Debate: Progressive Economics and the Great Recession

January 19, 2012 | Devon Swezey,

The Great Recession has given way to a less-than-great recovery and the pressure is on for Washington to respond. In an upcoming debate, two leading economic thinkers will go toe to toe on whether Keynesian economics offers a credible economic growth agenda.

In the first issue of Breakthrough Journal, ITIF President Rob Atkinson takes traditional Keynesians to task for pushing for additional demand-side public pump priming and for what he sees as their focus on distribution of the economic pie rather than the growth of the pie. In a response, Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, rejects Atkinson's critique and calls it a "potshot" that dismisses research showing that economic growth is in fact demand-driven.

The two have agreed to hash out their differences in a public debate co-sponsored by ITIF and Breakthrough Journal. Is traditional stimulus spending and assistance to individuals a useful but inadequate response to the Great Recession? Does the slow recovery suggest something more is needed to restore U.S. competitiveness, such as corporate tax reform that encourages innovation and investments in high-end manufacturing, more rigorous trade enforcement, and government support for R&D? Where do today's Keynesians and innovation economists find common ground? Join us for a thought-provoking and candid exploration of progressive economic policies at a historic crossroads.

Debate: Progressive Economics and the Great Recession
Date and Time: Wednesday, February 1, 2012, 9:30-11:00 AM
Location: ITIF, 1101 K Street NW (Suite 610A) Washington, DC 20005


Robert D. Atkinson
President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (Presenter)

Dean Baker
Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research (Presenter)

John Dimsdale
Washington, D.C. Bureau Chief, American Public Media (Moderator)

Please RSVP for the debate here.