Expanding Economic Opportunity for More Americans: Bipartisan Policies to Increase Work, Wages, and Skills
February 4, 2019
Despite a historically long recovery, the U.S. economy continues to face significant, long-term challenges. Many workers find themselves lacking the requisite skills and training to thrive in the modern economy. Most low- and middle-income workers have not seen meaningful increases in their wages, and many have fallen out of the workforce altogether. Geographic disparities in economic opportunity have become more pronounced: prosperity is increasingly concentrated in certain regions and cities, while other communities, particularly those in rural areas, have fallen further behind. Taken together, these challenges, though vexing and deep-rooted, are not insurmountable. As the 116th congress begins, lawmakers have ample opportunities to come together to advance bipartisan solutions to these challenges. The Economic Strategy Group highlights some of these opportunities with the release of Expanding Economic Opportunity for More Americans, a series of policy proposals that aim to expand economic opportunity for more Americans.
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Henry M. Paulson, Jr.
Co-Chair, Aspen Economic Strategy Group; 74th Secretary of the United States Treasury
Co-Chair, Aspen Economic Strategy Group; President Emeritus, University of North Carolina
America’s cities are its economic powerhouses. The 10 most productive cities account for nearly 40 percent of the nation’s GDP, despite containing only a quarter of the population. Yet, fewer workers are moving across state lines to areas of greater opportunity compared to previous decades, and workers in rural areas are lagging behind their urban counterparts. This panel features three policy proposals that address the causes and consequences of growing geographic disparities in economic opportunity, including zoning reforms to promote housing affordability in highly productive urban areas, business tax credits to offset the cost of minimum wage increases, and programs to promote employment in rural labor markets.
David Neumark, Chancellor’s Professor of Economics, University of California, Irvine.
Joshua Gottlieb, Associate Professor of Economics, University of British Columbia.
James Ziliak, Gatton Endowed Chair in Microeconomics, Founding Director of the Center for Poverty Research, University of Kentucky
Kevin Hassett, Chairman, White House Council of Economic Advisers
Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Melissa Kearney, Neil Moskowitz Professor of Economics, University of Maryland; Director, Economic Strategy Group
College graduates earn 65% more than non-college-educated workers and are twice as likely to be employed. Yet, only half of students who matriculate at four-year schools—and an even smaller share at two-year schools—earn their degree within six years. This panel discussion features a bipartisan proposal from Austan Goolsbee and Glenn Hubbard to invest in the upskilling of the American workforce and to promote college completion by better leveraging the potential of the community college sector.
Glenn Hubbard, Dean and Russell L. Carson Professor of Finance and Economics, Columbia Business School
Austan Goolsbee, Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Economics, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Chris Liddell, Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Coordination, The White House
Juan Salgado, Chancellor, City Colleges of Chicago
Penny Pritzker, Founder and Chairman, PSP Partners; 38th United States Secretary of Commerce
Greg Ip, Chief Economics Correspondent, The Wall Street Journal
In this fireside chat, Mitch Daniels, President of Purdue University and Former Governor of Indiana, and Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago and former White House Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama, explore the challenges and opportunities for state, local, and federal policymakers in the current policy and economic climate. They draw on their experiences and insights as policy leaders who have served in a multitude of roles.
Mitch Daniels, President, Purdue University
Rahm Emanuel, Mayor, City of Chicago
Catherine Rampell, Opinion Columnist, The Washington Post