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The New Conversation with New School President Dwight A. McBride and Dr. Teresa Ghilarducci

October 5, 2022


According to nationally-recognized labor economist and New School economics professor Dr. Teresa Ghilarducci, the U.S. economy is heading towards a recession. Dr. Ghilarducci recently shared this insight and her other thoughts on the current economy, including the country’s retirement funds, the recession, student loan forgiveness, and more in the latest episode of The New Conversation, a series of discussions with New School President Dwight A. McBride.

Dr. Ghilarducci, who is the director of The New School Retirement Equity Lab (ReLab), describes how the way an economy treats its workers is shown in the way it treats its retired workers. The pandemic has hit the labor market hard, with older workers being laid off faster than younger ones. In addition, those older workers that do have jobs often do not have a clear-cut way to save for retirement. Dr. Ghilarducci predicts poverty rates to go up among the older populations, and worries this could mean a political upheaval due to the fact that older members of society tend to vote more than other groups.

"I have been working all my academic life since graduate school to pass a legislation that would provide universal pensions for all Americans, so that it's not just a voluntary thing. Maybe you don't know that only half of Americans have a pension at work. That's because we have a voluntary, commercial, individually directed system," said Dr. Ghilarducci, who is known as a retirement economist.

When asked about the recent backlash against the recent student loan forgiveness initiative, Dr. Ghilarducci points out that the mixed response was not surprising, as the policy is highly dependent on the situation of the individual. She recalls that some individuals may have been at the end of their student loan journey and some at the start when the policy was implemented. She is excited about the The New School Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis, which centers around the debate of whether the government can play a role in the economy. Dr. Ghilarducci encourages students to continue their education and earn their degree, however, and reminds them that college students have a much lower unemployment rate than other groups.

She ended the conversation with some advice to job seekers: "You never get a job because you're wonderful. You get a job because you've convinced that potential employer that you can solve their problem at this period in time, so you have to know the skills and the knowledge about their problem at that point in time and then you'll get hired."

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