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Episode 3: The Future of Economic Policy

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Transcript for Episode 3: The Future of Economic Policy

Guests:

STEVEN GREENHOUSE was a reporter for The New York Times for over thirty years, covering labor and the workplace for many of them. He is the author of two books: Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor and The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker.

JARED BERNSTEIN is a Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. From 2009 to 2011 he was the Chief Economist and Economic Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, Executive Director of the White House Task Force on the Middle Class and a member of President Obama’s economic team. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Bernstein was a senior economist and the director of the Living Standards Program at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. Between 1995 and 1996, he held the post of Deputy Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Labor. He is the author or multiple books, the most recent of which is The Reconnection Agenda: Reuniting Growth and Prosperity.


Transcript:

Danielle Mattoon: Welcome to the World As You’ll Know It, a podcast about life after Covid-19. I’m your host Danielle Mattoon Mattoon. If we think about the pandemic as a giant global reset, what challenges and possibilities will it bring? That’s the question this show is asking. Each week, we invite an established journalist to host a conversation with an expert in their field about how Covid, and our response to it, will affect the future. This week, we’re talking about the future of economic policy.

Our host this week is a familiar voice—Steven Greenhouse, former New York Times labor reporter and author of Beaten Down, Worked Up, which traces the history of the labor movement in the United States. This time, he’s joined by Jared Bernstein, a Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. From 2009 to 2011, he was the Chief Economic Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden. In that role, he helped develop a plan to recover from the Global Financial Crisis.

Now we are facing a new economic crisis caused by Covid-19 and Jared is once again part of the conversation about what to do -- this time as an informal advisor to Joe Biden as he runs for president. The pandemic has exposed many of our country’s economic vulnerabilities. But...has it also opened the door to new economic ideas? As we inch closer to the presidential election, this, Jared says, is what’s at the heart of every debate.

Here’s their conversation.

Steven Greenhouse: Hi, Jared. Thanks for being here. Looking forward to talking with you.

Jared Bernstein: Hi, Steve. It's great to see you too.

Steven Greenhouse: I've known you for over 20 years. I first met you when you were an economist for the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive think tank. Then suddenly you were Chief Economist to vice president Joe Biden, and now you're informally advising him as part of his presidential run. Can you explain to us how all this happened?

Jared Bernstein: I don't know how all this happened. Life happens, you know? Um, I think that had to do with the fact that as someone who was kind of a progressive economist, which is someone who is willing to look at the ways markets fail and look at the impact of inequality, look at racial disparities, you know, going back decades before it was for a lot of others who were doing that stuff, that was of interest to some of the Democratic campaigns. So I helped out Bill Clinton's campaign a little bit from the outside. And then I worked for the Clinton administration for a time in the labor department in the Chief Economist's office there. And then later I helped out the Obama campaign at a somewhat higher level. And the way these things work is if you help out a campaign in some kind of a visible way, even if, even if it's not that visible, typically, if they're fortunate enough to win, they offer you a job. And so that's, that's how that worked.

Steven Greenhouse: So you were in the thick of it in the Obama administration during the great recession, helping develop a plan to recover from what was then the worst recession since the Great Depression. In retrospect, many folks say that, you know, that recovery plan was too small and didn't do enough to lift the economy. Now, here we find again in the pandemic with what is now the worst recession since the Great Depression. Now, what did you personally learn from your years in the white house and those decisions, and how does that inform your thoughts on how to fix the problems we face today?

Jared Bernstein: I think the most important lesson I learned—and this actually interestingly came from working side by side with the Vice President at the time Joe Biden— was the importance of implementation and execution. Once you get into the fray, you recognize this gap, this sort of gaping ocean between having a good idea and legislating that idea and implementing that idea. Each one of those is a tricky step. And I remember vividly sitting in Joe Biden's office with him when he would be calling, you know, mayors of small towns who are very surprised to hear from the vice president of the United States, asking them what they were going to do with their fiscal relief check and making sure that it was going to do what it was supposed to do. So, one thing I learned about was implementation.

Steven Greenhouse: So now, with the pandemic, we have an unemployment rate over 10% and a whole boatload of, of big economic problems. Could you describe a best case scenario for where the economy might be a year from now and what are the policies you would recommend to get us there?

