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Policy Gone Wild: Faculty Conference Call with Kent Smetters & Jeff Brown

Join us for a WCNC Faculty Conference Call on Friday, May 8th, 12:00pm PST when Wharton Prof. Kent Smetters and University of Illinois Prof. Jeff Brown will share with us their thoughts on the real financial and political issues facing America long-term.

Bailouts gone wild. Annual federal deficits that begin to be significant fractions of our annual GDP. States and municipalities that are on the edge of bankruptcy. Pirates in the oceans.

More excitement so far this year than any one American citizen should be allowed to have, right?

Well, as bad as things seem now, the most significant problems facing the U.S. economy remain longer term, structural ones. What are we talking about? Well, things such as (1) our apparent inability to get deficit-spending under control, (2) the runaway growth in entitlement spending, (3) growing antipathy towards free trade, (4) an unsettling shift towards a vew that government can somehow solve all of our problems (i.e., make this a pain-free, downside-free world for all of us) and (5) the implications of these things for the long-run competitive position of the U.S. are a good--and yet still not complete!--start to the list.

Professors Smetters and Brown are longtime colleagues and friends, having worked together in the White House analyzing and recommending policy initiatives to deal with these issues. Join us for the next in a series of Faculty Conference Calls and a lively discussion as Wharton Insurance and Risk Management Prof. Kent Smetters and University of Illinois Finance Prof. Jeffrey Brown team up to share with us their thoughts on this timely topic.

Register Online
When: Friday, May 8th, 2009
Time: 12:00pm - 1:15pm west coast time
Where: Via Conference Call (Dial-in and pass code to be provided the day before the event by e-mail.)
Registration: No charge for current WCNC members and University of Illinois Alumni Club of the SF Bay Area members--WCNC members and SF Bay Illini members only. Registration closes at 1:00pm PST Thursday, May 7th. (Note: although there is no event registration fee for WCNC and SF Bay Illini members, "seating" will be limited at this event--please register only if you are confident you'll be able to attend.)

 Prof. Kent Smetters
Kent Smetters is the Boettner Chair Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Previous positions include the Congressional Budget Office (1995 to 1998), the Kaiser Visiting Professor of Economics at Stanford Economics Department (2000-2001), and Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary for Economic Policy (2001-2002). His book publications include Fiscal and Generational Imbalances: New Budget Measures for New Budget Priorities, coauthor (AEI Press, 2003), and The Pension Challenge: Risk Transfers and Retirement Income Security, coeditor (Oxford University Press, 2004). He has published academic articles in leading journals, including American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, and The Quarterly Journal of Economics. He is often cited in major media outlets.

An expert in Social Security and tax policy, Dr. Smetters has taught at the Wharton School since 1998 and served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Economic Policy in the US Department of Treasury from 2001-2002. Before coming to Wharton, he was an economist in the Congressional Budget Office from 1995-1998. He is currently a Non-Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and has been a consultant to the World Bank and the Urban Institute, and Kaiser Visiting Professor at Stanford University.

Dr. Smetters earned a PhD (1995) and MA (1992) in economics from Harvard University and BS degrees (1990) in economics and computer science from Ohio State University.

 Prof. Jeffrey Brown
Jeffrey Brown is the William G. Karnes Professor in the Department of Finance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Director of the Center for Business and Public Policy in the College of Business. Prior to joining the Illinois faculty, Dr. Brown was an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. During 2001-2002, he served as Senior Economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers where he focused primarily on Social Security, pension reform, and terrorism risk insurance. During 2001 he also served on the staff of the President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security.

In 2006, President Bush appointed Dr. Brown to serve on the seven-member Social Security Advisory Board, and he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in December 2006. He served on a national expert panel that studied the structure of Social Security personal accounts that released its report in January 2005. He has also served as a consultant, expert witness, or expert panelist for the Executive Office of the President, the U.S. General Accounting Office, the U.S. Treasury, and the World Bank.

Professor Brown's research interests are primarily focused on public and private insurance markets, including Social Security, private pensions, annuities, life insurance, long-term care insurance, and terrorism risk insurance. His research has also branched into areas ranging from the influence of executive compensation on firm dividend policy to the influence of community effects on stock market participation. His work has been published in leading economics and finance journals, including The American Economic Review, The Journal of Political Economy, The Journal of Public Economics, The Journal of Finance, The Journal of Risk and Insurance, The National Tax Journal and numerous books. Professor Brown is co-author of the book The Role of Annuities in Financing Retirement from MIT Press, and is co-founder and co-editor of the Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, published by Cambridge University Press. Professor Brown and/or his research have been cited in numerous news outlets, including the BBC, Business Week, Chicago Tribune, CNBC, CNN, Fox News, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post.

Professor Brown holds a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Master of Public Policy degree from Harvard University, and a B.A. from Miami University. Prior to graduate school, he was a Brand Manager at the Procter & Gamble Company.

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