Seeking Clarity on the Economy

Fiscal cliff, debt ceiling, recession. The words out of Washington are gloomy and confusing, but Jared Bernstein, who has been 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, says when he comes to give a talk in Eugene on Jan. 28, he comes “with a message of hope for the future” and that he is also here to listen and help clarify the economic news out of the nation’s capital.

Bernstein, who is now a senior fellow with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, tells EW his talk will discuss “how we got into this economic mess and how to get out.” He says, “I think we are thwarted by bad policies, policies that are driven far too much by narrow interests.”

Bernstein will be speaking on income inequality, the state of the middle class and economic growth, and he argues that inequality blocks opportunity and keeps working families from benefiting from the growth they are helping to create. The goal, he says, is equal economic opportunity and that includes access to education from pre-school upward.

Oregon in particular, Bernstein says, has wonderful natural resources “and it’s critical to complement the natural beauty of Oregon with a set of institutions that provide folks with the opportunities they need to preserve them.”

Bernstein’s economic opinions have appeared everywhere from cable news shows to The New York Times as well as on his own prolific blog at

Bernstein is coming to Eugene, as well as Portland, through the Oregon Center for Public Policy and the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics. He will speak at 5:30 pm Monday, Jan. 28, in Room 175 in Knight Law Center, 1515 Agate St. on the UO campus.

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