Jared Bernstein: Yeah, I mean, I don't want to be too overtly political, but I can't help it in this case because it's impossible to answer your question without thinking about what I think is the key factor in how that plays out and that's controlling the virus. If we don't control the virus, I don't see any reason why we're going to be in any kind of a notably different place a year from now than where we are now. But let's assume a different regime takes hold, and we begin to not only control the virus, but a year from now, perhaps are robustly distributing a vaccine. Then I think on the other side of the pandemic-induced downturn, unemployment is coming down more quickly than it is right now. I don't think we'll be back at full employment. Remember before we went into this last recession, the unemployment rate was three and a half percent. It's entirely possible to get back there, but I don't think it's going to happen in a couple of years. Certainly the fact that the federal reserve is committed to getting back there is important, but we need fiscal policy to compliment monetary policy. So I think if we can gain control of the virus and engage in a recovery package, which I can talk about what should be in there, we could definitely be looking at a more, not just robust recovery a year from now, but one that's reaching further down the income scale, lifting people who are still falling behind.

Steven Greenhouse: It'd be great if you could talk for a few minutes about what you think should be in a recovery package.

Jared Bernstein: The first thing to do is to implement a full boar virus control plan, where the federal government works with subnational governments to get that under control. And then there's relief measures, enhanced unemployment benefits, which expired at the end of July, turned out to be a pretty amazing piece of work. Uh, more so than I realized at the time. I just read a really well done piece of academic work that analyzed the impact of these $600 a week added unemployment benefits for people on UI unemployment insurance. And this was probably the most progressive fiscal policy I've seen since the earned income tax credit. It really lifted the bottom third of the income scale because, and this is not incidental, that's where the vast majority of the job losses were. 25% of the job losses happened in the bottom 10% and only five happened in the top 10%.

Jared Bernstein: So it's very skewed who lost their jobs. And that's why giving 600 bucks extra to unemployment recipients was a tremendously progressive program. So I would enact something like that. We can argue about what level that should be, but, uh, I would do that. I would do, um, nutritional support, very important. We have really scary statistics about hunger. I think we have an eviction problem that is about to fall in our laps, state and local fiscal relief is essential. I know I'm doing a list here, but you asked for it. And you know those are my top line items, but I can keep going believe me... small businesses should be on the list too.

Steven Greenhouse: So Jared in ways, all of those are relief programs. Do you also have some stimulus programs in mind?

Jared Bernstein: Well, so the, the $600 UI enhanced benefit is actually a relief and a stimulus program. And the reason is, is because that money gets spent, okay, so that means stimulant. Relief, you know, you could think of snap or food stamps as relief, uh, but that also gets spent. And in fact, it has a very high stimulus multiplier. So the release stimulus border is much fuzzier than you think. But again, the vast majority of the, uh, enhanced UI benefits went to the lower end. They spend, and we have a 70% consumer spending economy. Uh, so as long as people are spending, that's going to be stimulative.

Steven Greenhouse: Joe Biden has proposed a $2 trillion infrastructure plan and $775 billion for childcare and education. Then, I think many agree, we would need one, two, three trillion for a continued relief and for stimulus. So that starts to be a lot of money. And we just learned that the nation’s, you know, overall debt has exceeded the GDP. So many Americans are worried that we have out of control deficits, and that we might not be able to service our debt someday. How do you respond to those concerns? Are you worried about that?

Jared Bernstein: As an economist, I wake up worried. So I'm never going to say I'm not worried. And especially right now, there's so much to worry about. I will say servicing the debt is something I worry very little about. That is quite low on my list. If somebody landed here from Mars today and said, you know, Jared, what's the one economic indicator that you could share with me that would inform me about the structure of your economy. I might cite the Black unemployment rate because that's really, you know, very important right now, but I might ask the Martian, can I cite two statistics? And then if it said, okay, uh, I would say the second one would be how low interest rates are. So the, the, the interest rate on the 10 year treasury bill is something like 0.6 or 0.7%. So historically that's been in the threes and fours and fives.

Jared Bernstein: The fact that interest rates are so low yields a remarkable finding from the report that you just mentioned, which is the congressional budget office telling us that the debt to GDP was about to, not yet, but maybe next year or the year after it was going to surpass its all time high of 106% of GDP. It was going to go to 107% of GDP. And so you might think, oh, no, that sounds really worrisome as, as your question potentially suggests. But here's the other thing in that report, it showed that the cost of servicing that debt as a share of our economy has gone down since the last time they looked at this before the pandemic. Okay? And the reason is because interest rates are so low. So yes, we have very high debt levels, but we have very low interest rates. So servicing that debt is something that we can handily do.

