Dr. Eric Keller, a recent Ph.D. graduate and a lecturer at the University of Tennessee, gave a lecture titled “Partisan Politics, Financial Deregulation and the New Gilded Age” on Sept. 1.
During the presentation, which was set up as an informal discussion, Keller asserted his findings on income inequality. While compiling his research for his dissertation, he came across a pattern; when the Federal Communications Commission used neoliberal economic policies, income inequality rose. Keller also found that income inequality was greater under Republican presidents from 1914 to the 1980s, but after that, income inequality seemed to be high no matter what party the president was a member of.
Keller then talked about the financial deregulation that rose during the Clinton Administration.
“I am a card-carrying hippie,” said Keller, explaining how his own political leanings effected his research. “I am a Democrat, and my family is Republican… so I wanted to see [income inequality] be higher under the Republicans, but the data just didn’t come out that way.”
Keller went on to talk about how his research showed that a lot of the deregulation came under the Clinton Administration.
The focus then shifted towards the recent political spectrum.
“In 2012, President Obama gave a speech about income inequality, and after that, both parties started to use the narrative,” Keller said.
He then went on to explain how he believes that income inequality will be a big part of the 2016 presidential race.
Although Keller stated that his research did not go as far as the Obama Administration, he made a prediction that income inequality will shrink in the coming years because the idea is now a mainstream issue.
Keller said that he hopes to eventually compile his dissertation into a book for publication, but stated that it will have to wait for a little while.
Photo by Ryan McGill
Edited by Courtney Anderson