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Strengthening the Web of Financial and Retirement Security for Today's Working Americans

To access PDF slides from the conference, click on the respective speaker's name below. 

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 29


12:00 pm  2014 Annual Membership Meeting & Luncheon (For active NASI members)

2:30 pm   Pre-Conference Roundtable Sessions:

5:00 pm Opening Reception

  • Opening: G. Lawrence Atkins, NASI President
  • Jason Furman, Council of Economic Advisers
  • Moderator: Lisa Mensah, Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security

THURSDAY, JANUARY 30


8:30 am  Opening and Welcome

  • G. Lawrence Atkins, NASI President

8:45 am  Session I:  A Divided Nation
For some Americans on the upper rungs of the economic ladder, these are good times. But for millions of workers, the Great Recession is not over — and many face a daunting future. Income inequality, stagnant wages, high unemployment and low savings can mean retiring with too little to sustain even a no-frills standard of living throughout a retirement that may last longer than for previous generations. How should policymakers address the challenges posed by a market economy that distributes its rewards so unevenly at such a critical time in the nation’s life?

  • Heidi Shierholz, Economic Policy Institute
  • Matthew S. Rutledge, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College
  • Discussants:
    • Andrew G. Biggs, American Enterprise Institute
    • Annie Lowrey, The New York Times
  • Moderator: Lori L. Hansen, Consultant on Social Policy

9:45 am  Session II, Keynote – Rethinking the American Social Contract: Building On What Works
Our inherited social contract — the web of institutions and policies designed to empower and support Americans from childhood and work through retirement — is providing inadequate economic security for many of us. Will modest repairs suffice, or does the social contract require comprehensive rethinking and reconstruction? And what role should the nation’s bedrock social insurance programs play? Should Social Security be expanded? Can Medicare do more to bring healthcare costs under control?

10: 45 Break

11:00 am  Session III:  How Can We Pay for What Americans Want?
Inside the Beltway, it’s not popular to talk about taxes. Yet revenues are essential to pay for the strengthened web of financial, retirement, and health security programs that most Americans say they want. What unmet needs do Americans want policymakers to address — and who will pay for them? With Washington polarized and seemingly paralyzed, can states take the lead in key areas? Where, in short, is the intersection of public opinion and responsive policymaking — and how do we get there from here?

  • Mathew Greenwald, Mathew Greenwald & Associates
  • Bruce Bartlett
  • Ruth Milkman, CUNY
  • Ai-jen Poo, National Domestic Workers Alliance and Caring Across Generations
  • Moderator: Andrea Louise Campbell, MIT

12:30pm Lunch 

1:00 pm Lunch Keynote

  • Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security
  • Moderator: Virginia P. Reno, National Academy of Social Insurance

1:20 pm  Session IV: Breaking Through: Changing the National Conversation
A wide-ranging three-way conversation among the conference co-chairs — with audience participation — about strengthening the nation’s web of financial and retirement security, drawing on comparisons with other countries and looking atquestions such as intergenerational equity, whether strong social protections support or undermine work, and what it will take to move beyond the politics of gridlock and austerity.

Conference co-chairs:

  • Andrea Louise Campbell, MIT
  • Lori L. Hansen, Consultant on Social Policy
  • Jake Jones, Daimler North America

2:00 Break

2:20 pm  Session V, Breakout Sessions:  Financial Security Throughout the Lifetime

A) Social Security Disability Insurance: The Untold Story

Why has enrollment grown so much in recent years? What needs to be done before 2016 to keep the DI trust fund solvent? What changes are needed for the long run — both to ensure that disabled workers get the benefits they need and to maintain program solvency?

B) The Implications of Medicare's Higher Cost for Current and Future Beneficiaries

Medicare beneficiaries face an array of out of pocket costs that can be quite high. These out-of-pocket costs are likely to increase in the coming years as policymakers struggle with ways to improve Medicare’s financial condition and make beneficiaries cost-sensitive. How will beneficiaries fare economically and how much can this trend continue in the future without impairing access? How do these realities fit with the current proposals on the table that further shift costs to Medicare beneficiaries?

3:45pm Break

4:00 pm  Session VI, Keynote:  The War on Poverty: A Fresh Perspective

January 8, 2014, marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s declaration of an “unconditional” war on poverty in his first State of the Union address. Did we lose that war, as has been so often claimed, or is the story more complex — and unfinished, with chapters yet to be written? What role should social insurance programs play in advancing economic security and social justice going forward?

4:45 Break

5:00 pm  Closing Reception

  • Peter Orszag, Citigroup, Inc.
  • Moderator: William J. Arnone, NASI Board Chair