Now, of course, the question becomes, are interest rates going to stay that low? Once you have a stock of debt that's as large as ours is, you know, a hundred percent of the economy, $20 trillion, then you know, one extra point on the interest rate is another $200 billion. That's real money, even in Washington. I'm not saying that it's riskless, but the federal reserve itself is telling us we're going to hold interest rates down for a very long time. We're also facing a crisis, an existential crisis of historical concerns. The last time the debt to GDP ratio was 106% was when we were fighting fascism in the 1940s. And now we're fighting a microbe that is also expensive and deadly. I’m not comparing it to fascism. Those are, those are different things, but they're both expensive to fight. And they're both existential threats to our country and must be fought. And the fact that interest rates are so low right now means that, uh, full speed ahead, in terms of these measures.

I would also say this though— you know, for somebody who has the views that I have, and that I've articulated for the last few minutes, I'm actually a strong believer in capital markets. I don't think that, you know, there shouldn't be a robust stock market or financial system. And I'll tell you why. When I grew up studying economics, the point of the stock market was to take excess savings. So people save more than they spend or countries, not ours, save more than they spend, and they send that money here. They buy our treasuries. The stock market was supposed to be kind of like a carburetor in a car distributing excess savings to its most productive sources. And there were points in time when it did that. You can imagine a worthy entrepreneur that can't find the investments, the equity, or the debt capital they need to get started. And they go to the stock market, and they get the startup capital they need. Unfortunately, that's not what I see happening in contemporary financial markets. And that's a real problem.

Steven Greenhouse: Some people have expressed concern that we’re never going to be able to pay the principal, this $20 trillion back. And people say we’re unfairly saddling future generations with a lot of debt. Are you worried about that?

Jared Bernstein: I think that that is a very, you know, tilted and misguided way to put that question. Um, and the reason is this: it matters tremendously what we're doing to engender that debt. You know, there's good debt and bad debt. And if we disinvested in our children today, by for example, not building an infrastructure, that means they can drink safe water, that they can have quality education, that they can breathe an environment that makes them healthy. If we say in the interest of debt and deficits, we're not going to give you all those things. And, you know, if that makes you grow up with a much worse life and permanent health damages, hey, at least we have a lower budget deficit. Now, if I told you that we're, we're going to live with these large debt levels, so we can give tax cuts to rich people, then I'd say that's tremendously irresponsible. So it's too simple, too facile to just say, you know, debt is bad, lower the debt because of the children. You could be totally screwing the children by doing precisely that. You have to discern whether your debt buildup is a function of good debt or bad debt. If it's good debt of the type that invests in people who would otherwise be left behind, then go for it, especially at an interest rate climate, like the one I just described.

Steven Greenhouse: You talked of useful investments, you know, infrastructure spending is something that has, you know, bipartisan support. Yet no president has made a major infrastructure program a big part of their legacy since FDR. What would an effective infrastructure plan look like in your view and how can we avoid the mistakes of the past on infrastructure such as too slow a rollout?

Jared Bernstein: I think probably the most important kinds of infrastructure that we could do would be in two buckets. One is the sort of maintenance that I just described in my last comment. I mean, it probably does sound boring, you know, water systems and, and bridges and roads, but it's essential—in the case of water and air —for health, particularly in communities that are exposed to ill health, which are disproportionately low income and, and communities of color. So the kind of, sort of old school infrastructure that you think about whenever, whenever somebody says the word is still really important and, uh, you're right. People from both sides of the aisle agree that we have to do that, but they haven't done it.

Jared Bernstein: But I think the other bucket is in clean energy. There is just a huge opening to do everything from zero emissions public transportation, to green spaces, to solar, wind, to battery storage, to insulation of housing and, uh, and commercial buildings. I think there's a wide open area of innovation and investment in the clean energy space that both pushes back against global warming and creates good jobs. The reason I particularly like this area of infrastructure is because there's kind of a private public intersection there. The private sector is already responding to demands for renewable energies. You know, states like California have told utilities we need you to be zero emissions by 10 years in the future. And that kind of a regulation sets a bar that the private sector has an incentive to respond to, and it is responding to. So when the government gets in the mix and creates its own set of incentives, you get this synergistic interaction. And so it starts, I think, a chain of events, that's healthy for economies, and I think there are tremendous quality employment opportunities to the tune of millions in the clean energy space.

