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May 22

Past Event

Politics, Higher Education and Health Care in the Austerity Era

The A. Alfred Taubman Forum on Public Policy


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Since the onset of the Great Recession, public discussion has centered on whether spending or austerity is the best path to economic recovery. As evidenced by the sequestration, recurring debt ceiling fights and the ongoing euro crisis, clear policy prescriptions to kickstart anemic economies remain elusive. Often lost in the public discussion surrounding government budgets, though, is consideration of austerity’s implications for national politics and how policy is enacted and implemented. How has the debate surrounding spending versus budget-cutting shaped the political conversation in the United States? What has been austerity’s impact on the policymaking process?

On May 22, the Governance Studies program at Brookings will host a half-day forum centered on the changed political and policy conversations in the austerity age. The fourth annual A. Alfred Taubman Forum on Public Policy will convene leaders from academia, the media, government, and business to explore the far-reaching implications of austerity reform and philosophy on the American political landscape and today’s most pressing policy challenges, specifically in the areas of higher education and health care.

After each panel, participants will take audience questions.

Event Agenda

  • 9:00


  • 9:05

    American Politics in the Age of Austerity

    • Moderator

      Thomas Edsall

      Opinion Contributor, The New York Times

      Joseph Pulitzer II and Edith Pulitzer Moore Professor of Journalism, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

    • Mimi Abramovitz

      Bertha Capen Reynolds Professor of Social Policy

      Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter and The Graduate Center CUNY

    • Tyler Cowen

      Professor of Economics

      George Mason University

  • 10:00

    Budget-cutting’s Impact on U.S. Higher Education

    • Moderator

      Lee Gardner

      Editor, Finance and Policy

      The Chronicle of Higher Education

    • John Aubrey Douglass

      Senior Research Fellow, Center for Studies in Higher Education

      University of California, Berkeley

    • Sara Goldrick-Rab

      Associate Professor of Educational Policy Studies and Sociology

      University of Wisconsin-Madison

    • Zakiya Smith

      Strategy Director

      Lumina Foundation

  • 11:00

    Austerity and Healthcare Reform

    • Moderator

      Sarah Kliff

      Health Policy Reporter

      The Washington Post and Wonkblog

    • Shama Gamkhar

      Associate Professor of Public Affairs

      University of Texas at Austin

    • Jonathan Oberlander

      Professor of Social Medicine and Health Policy & Management

      University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

    • Laura Olson

      Professor of Political Science

      Lehigh University


May 22, 2013

9:00 AM - 12:00 PM EDT

Brookings Institution

Falk Auditorium

1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW


For More Information

Brookings Office of Communications


Hosted By

Governance Studies

SERIES: The A. Alfred Taubman Forum on Public Policy | Number 4