In the years following the Great Recession, many economists and policymakers agreed that fiscal stimulus was critical to improving the faltering economy and helping to save or create millions of jobs. There is less agreement, however, on whether the stimulus should have been larger, if it contained the correct mix of tax cuts and targeted government spending, and whether it optimally utilized income support programs —notably TANF and SNAP —to stabilize the economy and protect millions of households from falling into poverty.
On May 23, The Hamilton Project at Brookings hosted a policy forum addressing how to make better use of fiscal stimulus in future downturns, with a focus on three new Hamilton Project papers released in conjunction with this event. Opening remarks will be delivered by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, followed by a fireside chat between Lawrence H. Summers, Charles Eliot University Professor, Harvard University, and Shaun Donovan, Director, Office of Management and Budget. Eduardo Porter, Columnist, The New York Times, will moderate the discussion.
The first panel will discuss two new papers: a proposal to strengthen the safety net through improvements to SNAP by James P. Ziliak (University of Kentucky) and a proposal to make TANF more effective in serving needy families during economic downturns by Hilary Hoynes (UC Berkeley) and Marianne Bitler (UC Davis). The authors will be joined by panelists Congressman Jim McGovern, U.S. Representative, The Second Congressional District of Massachusetts, Robert Greenstein, President and Founder, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Sheldon Danziger, President, Russell Sage Foundation. Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, Director, Hamilton Project; Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution will moderate the discussion.
The second panel will focus on a new proposal by Alan S. Blinder (Princeton University) examining how to better leverage fiscal policy to mitigate the effects of future recessions. Alan Blinder will be joined by panelists Cecilia Muñoz, Chair, White House Domestic Policy Council; Marc H. Morial, President, National Urban League; and Alice M. Rivlin, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution. Roger C. Altman, Chairman and Founder, Evercore, will moderate the panel.
1:00 PM Registration Opens
1:30 PM Welcome and Introductions
Robert E. Rubin
Co-Chairman, Council on Foreign Relations
Former U.S. Treasury Secretary
1:40 PM Fireside Chat: Lessons Learned from the Great Recession
Discussant: Lawrence H. Summers
Charles Eliot University Professor, Harvard University; Former U.S. Treasury Secretary
Discussant: Shaun Donovan
Director, Office of Management and Budget
Moderator: Eduardo Porter
Columnist, The New York Times
2:30 PM Roundtable: Policy Options for Strengthening SNAP and TANF
Author: Hilary Hoynes
Professor of Public Policy and Economics, Haas Distinguished Chair in Economic Disparities, UC Berkeley
Author: James P. Ziliak
Director, University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research
Discussant: Sheldon Danziger
President, Russell Sage Foundation; Distinguished University Professor of Public Policy Emeritus, University of Michigan
Discussant: Robert Greenstein
President and Founder, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Discussant: The Honorable Jim McGovern
U.S. Representative, The Second Congressional District of Massachusetts