Steven Greenhouse: President Obama implemented an infrastructure plan and fairly or unfairly he was criticized that the rollout was too slow. It didn't create enough new jobs fast enough. What would you do to help make sure that the infrastructure plan, you know, moves forward pretty quickly?

Jared Bernstein: So part of this has to do with who controls the Senate. I spent an afternoon the other day, trying to figure out that if a President Biden wins and the Democrats have 50 in the Senate, can you do infrastructure and clean energy investments through what's called budget reconciliation, which means a filibuster proof. And the answer I concluded was yes. Now I know this is very technical and people don't want to get into a budget process, but it is an answer to your question. So I do think this can be done if the politics line up the way I mentioned it.

Steven Greenhouse: Jared, I first got to know you some 20 years ago when you were writing or co-writing those excellent biannual volumes, The State of Working America. And back then one of your preoccupations was wage stagnation. That wages are going nowhere for a vast majority of Americans. How do you see that playing out today? And is this a concern as you think about recovering economically from COVID, and what do you think should be done to address it?

Jared Bernstein: Yeah, I'm glad you raised that Steve, because you write about unions. And I think the thing that I recognized is that too many workers in this economy have had very weak bargaining power for a very long time. And in fact, when I started talking about this to you 20 years ago, the problem was bad, but it's gotten worse. I could make a very strong case that large employers that increasingly dominate key industries, whether it's retail, technology, health, they have more bargaining power than they ever have before. They're richer than they ever were before, they pay less taxes, they’re less regulated, and unions are less of a force.

Jared Bernstein: So yes, wage stagnation for the bottom half or two thirds is still very much a problem. And, uh, I do think that it doesn't really change until workers' bargaining power is greatly enhanced, and we all know that one way that that has to occur is through collective bargaining. It might be unionization. It might be other forms of collective bargaining, but this is a key plank by the way, in the Biden agenda. But it's also one that I've been pulling for, for as long as we've known each other.

Steven Greenhouse: So during the democratic primary, income inequality was a driving issue. You know, several of the candidates framed income inequality as the most pressing economic problem facing the United States today. How do you think about income inequality?

Jared Bernstein: I think of it as something that's embedded in the US economy quite deeply. And I guess I've sort of stopped thinking of it as income inequality. I used to think of it as wage inequality, then income inequality. I looked at wealth. And now I see it as just a very broad set of inequities that persist and are embedded in our economy. I think, uh, the racial lens is so important in this space. People talk about the racial wealth gap and, you know, the median Black wealth being, you know, a 10th of that, of white wealth. And if you look at housing, housing inequality and residential segregation is probably one of the most clear examples of how inequality is embedded in our economy and the neighborhood effects of that last through generations. Access again to healthy environments, to better education, to schools, to libraries, to clean water.

Jared Bernstein: That's also under the inequality rubric. And one of the things that I found fascinating about this current moment in time is how the pandemic, you know, there's no silver lining to COVID-19. So I'm not saying that, but boy, this pandemic has pulled the curtain back on the extent to which these inequalities are embedded in our economy, to the point where if you look at who's dying disproportionately, it's the folks on the wrong side of the inequality divide. If you look at the people who are more exposed to the virus, because they have to go to work and they don't have the protections, it's the folks on the low income side of the, of the inequality divide. If you look conversely at the folks who are getting ahead, you know, people like myself, by the way, who can click into meetings all day just like this one and still draw a paycheck. You know, the virus other than keeping us at home and driving us stir crazy, the virus hasn't, hasn't touched us in an economic sense. So look at the impacts of the virus, the health impacts, uh, the housing impacts, the economic impacts and you see these inequalities just writ large.

Steven Greenhouse: So do you think this curtain being pulled back by the pandemic has changed Americans' perceptions enough for people to be truly open to new economic ideas?

