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The inaugural series of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation Economic Forum explored the significant impact and policy implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. As lawmakers enact major programs to address the devastating damage to our health, economy and society, many critical questions remain about the path forward. This Forum series featured conversations that explored lessons learned thus far, ideas for when and how we can safely reopen the economy, and how effective fiscal policy can both aid recovery and prepare us better for the next unforeseen crisis.
The third session in the Peter G. Peterson Foundation Economic Forum’s series Restoring Our Economy Post-Pandemic Pandemic analyzed the unprecedented effects that this crisis has had on our economy, against the backdrop of the 2020 election. As policymakers and candidates debate proposals to help the nation recover from a severe health and economic crisis, this bipartisan conversation assessed how Washington has handled the crisis thus far – and what more needs to be done to address our mounting fiscal and economic challenges. What are the key indicators and milestones that reveal not only the extent of the damage, but also where the recovery is taking hold? What policy proposals are being put forward by the campaigns to address the still uncertain landscape?
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Lanhee J. Chen, Ph.D. is the David and Diane Steffy Fellow in American Public Policy Studies at the Hoover Institution; Director of Domestic Policy Studies and Lecturer in the Public Policy Program at Stanford University; and an affiliate of Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute.
A veteran of several high-profile political campaigns, Chen has worked in government, the private sector, and academia.
Chen has advised numerous major campaigns, including four presidential efforts. In 2012, he was policy director of the Romney-Ryan campaign, serving as Governor Mitt Romney’s chief policy adviser and a senior strategist on the campaign. Chen also advised Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s 2016 bid; Romney’s 2008 effort; and the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign in 2004. In the 2014 and 2018 campaign cycles, he was the Senior Adviser on Policy to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).
From 2014 to 2018, Chen served as a presidentially-appointed and Senate-confirmed member of the Social Security Advisory Board. He also served in the George W. Bush Administration as a senior official at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
In addition to his academic appointments, Chen is a Senior Counselor at the Brunswick Group, a global business advisory firm; an Operating Partner at New Road Capital Partners, where he helps to direct healthcare investments for the private equity firm’s current fund; and Chair of the Board of Directors of El Camino Health.
Chen’s writings have appeared in a variety of outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Washington Post. He has been a CNN Political Commentator and provided political analysis and commentary on every other major television network. He was honored in 2015 as one of the POLITICO 50, a list of the “thinkers, doers, and visionaries transforming American politics.”
Chen serves in a variety of nonprofit leadership roles. He is a Director of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (FREOPP), a Director of the Healthcare Consumer Rights Foundation, and a member of the Committee of 100, an organization of prominent Chinese Americans.
He earned his Ph.D. in Political Science, A.M. in Political Science, J.D. cum laude, and A.B. magna cum laude in Government, all from Harvard University.
Austan D. Goolsbee is the Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Economics.
He previously served in Washington as the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and a member of the President's cabinet. His research has earned him recognition as a Fulbright Scholar and an Alfred P. Sloan fellow. In prior years he was named one of the 100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum, and one of the six "Gurus of the Future" by the Financial Times. His ability to explain economics clearly has made Goolsbee popular in the media. Jon Stewart describes him as "Eliot Ness meets Milton Friedman" and he has twice been named as a "star" professor by BusinessWeek's "Guide to the Best Business Schools."
Goolsbee serves on the Economic Advisory Panel to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and has previously served on the Panel of Economic Advisors to the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. Census Advisory Commission and as a special consultant for Internet Policy to the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice. He joined Chicago Booth in 1995.
Michael A. Peterson is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a non-partisan organization dedicated to addressing America’s fiscal challenges and building a stronger economic future. The Foundation engages in grant-making, partnerships and research to educate citizens and foster solutions to put America on a sustainable fiscal path. Michael sets the Foundation’s policy direction and strategy, shaping its major programs and initiatives.
Michael combines his dedication to public service with extensive private sector experience as an entrepreneur, operator and investor. In 2007, he co-founded Evolve IP, an award-winning telecommunications company named as one of America’s 50 best places to work (Inc. Magazine), best entrepreneurial companies (Entrepreneur Magazine) and fastest growing technology companies (Deloitte Fast 500). Michael also co-founded GPX Enterprises, L.P., which makes direct investments in operating businesses and real estate. Previously, he held a number of corporate finance positions, leading and executing transactions totaling several billion dollars. Michael also currently serves as the CEO of Peterson Management, LLC, which manages the Peterson family investments.
Michael is Chair of the Board of Directors of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and serves on the boards of the Nuclear Threat Initiative and the Partnership for New York City. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Economic Club of New York, and Business Executives for National Security. He has received the Corporate Community Achievement Award from the Northside Center for Child Development and the Visionary Award from the Committee for Economic Education. Additionally, he has established his own foundation, which focuses on a variety of philanthropic areas.
Michael graduated Magna Cum Laude and with Honors from Brown University, where he was awarded the Taubman Prize for his thesis. He received his Master's degree from the London School of Economics. Michael lives in New York with his wife, Tara Peters, and their two children.