The COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic crisis have presented the nation with a once-in-a-generation challenge, exposing broad economic insecurity and stark systemic inequities among our nation’s workers, and our response will define us for decades to come. Join us as Aspen Economic Strategy Group Director Melissa Kearney, Howard University Economics Professor William Spriggs, and UnidosUS Chief Operating Officer Sonia M. Pérez, talk with New York Times Tax and Economics Reporter Jim Tankersley about how we can shape our recovery so that we emerge from this crisis a better and more resilient nation.
Melissa Kearney is the Neil Moskowitz Professor of Economics at University of Maryland, researching domestic social policy, poverty, and inequality. Director of the Aspen Economic Strategy Group, she’s a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and nonresident Senior Fellow at Brookings Institution. Previously, Kearney directed the Hamilton Project at Brookings and co-chaired J-PAL’s State and Local Innovation Initiative. She is a senior editor of the Princeton/Brookings journal The Future of Children, editorial board member of American Economic Journal: Economic Policy and Journal of Economic Literature, and advisory board member for the Notre Dame Wilson-Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities, Smith Richardson Foundation, and Russell Sage Foundation.
William Spriggs is a professor in, and former Chair of, the Department of Economics at Howard University and serves as Chief Economist to the AFL-CIO. In his role with the AFL-CIO he chairs the Economic Policy Working Group for the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD, and serves on the board of the National Bureau of Economic Research. He is currently on the Advisory Board to the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank Opportunity & Inclusive Growth Institute. He served on the joint National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Public Administration’s Committee on the Fiscal Future for the United States; and with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Committee on Closing the Equity Gap: Securing Our STEM Education and Workforce Readiness Infrastructure that produced the report: Minority Serving Institutions: America’s Underutilized Resource for Strengthening America’s STEM Workforce (2019).
Sonia M. Pérez is Chief Operating Officer at UnidosUS, the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States. During her career at UnidosUS, Ms. Pérez has conducted and published research on Latino social policy and demographic issues, guided the development of key programs, and has provided nonprofit management support to Hispanic community-based organizations on the U.S. mainland and in Puerto Rico. She also established UnidosUS’s Northeast Regional Office in New York and, prior to that, led UnidosUS’s work in Puerto Rico, launching the KIDS COUNT – Puerto Rico project, which published the first Databook on children in Puerto Rico. Her work has been cited in a range of English- and Spanish-language media. Prior to her roles at UnidosUS, Ms. Pérez directed a program for public housing residents in Puerto Rico and worked for Citi Community Affairs and at CIGNA Retirement Services.
Jim Tankersley covers economic and tax policy for The New York Times. Over more than a decade covering politics and economics in Washington, he has written extensively about the stagnation of the American middle class and the decline of economic opportunity in wide swaths of the country. Mr. Tankersley was previously policy and politics editor at Vox and before that, an economics reporter for The Washington Post. He covered the 2008 presidential campaign for The Chicago Tribune and began his career working for The Oregonian, The Rocky Mountain News and The Toledo Blade. He and a Blade colleague won the 2007 Livingston Award for Young Journalists for a series of stories exploring how and why the Ohio economy declined so dramatically over the course of a generation. A native of McMinnville, Ore., Mr. Tankersley is a Stanford University graduate, an avid camper and backpacker and the father of an 11-year-old named Max.