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Oberlin Club of Washington, DC: “From Kennedy to Trump: How Neoliberalism Has Compromised the American Dream”

Oberlin Club of Washington, DC: “From Kennedy to Trump: How Neoliberalism Has Compromised the American Dream”

“From Kennedy to Trump: How Neoliberalism Has Compromised the American Dream

A Zoom Conversation with Steven Sinding ’65, Political Scientist, and Robert Kuttner ’65, Writer and Journalist


The post-war decade-and-a-half, from 1946 to the early 1960s, was a general period of American prosperity and optimism during which the U.S. economy grew robustly and most American families shared the affluence. Businesses grew but, thanks to a strong union movement, labor shared in this profitability and a large middle class emerged during these years. Then things began to change in the mid-to-late 1960s and through the 1970s so that, by the time of Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980, the country’s mood had changed considerably and the economy was being transformed. What changed? How did it happen? And what have been the consequences in the 40-plus years since Reagan took office? Join Steve Sinding and Bob Kuttner who will offer their views and suggest what the way forward could look like.

Steven Sinding ’65 retired in 2006 as Director-General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, headquartered in London. He spent most of his career in the field of family planning and reproductive health and rights, both as a “foot soldier” and eventually head of global family planning programs at the U.S. Agency for International Development. Until 2015 he chaired the board of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, which is based in the United Kingdom and has served on the boards of the Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Pathfinder International, the Center for Health and Gender Equity, and Abt Associates. Steven was Professor of Population and Family Health and Adjunct Professor of Public Policy at Columbia University from 1999 to 2002, where he wrote and published Re-engaging with the Developing World: The Aid Imperative (2002). At Oberlin, he majored in Government. He later earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Robert Kuttner ’65 is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect magazine, and the Meyer and Ida Kirstein Professor at Brandeis University’s Heller School. He was a longtime columnist for Business Week, the Boston Globe, and the Washington Post syndicate. He was a founder of the Economic Policy Institute and serves on its board and executive committee. Bob has authored thirteen books, the most recent being Going Big: FDR's Legacy, Biden's New Deal, and the Struggle to Save Democracy. His magazine writing, covering the interplay of economics and politics, has appeared in most major national magazines, including The New Yorker, New York Review of Books, and The Atlantic. His previous positions have included national staff writer on The Washington Post, chief investigator of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, executive director of President Carter’s National Commission on Neighborhoods, and economics editor of The New Republic. He is the winner of several awards, including the Paul Hoffman Award of the United Nations for his lifetime work on economic efficiency and social justice. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, Woodrow Wilson Fellow, Radcliffe Public Policy Fellow, German Marshall Fund Fellow, and John F. Kennedy Fellow. Bob was educated at Oberlin where he was a Government major, the London School of Economics, and the University of California at Berkeley. He holds honorary doctorates from Oberlin and Swarthmore. He lives in Boston with his wife, Northeastern University Professor Joan Fitzgerald.


Oberlin Club of Washington, DC: “From Kennedy to Trump: How Neoliberalism Has Compromised the American Dream”

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