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Washington, DC American Democratic Capitalism July 23 – August 5, 2017

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Part of our 7-week Political Studies Program. Apply for this course or our full summer program. $1,000 stipend, plus course materials and housing.

This intensive two-week seminar is run in conjunction with National Affairs magazine. It aims to educate undergraduate students and recent graduates about the intersection of theory and practice in our national politics, and particularly in our key economic debates. Students will also learn from and interact with distinguished experts in various arenas of public policy.

The program will consist of two sessions per day over a two-week period. Each morning, students will participate in a seminar led by National Affairs editor Yuval Levin on the philosophical underpinnings of key issues in American public life.

Each afternoon, they will participate in a seminar led by a leading think-tank or academic expert on that individual’s area of expertise and will consider how the practice of policy-making relates to the principles underlying our constitutional system and our political life.

Among the topics to be covered are:

Entitlement reform

Health care


Tax policy


Students will gain a deeper understanding of the key domestic challenges confronting our country, of just what policymakers do, of how economics and politics interact, and of how to approach some of our most contentious national debates.

Time and Location
This two-week course will take place in Washington, DC. It is a full-time commitment for Monday–Friday, with required sessions in the morning, afternoon, and some evenings.



Recommended Reading: National Affairs is a quarterly journal of essays about domestic policy, political economy, society, culture, and political thought.

Session 1 (Morning): Introduction                                          


Session 1 (Afternoon): Daniel DiSalvo, Manhattan Institute, on Public Policy as a Profession

Session 2 (Morning): Aristotle and Locke on Economics       


Session 2 (Afternoon): Daniel DiSalvo, Manhattan Institute, on Public-Sector Unions


Session 3 (Morning): Adam Smith on Life in a Free Society  


Session 3 (Afternoon): Scott Winship, Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, on Measurement and Policy


Session 4 (Morning): The Progressives and the Welfare State


Session 4 (Afternoon): Scott Winship, Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, on Inequality and the Middle Class


Session 5 (Morning): Responses to the Welfare State         


Session 5 (Afternoon): James C. Capretta, AEI, on Budgets and Fiscal Policy


Session 6 (Morning): How Government Works, Why Government Fails             


Session 6 (Afternoon): Reihan Salam, National Review, on Journalism, Politics, and Policy

Session 7 (Morning): Health Care and Entitlements                       


Session 7 (Afternoon): Aaron Nielson, BYU Law, on Regulation


Session 8 (Morning): Tax Policy


Session 8 (Afternoon): Aaron Nielson, BYU Law, on Regulation


Session 9 (Morning): Higher Education and Liberal Education


Session 9 (Afternoon): Michael McShane, AEI, on K-12 Education


Session 10 (Morning): Michael McShane, AEI, on Choice in Education       


Session 10 (Afternoon): Welfare and Economic Mobility – and Concluding Discussion    


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