Economic mobility and racial inequities: How the next president can revive the American dream

Indira Lakshmanan,
Indira Lakshmanan Executive Editor - Pulitzer Center, Washington Columnist - The Boston Globe
Dayna Bowen Matthew, Richard V. Reeves, and
Reeves headshot
Richard V. Reeves President - American Institute for Boys and Men

Isabel V. Sawhill

October 20, 2016

As part of the Brookings Election 2016 project, the Brookings Podcast Network brings you a special edition episode in which Indira Lakshmanan, Washington columnist for the Boston Globe and contributor to Politico, moderates a conversation with Isabel Sawhill, senior fellow in Economic Studies, Richard Reeves, senior fellow in Economic Studies and co-director of the Center on Children and Families, and Dayna Bowen Matthew, visiting fellow in the Center for Health Policy, on ways that the next president should address issues of race and economic mobility.

“If you can imagine a world in which we’re going to continue to expect and reward work, but at the same time again recognize the labor market is not as it was in the late 1990s,” Reeves says, “we’re going to have to do more in order to create work, so that will mean subsidized jobs, it will mean actually being more active in the labor market than was necessary in the previous era of welfare reform.”

“Social determinates are those causes of the causes,” Matthew argues. “That’s where the action is actually in terms of moving the needle on health disparities and health inequality. If we touch education, we touch work; if we touch work, we touch housing; if we touch housing, we touch food security; and we touch family stability. Those are the things much more than healthcare itself that are going to make a difference, and so I consider them not only practical but essential from a public health perspective.”

“If we only fixed the health care system and didn’t do anything about these social problems [like] distressed neighborhoods, poor housing, lack of food security, lack of income,” Sawhill says, “we wouldn’t solve the problem.”

Show Notes:

Economic mobility and racial inequities: How the next president can revive the American dream

An agenda for reducing poverty and improving opportunity

First, create an Office of Opportunity

Time for justice: Tackling race inequalities in health and housing

Special thanks to the event moderator, Indira Lakshmanan, and the events team, Eric Bull, Adrianna Pita, and Camilo Ramirez. Additional thanks to audio producer Gaston Reboredo and producer Vanessa Sauter, and also thanks for additional support from Eric Abalahin, Jessica Pavone, Nawal Atallah, Basseem Maleki, and Rebecca Viser.

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Intersections is part of the Brookings Podcast Network.