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America’s Real Economic Experience

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Date and time
Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Author Tara Westover, economist Gene Sperling and Setti Warren, Executive Director of the Shorenstein Center, discuss what’s really happening economically to people in communities across America. Many media organizations and elite institutions continue to promote GDP, stock market and unemployment metrics as leading indicators on the health of the economy. Yet, we know these measures do not reflect the economic reality for millions of people across America. The COVID-19 pandemic and recent protests against structural racism have highlighted the gap between how the economy is portrayed in the media and by elite institutions, and the reality that people live every day. This talk examines this gap between perception and reality, how it is playing out across the country, and the impacts it has.

**Setti D. Warren** served as Mayor of Newton, Massachusetts from January 1, 2010 to January 1 2018. He was the first African-American to be a popularly-elected mayor in Massachusetts. After graduating from Boston College, he began an extensive career in public service, serving as special assistant in the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs for President Bill Clinton; as New England director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency; and as deputy state director for Senator John F. Kerry (D-MA). Prior to running for mayor, Mayor Warren completed a yearlong tour of duty in Iraq as a naval intelligence specialist. He served on the advisory board of the United States Conference of Mayors, chairing the organization's community housing and development committee. Mayor Warren is also a life member of The Council on Foreign Relations and a board member of Discovering Justice. He is currently the Executive Director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Gene Sperling is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. He was President Clinton's National Economic Advisor and Director of the National Economic Council from 1997 to 2001 and Deputy National Economic Advisor from 1993 to 1997. Mr. Sperling recently served as a top economic advisor to the Kerry-Edwards presidential campaign. He is a columnist and commentator for *Bloomberg Business News* and a contributing editor for the DLC's *Blueprint Magazine*, serves as director of the Center for Universal Education at the Council of Foreign Relations, and has been a contributing writer and consultant to the television show *The West Wing*. He has appeared on *Meet the Press*, *Face the Nation*, *This Week*, *Good Morning America*, *Nightline*, and CNN's *Late Edition*, and is a frequent contributor to NPR. His articles have appeared in *The Atlantic*, *Foreign Affairs*, *The New York Times*, *The Washington Post*, *Inc.* magazine, *Financial Times*, *Foreign Policy*, and others.
Tara Westover is the author of the award winning memoir, _Educated_, and joined Harvard's Kennedy School as a Shorenstein fellow in 2020.