US 2050: What Will America Look Like at Mid-Century?

May 11, 2018

US 2050 is an initiative of the Peterson Foundation and the Ford Foundation that examines the multiple demographic, socioeconomic, and fiscal trends that will shape our nation in the decades ahead. The project engages leading scholars to create a comprehensive view of our economic and fiscal future, illuminating the implications for the social and financial well-being of Americans. Members of US 2050’s Advisory Committee joined together for a discussion, led by David Wessel, on these interconnected trends and the importance of understanding where we’re headed in order to make better policy choices today.

This interview with Heather Boushey, Robert Doar, Mark Hugo Lopez was conducted by David Wessel as part of the 2018 Fiscal Summit.

Heather Boushey

Executive Director and Chief Economist, Washington Center for Equitable Growth

Heather Boushey is Executive Director and Chief Economist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth and co-editor of a volume of 22 essays about how to integrate inequality into economic thinking, After Piketty: The Agenda for Economics and Inequality. Her research focuses on economic inequality and public policy, specifically employment, social policy, and family economic well-being, and her latest book is Finding Time: The Economics of Work-Life Conflict from Harvard University Press. The New York Times has called Boushey one of the “most vibrant voices in the field” and Politico twice named her one of the top 50 “thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming American politics.”

Boushey writes regularly for popular media, including The New York Times’ Room for Debate, The Atlantic, and Democracy; and she makes frequent television appearances on Bloomberg, MSNBC, CNBC, and PBS. She previously served as Chief Economist for Hillary Clinton’s transition team, and as an economist for the Center for American Progress, the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress, the Center for Economic and Policy Research, and the Economic Policy Institute. She sits on the board of the Opportunity Institute and is an Associate Editor of Feminist Economics. She received her PhD. in economics from the New School for Social Research and her BA from Hampshire College.

Robert Doar

Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies, American Enterprise Institute

Robert Doar is the Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where his research focuses on how improved federal and state anti-poverty policies and safety net programs can reduce poverty, connect individuals to work, strengthen families, and increase opportunities for lowincome Americans and their children.

While at AEI, Mr. Doar has served as a co-chair of the National Commission on Hunger and as a lead member of the AEI-Brookings Working Group on Poverty and Opportunity, which published the report titled “Opportunity, Responsibility, and Security: A Consensus Plan for Reducing Poverty and Restoring the American Dream.” He is also the editor of “A Safety Net That Works: Improving Federal Programs for LowIncome Americans,” an AEI publication in which experts discuss major federal public assistance programs and offer proposals for reform.

Before joining AEI, he worked for Mayor Michael Bloomberg as commissioner of New York City’s Human Resources Administration. While administering 12 public assistance programs, including cash welfare, food assistance, public health insurance, child support enforcement services, and others, he oversaw a 25 percent reduction in the city’s welfare caseload. Before joining the Bloomberg administration, he was commissioner of social services for the state of New York, where he helped to make the state a model for the implementation of welfare reform.

Mr. Doar has testified numerous times before Congress, and his writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Hill, and National Review, among other publications.

Mr. Doar has a bachelor’s degree in history from Princeton University.

Mark Hugo Lopez

Director of Global Migration and Demography, Pew Research Center

Mark Hugo Lopez is director of Global Migration and Demography at Pew Research Center. He studies the attitudes and opinions of Latinos, Hispanic views of identity, the political engagement of Latinos in the nation’s elections, and Latino youth. Lopez also coordinates the Center’s National Survey of Latinos, an annual nationwide survey of Hispanics. He was the research director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) as well as a research assistant professor at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. Lopez received his doctorate in economics from Princeton University. He is an author of reports about the Hispanic electorate, Hispanic identity, and immigration. Lopez frequently appears in national and international media in both Spanish and English.

David Wessel

Director, The Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy, Brookings Institution; Contributing Correspondent, The Wall Street Journal

David Wessel is a senior fellow in Economic Studies at Brookings and director of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy, the mission of which is to improve the quality of fiscal and monetary policies and public understanding of them. He joined Brookings in December 2013 after 30 years on the staff of The Wall Street Journal, where, most recently, he was economics editor and wrote the weekly Capital column. He is a contributing correspondent to The Wall Street Journal, appears frequently on NPR’s Morning Edition and tweets often at @davidmwessel.

David is the author of two New York Times best-sellers: In Fed We Trust: Ben Bernanke’s War on the Great Panic (2009) and Red Ink: Inside the High Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget (2012.) He has shared two Pulitzer Prizes, one in 1984 for a Boston Globe series on the persistence of racism in Boston and the other in 2003 for Wall Street Journal stories on corporate scandals. David is a member of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Data Users Advisory Committee. He teaches in the Dartmouth Tuck School of Business Global 2030 executive education program and has been a visiting journalism professor at Princeton University.

A native of New Haven, Connecticut, and a product of its public schools, David is a 1975 graduate of Haverford College. He was a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Business and Economics Journalism at Columbia University in 1980–81.

David has received honoraria for speaking from NMS Management and Nomura Securities International Inc.


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