On December 14, AEI hosted the opening of the “This way up” summit, with a keynote from AEI President Arthur Brooks and a panel discussion.
The next day, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) gave the keynote address, in which he called for the federal government to act as the supply line, not the front line, in fighting poverty. He discussed the potential for local service providers to fill the gap between the benefit cliff and self-sufficiency and the importance of measuring program outcomes.
Alex Brill, Veronique de Rugy, Ramesh Ponnuru, and Michael Barone discussed reform conservatism, which aims to break away from the traditional conservative rhetoric and tax policy. John Engler, Howard Husock, Peter Wehner, and Robert Doar discussed why the system has not been producing young people who can compete in the 21st-century economy and recommended a more customized and graduated approach to job training. Charles Murray and Tamar Jacoby discussed changes in the family since the 1960s, the social factors that produced these changes, and how they have affected poverty in the United States.
The “Family matters” panel built on the consensus reached in the AEI/Brookings report on the positive impacts of marriage on poverty and the need to eliminate marriage disincentives. Next, Grant Collins, Lawrence Mead, Robert Rector, and Jason Turner discussed the current state of the social safety net and identified several areas for improvement, such as stronger work requirements.
Later, Oren Cass, Brandon Chrostowski, Nicholas Eberstadt, and Michael Strain examined the long-term decline of prime-age men’s participation in the workforce. Mark Holden, Vikrant Reddy, Sam Schaeffer, and Steven Teles inspected some of the causes of American imprisonment rates and the humanitarian and economic benefits of improving our criminal justice system. J. D. Vance and William Kristol ended the event by reminding attendees that understanding the culture of those one serves is necessary before solving problems through policy.
— Emily Stearns and Kyle Craft
The challenge of ensuring economic mobility is more pressing than ever. This year’s presidential election has highlighted an array of needs and concerns — among poor people trapped in safety-net programs that relieve material hardship but do not help them escape poverty and a neglected middle class struggling to keep up with globalization. A wealth of new thinking is percolating in Washington and beyond, as people close to the problem are coming up with better ideas that look beyond government and harness the power of communities.
This summit will bring together Washington-based conservative policy experts, heartland social entrepreneurs, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, a leading champion of the new approach. Please join AEI for the kickoff reception of this two-day conference, with a full day of panels the next day at the Ronald Reagan Building.
Join the conversation on social media with @AEI on Twitter and Facebook.
Arthur C. Brooks, AEI
Panel discussion: The way out of poverty
Jimmy Kemp, Jack Kemp Foundation
Heather Reynolds, Catholic Charities Fort Worth
Scott Winship, The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity
Adam Meyerson, Philanthropy Roundtable
Adjournment and reception to follow
Event Contact Information
Media Contact Information
For media inquiries or to register a camera crew, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.
Arthur C. Brooks is president of the American Enterprise Institute. He has served as president since January 1, 2009. He is also the Beth and Ravenel Curry Scholar in Free Enterprise. Before joining AEI, Dr. Brooks was the Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, where he taught economics and social entrepreneurship. Before his work in academia and public policy, he spent 12 years as a classical musician in the United States and Spain.
Jimmy Kemp is president of the Jack Kemp Foundation, which he established in 2009. Its mission is to develop, engage, and recognize exceptional leaders who champion the American idea. He cofounded and is the managing partner of Kemp Partners, a strategic consulting firm based in Washington, DC. He is also executive vice president of Group 47, a digital data storage company that is bringing to market a new archival media called Digital Optical Technology System (DOTS). Mr. Kemp spent eight seasons as a quarterback in the Canadian Football League, finishing his career in 2001 with the Toronto Argonauts.
Adam Meyerson joined the Philanthropy Roundtable as president in 2001. From 1993 to 2001, he was vice president for educational affairs at the Heritage Foundation. He was editor in chief of Heritage’s magazine, Policy Review, from 1983 to 1998. From 1979 to 1983, he was an editorial writer for The Wall Street Journal and editor of its Manager’s Journal and Asia columns and its book reviews. In addition to serving as president of the Roundtable, Mr. Meyerson is chairman of the board of the Donors Capital Fund and a board member of the State Policy Network. He graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University in 1974. From 1977 to 1979, he attended Harvard Business School and completed all requirements but the dissertation for a doctorate in international business.
Heather Reynolds is the president and CEO at Catholic Charities Fort Worth. She acts as the national adviser to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration and serves on the Catholic Charities USA Executive Council of Diocesan Directors. In 2012, she was honored as the Center for Nonprofit Management’s Nonprofit CEO of the Year. She is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization. In 2011, Ms. Reynolds was awarded the Benemerenti Medal from Pope Benedict XVI, which is the highest honor a layperson can receive in the Catholic Church. She holds a bachelor’s of social work from Texas Christian University, a master’s of social work from the University of Texas at Arlington, and an executive MBA from Texas Christian University.
Scott Winship is a visiting fellow at the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, a new think tank focused on upward mobility for the bottom half of Americans. Previously, he was the Walter B. Wriston Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a fellow at the Brookings Institution. He writes a column for Forbes.com, and his research on poverty, inequality, and economic mobility has been published in National Affairs, National Review, The Wall Street Journal, The Wilson Quarterly, and City Journal, among other outlets. Earlier in his career, Dr. Winship was research manager of the Economic Mobility Project of the Pew Charitable Trusts and a senior policy adviser at Third Way. He received a B.A. in sociology and urban studies from Northwestern University and a Ph.D. in social policy from Harvard University.
“Opportunity, responsibility, and security”
Robert Doar, Lawrence Mead, and Michael Strain | AEI-Brookings Working Group | December 3, 2015