The Economic Strategy Group's third annual policy volume focuses on the economics of the middle class, geographic disparities in economic opportunity, and U.S. policy options to address climate change.
Adam Looney (University of Utah), Jeff Larrimore (Federal Reserve Board), and David Splinter (Joint Committee on Taxation) provide an in-depth analysis of after tax and transfer incomes of middle-class Americans over time.
In this chapter, author Dan Silverman of Arizona State University describes a body of evidence showing that large fluctuations in household income are commonplace both across and within years. However, these households’ reactions to shocks reveal substantial resilience despite their lack of a financial buffer. Silverman argues these facts imply that successful policies will focus on limiting the uninsured risks that families face.
Professor Bruce Sacerdote of Dartmouth College asserts that claims about a vanishing middle class are not well-founded. The real challenges, he argues, are the rapidly changing nature of work and the skills demanded in the labor market; the unequal distribution of income growth in the United States in which median income and consumption are growing less quickly than the economy as a whole; and the deterioration of happiness and mental health indicators.
The United States is currently gripped by deep uncertainty and economic anxiety. At the time of this writing, the United States is six months into the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 190,000 Americans have died from COVID (CDC 2020); more than 13 million Americans remain unemployed (Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020); and tens of thousands of businesses remain closed (Grossman 2020). Meanwhile, protests against racial injustice continue across the country, and in a number of tragic instances, they have been overtaken by violence. Wildfires rage through the northern Pacific states. In Oregon, 40,000 people have been evacuated and more than 1,500 square miles have burned. California has already experienced three of the top four largest wildfires in its history in this year alone. Perhaps more than any time in recent memory, the economic future of our country feels uncertain.
AESG co-chairs Hank Paulson and Erskine Bowles introduce the group's 2020 policy volume. The American economy is in the midst of a wrenching crisis, one caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, intensified by the worst social unrest in a generation, and aggravated further by a series of climate-driven natural disasters.
Trevor Houser of the Rhodium Group summarizes current forecasts of climate damages in the years ahead and their implications for the global economy, inequality, and health.
David Keith (Harvard) and John Deutch (MIT) discuss mechanisms to manage climate risks, which they call the climate control mechanisms: emissions reduction, carbon dioxide removal (CDR), adaptation, and solar radiation modification (SRM).
New members replace outgoing Biden-Harris administration appointees and include Atlanta Fed President & CEO Raphael Bostic and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew.