.
Show how the interests of the parties arise out of the relationships involved. Concentrate on interests arising out of the structure that pits the contesting parties against each other. For example, persons who must sell their labor may have little interest in tax provisions affecting Capital Gains while salaried professionals may. Employers may have an interest in sheltering offshore income from U. S. tax liability and an independent interest in how retirement funds are treated for tax purposes. Persons with sufficient wealth to subject their estates to estate taxes may seek to minimize that tax bite.
The key point is that each of these possible interests arises from a specific relationship or set of relationships. The job is show how interests arise out of relationships.
Identify the resources that are being used in the struggle over this issue. Who controls resources? Were the resources present before the struggle started or were they discovered or created during the struggle. Attend to ideological as well as personal and material resources. Money, arguments (natural law, racial assumptions, views about property), access to the courts, existing treaties are all at play and potentially resources.
What did parties actually do with their (material and symbolic) resources in attempting to achieve their interest in the conflict? Identify key decisions and key actions. (Hiring a nationally known lawyer, making campaign contributions, running advertising campaigns, organizing rallies are all examples of a relevant acts.)
Use the web resources I have provided
(http://wwwcj.mnstate.edu/classes/CJ309/assignment1_resources/index.html). There have been analyses in national news magazines and scholarly journals. Obviously, Phillips is relevant. If you know of other materials and wish to use these, be sure to document them. This dispute has a history (and that is Phillips” topic).
Wealth and Democracy, by Kevin Phillips