Preparing for the Next Recession: Policies to Reduce the Impact on the U.S. Economy


Media Contacts: Stacy A. Anderson, (202) 238-3114, | Erica Handloff, (202) 756-5747,

The Hamilton Project at Brookings & Washington Center for Equitable Growth Co-Host Forum & Release New Book on “Preparing for the Next Recession”
Event Panelists to include Ben S. Bernanke, Robert E. Rubin, Christina Romer & Jason Furman

Washington, DC – Today The Hamilton Project at Brookings and the Washington Center for Equitable Growth will co-convene a policy forum on “Preparing for the Next Recession: Policies to Reduce the Impact on the U.S. Economy,” which will be held from 1:00 – 4:30 p.m. at in the Rockefeller-Peterson Room of 1777 F Street NW, Washington, D.C. The forum will also be available via live webcast.

The event will feature introductory remarks by Robert E. Rubin, followed by a fireside chat between Ben S. Bernanke and Christina Romer. Roundtable panelists will include Jason Furman of the Harvard Kennedy School; Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Maine Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne M. Lambrew; Colorado Department of Transportation Executive Director Shoshana M. Lew; Karen Dynan of the Harvard Kennedy School; and Maryland Secretary of Human Services Lourdes Padilla, among other distinguished experts and scholars.

The forum will coincide with the release of a new book of Hamilton Project and Washington Center for Equitable Growth policy proposals titled “Recession Ready: Fiscal Policies to Stabilize the American Economy,” which includes:

  • The Damage Done by Recessions and How to Respond,” by Heather Boushey (Washington Center for Equitable Growth), Ryan Nunn, Jimmy O’Donnell, and Jay Shambaugh (The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution), which discusses some of the concerns with relying too much on discretionary policy, highlights opportunities to make greater use of automatic fiscal stabilization, and assesses the various policy responses available to the federal government.
  • How Stabilizing Has Fiscal Policy Been?” by Louise Sheiner and Michael Ng (the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy and the Brookings Institution), which explores how U.S. fiscal policy has been strongly countercyclical over the past four decades, but the degree of stabilization and responsibility of different components of U.S. policy have changed over time.
  • Direct Stimulus Payments to Individuals,” by Claudia Sahm (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System), which draws on recent research that examines the effects of fiscal stimulus delivered through tax cuts and proposes a set of reforms that would make the tax code a better automatic stabilizer.
  • Increasing Federal Support for State Medicaid and CHIP Programs During Economic Downturns,” by Matthew Fiedler (USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy and the Brookings Institution), Jason Furman (Harvard Kennedy School and Peterson Institute for International Economics), which explores automatically adjusting Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) formula funds to provide state-level fiscal stimulus during future recessions.
  • Infrastructure Investment as an Automatic Stabilizer,” by Andrew Haughwout (Federal Reserve Bank of New York), which proposes that policymakers embed infrastructure investments more deeply and automatically in the response to future recessions.
  • Unemployment Insurance and Macroeconomic Stabilization,” by Gabriel Chodorow-Reich (Harvard University) John Coglianese (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System) ,which assesses the evidence on the countercyclical impacts of unemployment insurance, considering reforms that could improve its functioning as an automatic stabilizer.
  • Improving TANF’s Countercyclicality through Increased Basic Assistance and Subsidized Jobs,” by Indivar Dutta-Gupta (Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality), which reviews the experience of TANF job subsidies enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and proposes expanding this strategy during subsequent economic downturns.
  • Strengthening SNAP as an Automatic Stabilizer,” by Hilary Hoynes (University of California, Berkeley) and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach (Northwestern University), which proposes reforms to SNAP that would make it more effective as an automatic stabilizer, increasing its ability to protect families during downturns.

To learn more about the event, view the full agenda. To watch today’s forum via webcast, register here.

To schedule an interview with an author, Hamilton Project economist or Washington Center for Equitable Growth economist, contact: Stacy A. Anderson at or Erica Handloff at

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