Jared Bernstein: We are in the lead up to an election, and at one level, that is what we're fighting about. Your question is what we are fighting about. At the top level, the level you read on the front page of the newspaper, you know, we're fighting about name calling, you know, between candidates and the law and order ideas that are getting front page news these days. And I'm not saying that those things aren't important by a long shot. Uh, there are incredibly tragic things happening in our country that we should all be paying close attention to. What I'm saying is that those are outcomes. Those are tendrils that come off of this major beast at the top of all this, which is this inequality divide. And I've put racial inequity, racial injustice, our criminal justice system, our housing segregation system. I've put those all within this rubric of inequality. You know, when I met you 20 years ago, I was writing about the 90 percentile, 10 percentile wage differential, and fine, that's a good place to start. Now I see it everywhere I look, in every one of these elements. So yes, this election to me is about whether we are willing to derig the economy and to once again, try to reconnect everybody to overall growth so that we can all get a fair slice of the pie.

Steven Greenhouse: Speaking of de-rigging the economy, an increasing number of authors and thinkers have been saying that the increased income inequality in the U S has been translated into increased political inequality. So, large corporations and the wealthy now have too much power over both our politics and our policies. Do you consider that a problem? And what would you do about it?

Jared Bernstein: I looked at this the other day. So, you know, Trump goes around getting excited about the stock market going up. And the stock market has been going up, you know, robustly. 87% of the value of the stock market is held by the top 10%. Over half is held by the top 1% and 0.7% is held by the bottom 50%. So that's a lot of numbers. Less than 1% of the value of the stock market is held by the bottom half. So let me put that in context of your question. When you have an interaction of wealth concentration of that magnitude and a political system that allows money in politics to the degree that we do, you are essentially begging for the wealthiest to not just buy the politicians they want, but to buy the policies they want. And I can create a direct line through this money in politics problem, and this rigging of the economy problem in the context of say a minimum wage that's stuck at ridiculous levels or a union busting movement that is far more powerful than the countervailing force that is missing, the irregularities of the tax system, the monopolistic concentration in some of the key industries I've mentioned—in every case, this is a function of the toxic interaction between wealth inequality and money and politics in a uniquely American system that allows for this.

Steven Greenhouse: Jared, can you talk about how the trade environment, uh, is different today than when you were working in the White House? Do you see the priorities and challenges differently and what do you think the top trade priorities should be for a Biden administration?

Jared Bernstein: Sure. This gets a little bit nuanced, but I'll start from non nuanced, which is, I think one way things have changed is that the idea that every trade deal is by definition, a good deal is no longer mainstream thinking. I would also say that it has been recognized that persistent trade deficits, even while there have been times when we've had trade deficits that have corresponded with a healthy economy otherwise, persistent trade deficits can be very problematic, particularly to parts of the country that have seen the loss of factory employment. That is now a mainstream, I think, recognition. Here's some, that's a little bit more nuanced. The idea of the exchange rates are just sort of miraculously set by free markets and have nothing to do with, you know, public policy or what countries try to do to manipulate them. That's been kind of also recognized as a falsehood and it's widely considered, I think, now that countries impose unfair advantages on other countries through the way they manage their currency or through the flows of dollars in the global economy. So, you know, the idea is that not the, not, not necessarily that the trade system is rigged, but that it's another system that operates by a set of rules and those rules can help investors or they can help workers, or they can help both workers and investors.

Steven Greenhouse: Right now, as we all know, there are huge political and trade tensions with China. Plus the pandemic has exposed, you know, displaying fault lines and our global supply chain, especially with China. What policies would you recommend for America's trade relationship with China?

Jared Bernstein: We need to think about this in terms of who are our trade deals benefiting? Who are they leaving behind? We don't have, of course, a bilateral trade deal with China. We may not have such a deal in my lifetime, but we certainly have a deals between them and the world trade organization WTO. And we certainly have all these negotiations with them that are ongoing, including in the, in the Trump administration. I think the way forward— and this happens to be the Biden plan in this regard—is to start working once again in coalition to isolate bad actors of which China often is one. Two, we need to get the exchange rates right. And that means being much more mindful of the capital flows and the kind of currency management issues I said before. But three, and here is one that may be somewhat less intuitive, but is my personal favorite and I think most important, and that’s domestic investment.

