Identifying the most effective policy responses to mitigate the damaging effects of a recession can pose significant challenges for policymakers, who are often operating under intense time constraints and political pressure at the onset of an economic downturn. Historically, the U.S. has responded to recent recessions with a mix of monetary policy action and discretionary fiscal stimulus. However, since monetary policy options may be limited during the next recession, policymakers should consider adopting a range of fiscal policy measures now to help stabilize the economy when a future downturn inevitably occurs. This can be achieved with a range of fiscal policy responses aimed at expediting the next recovery through strengthening job creation and restoring confidence to businesses and households.
On May 16, The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution and the Washington Center for Equitable Growth will co-convene a forum to explore policy options to reduce the impact of the next recession. The forum will begin with opening remarks by Robert E. Rubin, former U.S. Treasury Secretary, followed by a fireside chat between Ben S. Bernanke, Distinguished Fellow in Residence, Economic Studies, the Brookings Institution and former Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and Christina Romer, Garff B. Wilson Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley and former Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. The fireside chat will be moderated by Sam Fleming, U.S. economics editor and Washington deputy bureau chief, The Financial Times.
The event will also include three roundtable discussions that will explore expediting funding to states; providing direct payments to households; and strengthening the social safety net. Roundtable panelists will include Jason Furman, professor of the practice of economic policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Robert Greenstein, president, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Jeanne M. Lambrew, commissioner, Department of Health and Human Services, State of Maine; Shoshana M. Lew, executive director, Colorado Department of Transportation; Karen Dynan, professor of the practice of economics, Harvard Kennedy School and Lourdes Padilla, secretary, Department of Human Services, State of Maryland, among other distinguished experts and scholars.
The event will coincide with the release of a new book from The Hamilton Project and Washington Center for Equitable Growth titled, “Recession Ready: Fiscal Policies to Stabilize the American Economy,” which offers detailed policy proposals for making current programs—including unemployment insurance, nutrition assistance, basic temporary assistance, employment subsidies, tax policy, intergovernmental grants, and infrastructure spending—more effective as automatic stabilizers.
For updates on the event, follow @HamiltonProj and @equitablegrowth, and join the conversation using #RecessionReady.