What's the difference between liberalism and progressivism? According to John Podesta, it is the "fire of social justice" that is often born from faith or a belief in a communitarian approach to the common good—as opposed to an individualistic approach. It is, in short, the idea that the current generation can expect to do a little better than the last.
Podesta, former chief-of-staff to President Bill Clinton and current CEO and president of the Center for American Progress, argues in his latest book, "The Power of Progress: How America's Progressive Can (Once Again) Save Our Economy, Our Climate, and Our Country", that the principles of progressivism are pivotal to reinvigorating the economy and solving the big problems of the day, from global warming to health care. Saying that without investment, there is no growth, Podesta outlines how investing in clean energy is crucial to reducing not only the threats from terrorism but from the effects of climate change itself, like the rising price of food or extreme weather events.
Calling the book a must-read for "anyone in government or in the battle of ideas" who hopes to understand progressivism, moderator Walter Isaacson asks Podesta to touch on the biggest challenges the nation faces today. Podesta calls for regulating emissions through a cap-and-trade program, investment in a health care system that focuses on prevention, creation of a school year that reflects contemporary norms (and not the agricultural calendar), and a serious regulation of the financial sector. After all, says Podesta, "We have to build a society in which people feel their opportunities are going to expand."- Aspen Institute
Walter Isaacson is the president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies institute based in Washington, DC. He has been the chairman and CEO of CNN and the editor of TIME magazine.
John D. Podesta
John Podesta is Chair of the Center for American Progress and the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Under his leadership American Progress has become a notable leader in the development of and advocacy for progressive policy.
Prior to founding the Center in 2003, Podesta served as White House chief of staff to President William J. Clinton. He served in the president’s cabinet and as a principal on the National Security Council. While in the White House, he also served as both an assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff, as well as staff secretary.
Podesta served as co-chair of President Barack Obama’s transition, where he coordinated the priorities of the incoming administration’s agenda, oversaw the development of its policies, and spearheaded its appointments of major cabinet secretaries and political appointees.
Additionally, Podesta has held numerous positions on Capitol Hill, including counselor to Democratic Leader Sen. Thomas A. Daschle (1995-1996).
He is currently serving on the U.N. Secretary General’s High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
A Chicago native, Podesta is a graduate of Knox College and the Georgetown University Law Center, where he is currently a visiting professor of law. He also authored The Power of Progress: How America’s Progressives Can (Once Again) Save Our Economy, Our Climate and Our Country.