Jared Bernstein: We have to help our small manufacturers be able to sell into global supply chains in a way that every other country helps them, but we don't. And we could do that. We have to invest in our clean energy sector, one area just to talk about a Biden initiative, be very concrete: we buy $600 billion a year in government procurement. A lot of it's military, that's 3% of GDP every year that the federal government procures. Biden kicks that up by 400 billion, which is a significant investment. And he adds a buy America component to it because a lot of those expenditures we're buying foreign things that we should be making here. So that's a good example of the kinds of domestic investments that will help our trade policy. Finally, we have to disincentivize off-shoring through the tax code. Okay? This big Trump tax cut at the end of 2017, got a lot of very deserved flack for all its imbalances for its exacerbating the wealth inequality problem, giving all these breaks to corporations and people at the top of the scale, cutting taxes on capital gains and all of that. But the other thing it did was massively incentivize the tax advantages of offshoring your production. And that is completely counterproductive. And we have to close that, that loophole right away.

Steven Greenhouse: Turning to, uh, that gentlemen whom you've advised over the years on economics, Joe Biden—some people say that his economic proposals are consistent with his long standing centrists-to-liberal views while others say his views have moved substantially to the left, partly because of the dire situation our country faces from the pandemic and partly to satisfy Bernie Sanders and his many supporters. How do you see this Jared?

Jared Bernstein: Well, that doesn't really resonate with me as somebody who is on the phone with the vice president every now and again these days. I'm an outside advisor, so I'm not talking to him every day by a long shot, but we've talked. And you know, the man I hear on the other side of the phone is not described by what you just said. But I do want to challenge you on one point and especially you, of all people. One thing that, you know, Joe Biden has always been really for at the core of his politics, is unions. He has certainly, I think not been sort of a typical centrist or moderate Democrat when it comes to a worker bargaining power, which again is at the heart of my model.

Jared Bernstein: So, a more useful way for me anyway, to reflect on what you said is, and I think this is really important. So I'm not dodging the question. I think the democratic party has moved left in some really key areas. I'm going to tick them off: trade, unions, minimum wages, deficits and debt, maybe to some extent on climate. Although I think they were pretty much there anyway. And on every one of those issues, I would say that what was kind of the mainstream 10 years ago is not the mainstream anymore.

Steven Greenhouse: Last thing—I’m going to ask you a few final questions. If you could answer them in a sentence or two that would be great.

Jared: I’ll try.

Steven Greenhouse: If crises, beget solutions, what do you see as the biggest opportunity right now?

Jared Bernstein: I would say controlling the virus and building a robust fiscal package to get us to the other side of the crisis.

Steven Greenhouse: And what is the biggest practical obstacle standing in the way of that?

Jared: The Trump administration's unwillingness to engage in serious medically driven virus control, and the reluctance to negotiate, uh, the next fiscal package.

Steven Greenhouse: And then what is the biggest imaginative obstacle standing in the way of all that?

Jared Bernstein: Perhaps the biggest imaginative shortfall is this failure to recognize just how much the interest rate environment has changed, meaning that we can deficit finance critical investments to help get us out of this mess at very low cost.

Steven Greenhouse: Then lastly, what is one plausible accomplishment in the next 12 months that would give you the most optimism about the path ahead?

Jared Bernstein: A very different political regime running the country.

Steven Greenhouse: Thanks very much. This was great. Really appreciate your wisdom and insights and it's been great talking with you.

Jared Bernstein: My pleasure. Believe me. If I had my choice, I'd interview you. That's what I want to do next.

MUSIC

Danielle Mattoon: Thank you for listening to The World As You’ll Know It. Steven Greenhouse is the author of Beaten Down, Worked Up. Jared Bernstein is a Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and author of Crunch: Why Do I Feel So Squeezed? You can find links to their work and more in our show notes.

This podcast is brought to you by Aventine Research Institute, a non-profit dedicated to supporting work that helps us understand the long-term consequences of today’s decisions and behaviors on the future. I’m Danielle Mattoon Mattoon, Editorial Director. The views expressed are those of the participants and do not represent those of Aventine, its employees or affiliates. This podcast is produced in partnership with Pineapple Street Studios.

MUSIC

Next time on The World As You’ll Know It, we talk about how COVID might affect the future of higher education.

Paul LeBlanc: I’m pretty optimistic, actually. I think we’re going to see a lot of creativity. You know, whenever the country has gone through a national catastrophe of this kind, it’s tended to redefine higher education.

Join us back here for a conversation between Paul Tough, author of The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us, and Paul LeBlanc, President of Southern New Hampshire University.

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