Friday | May 22, 2020

Co-sponsored by the Albert Shanker Institute, the American Federation of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors.

Read the policy brief."

Decades of tax cuts and government “rollbacks” have meant that most states’ public sectors, including state colleges and universities, have been systematically underfunded. The COVID19 crisis has brought this underfunding into sharper focus, as hospitals and public health systems strain under the pressure of budget shortfalls. State sector higher education systems, both those with affiliated medical schools and hospitals and those without, are now grappling to survive on state budgets allocations that are critically dependent on state and local sales and income taxes. Following the 2008 recession, for example, states slashed programs and introduced furloughs and layoffs. The COVID19 economic downturn is expected to be much, much worse. As before, these post-recession budget crunches are likely to be compounded by state balanced budget laws that will require massive budget cuts. Plus, in a “never let a good crisis go to waste” fashion, several GOP-dominated state governments are moving to try to restructure public colleges and universities away from liberal arts education and more toward more workforce development. 

This webinar discussed how we arrived here and the possible alternatives to austerity, in which already damaged economies will be further hurt by collapsing public sectors. From various points of view, these alternatives were discussed as well as strategies to see them achieved


Mark Blyth, Director, William R. Rhodes Center for International Economics and Finance, The William R. Rhodes ’57 Professor of International Economics and Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs, Brown University

James Galbraith, Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. Chair in Government/Business Relations and Professor of Government, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin

Stephanie Kelton, Professor, Center for Social Justice, Inequality and Policy, Stony Brook University, Economic Advisor to Bernie Sanders and appointee to the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Forces

Jeffrey Sommers, Professor, Political Economy & Public Policy, Senior Fellow, Institute of; World Affairs, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Visiting Professor, Stockholm School of Economics in Riga

Luz Sosa, Economics Instructor, Milwaukee Area Technical College      

Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers