The LBJ School, Economists for Peace and Security Co-host Policy Symposium on Economics, American Politics and Security | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

On Monday, November 13, The LBJ School of Public Affairs and Economists for Peace and Security (EPS) held EPS’ 10th annual policy symposium in Washington, DC, featuring keynote remarks from Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and special remarks from Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA).

“This event showed the convening power of the LBJ School's Washington Center, together with the longstanding reputation of Economists for Peace and Security as a group that brings together some of Washington's and the nation's most respected and innovative policy minds,” said LBJ Professor James Galbraith, who is former chair of the EPS Board and the Lloyd M. Bentsen Chair in Government at the LBJ School.

Economics, American politics and the economic dimensions of current critical security issues were the focus of the symposium. Senior specialists discussed the most fundamental issues animating American political discourse, including the current administration’s foreign policy, job growth and the future of healthcare.

“I fear I am going to be telling you what you already know,” Senator Sanders said as he began his remarks. “You cannot silo-ize issues. Every issue is related to another issue.”

Senator Sanders discussed the healthcare and criminal justice systems and economic inequality throughout his keynote.  

“You have a so-called healthcare system that leaves tens of millions of people without insurance and many more who are underinsured,” he said. “We have a criminal justice system that says if you’re an addict, we will arrest you and throw you in jail without the ability to provide treatment that people need.”

Senator Sanders also talked about the administration’s tax plan, saying the current plan does not adequately address poverty, improve lives for the middle class or stimulate the economy.

He cited the Paradise Papers, a special investigation by journalists around the world that reveals the offshore activities of some of the world’s most powerful people.

“There is a direct relationship between wealth and power,” he said.

Senator Sanders said that while these people and corporations are very patriotic, want infrastructure rebuilt and believe in a robust education, by shifting their profits offshore, they leave the tax burden to less wealthy Americans.

Rep. Khanna called for a substantive tax plan, saying Democrats cannot simply poke holes in what President Trump offers.

“We need a vision – a vision that will give folks hope in economic growth,” Khanna said. “A real policy that will convince them they will have higher wages and will convince them that their kids can be part of the new economy.”