past event
US Economy

Securing Our Economic Future: Policies to Strengthen the Middle Class and Address Climate Change

Two pressing economic challenges facing the next administration are building a robust and prosperous middle class—especially after the COVID-19 pandemic—and mitigating the economic costs of climate change. Join us for a discussion about policy priorities to address these challenges and promote a stronger 21st century economy.

2:00pm – Welcoming Remarks

Erskine Bowles, Co-Chair, Economic Strategy Group

2:05pm – The Economics of the Middle Class: New Evidence and Implications for Policy

There is widespread concern about the economic health of the American middle class and a great deal of attention is paid to policies that aim to bolster the economic security of middle class households. But assessing the economic wellbeing of the American middle class is a complicated empirical task that requires understanding the full impacts of labor market trends, tax and transfer policy, consumer spending and prices, and the volatility of income. In this session, experts will present a nuanced assessment of how the economic situation and financial security of middle-income Americans has changed in recent decades, along with new evidence on the generosity of taxes and transfers over time. Finally, as the current pandemic and associated economic situation has highlighted housing insecurity as an ongoing challenge for many Americans, this session will also feature a specific policy proposal for an emergency rental assistance program for low- and middle-income Americans.

— Bruce Sacerdote, Richard S. Braddock 1963 Professor in Economics, Dartmouth University
— Adam Looney, Professor of Finance, Marriner S. Eccles Institute, University of Utah
— Katherine M. O’Regan, Professor of Public Policy and Planning, NYU Wagner School of
Public Service and Co-Director, NYU Furman Center

Moderator: Melissa S. Kearney, Neil Moskowitz Professor of Economics, University of Maryland; Director, Economic Strategy Group

3:00pm – Break
3:15pm – Introductory Remarks

Henry M. Paulson, Jr., Co-Chair, Economic Strategy Group

3:20pm – Policy Options for Addressing Climate Change

Climate policy is returning to the forefront in Washington as a new administration takes the helm. The costs of inaction on climate change have been mounting, with potentially catastrophic consequences for human health and prosperity. Meanwhile, the burden of addressing the challenge remains daunting, as differences in risks, priorities, and cost-benefit tradeoffs across regions hinder coordinated action within the United States and around the world. This panel will focus on major policy mechanisms for addressing climate change and discuss opportunities for and barriers to implementation. This conversation will feature three climate policy experts who will discuss market-based strategies for reducing carbon emissions; the use of climate-control mechanisms such as carbon dioxide removal and solar modification; and policies to mitigate climate risk and promote adaptation.

— Trevor Houser, Partner, Rhodium Group
— David Keith, Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics, John A. Paulson School of
Engineering and Applied Sciences; Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
— Roberton Williams, Chief Economist, Climate Leadership Council
— Kate Gordon, Director, Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, California

Moderator: Gillian Tett, Chair of Editorial Board and Editor-at-Large, US of the Financial Times

4:15pm – Closing Remarks

Melissa S. Kearney, Director, Economic Strategy Group

This event coincides with the release of the Economic Strategy Group’s edited policy volume Securing our Economic Future, featuring nine chapters by leading experts on the economics of the middle class, geographic divergence and place-based economic development, and the global climate challenge.

Event information
Thu Dec 10, 2020
2:00pm - 4:20pm EDT