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Past Event

Politics, Higher Education and Health Care in the Austerity Era

Past Event

Politics, Higher Education and Health Care in the Austerity Era

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.


Austerity and Healthcare Reform


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, Clemson University


American Politics in the Age of Austerity


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

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


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

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