Commission on Reimagining Our Economy
This crosspartisan, interdisciplinary Commission seeks to reimagine the nation’s political economy, to rethink the values that drive economic policy making, and to enable opportunity for all Americans. Guided by an understanding of the connections between our political and economic systems, this project will advance bold, achievable recommendations to help create an economy that helps individuals, communities, and the nation flourish.
Economic uncertainty is a disruptive force in American life. Too many families are unable to achieve the life they want despite their best efforts, too many communities have not benefited fully from national economic growth, and too many Americans believe the economy does not work for people like them. In a 2021 Pew Research Center survey, 66 percent felt that the nation’s economy needs major reforms, while just 6 percent felt it should remain unchanged. Coupled with the current challenges facing American democracy, these trends contribute to the growing distrust of political and economic institutions. While it often seems that the nation cannot agree on much, there is widespread agreement that changes are needed to bolster opportunity and to allow more Americans to share in the nation’s prosperity.
The specific policies needed to reform the economy, and the values that should inform those policies, are subject to intense disagreement. With this challenge in mind, the Academy launched the Commission on Reimagining Our Economy (CORE) in October 2021. The goal of the Commission is to rethink the principles, metrics, narratives, and policies that shape the nation’s political economy. While policymakers and journalists often track how the economy is doing, the Commission seeks to direct a focus onto how Americans are doing, elevating the human stakes of our economic and political systems.
The interdisciplinary and cross-partisan Commission comprises scholars, journalists, artists, and leaders from the faith, labor, business, and philanthropic communities. A premise of the Commission’s work is that questions of political economy are inextricable from conversations about democracy. Individual well-being is not simply a matter of dollars and cents. Other factors need to be accounted for, particularly the degree to which people feel that their voice is valued. The widespread belief that the economy does not give everyone a fair chance threatens the nation’s social fabric and its constitutional democracy.
To that end, the CORE project will build on Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century. That report acknowledges that economic conditions influence public faith in government, political participation, and civic engagement. While Our Common Purpose does not offer recommendations specifically targeted at economic issues, the Commission on Reimagining Our Economy will face these issues head on.
Through listening sessions, data collection, and a commitment to crosspartisan work, the Commission will develop bold, achievable recommendations that rethink the values that should drive the economy and advance practices and policies that would enable opportunity, mobility, and sufficiency for all.