The Bagehot Lecture
Gene B. Sperling, Director, National Economic Council
Gene B. Sperling
Gene B. Sperling is Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy. Upon his appointment on January 7, 2011, Mr. Sperling became the first person to serve as NEC Director and principal economic policy advisor for two presidents: first under President Clinton from 1997 to 2001, and now under President Obama.
In the Obama Administration, Sperling has played a key role representing the White House in budget negotiations with Congress as well as in designing several of the President’s economic initiatives including the American Jobs Act, the extension of Transition Adjustment Assistance, the universal dislocated workers program, and the small business tax credit. He also serves as the White House point person on several of the President’s top priorities including manufacturing policy, housing, and economic assistance for veterans.
During his eight years at the White House in the Clinton Administration, Sperling helped negotiate the 1993 and 1997 Deficit Reduction Acts and the increase in the earned-income tax credit and a champion of Saving Social Security First, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Hope Scholarship Tax Credit and the Direct Student Loan program.
Mr. Sperling’s work extends beyond economics. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Mr. Sperling was a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution where he focused on education in poor and conflict-affected nations. He was the founder and Director of the Center for Universal Education at the Council on Foreign Relations and co-authored a book entitled What Works in Girls’ Education: Evidence and Policies from the Developing World.
Mr. Sperling was also Senior Fellow for Economic Policy at the Center for American Progress, where he authored The Pro-Growth Progressive: An Economic Strategy for Shared Prosperity.
Prior to his current appointment, Mr. Sperling served as Counselor at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. In that role, Mr. Sperling served as a lead policy advisor on fiscal, budget, tax, job creation and small business issues.
Mr. Sperling graduated from the University of Minnesota and Yale Law School, and attended Wharton Business School. He is a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, where his parents still live.
Gene B. Sperling, director of the National Economic Council, blasts efforts to cap spending on Medicare and Social Security in a bid to balance the budget without raising taxes. "Those who suggest that we should just agree on our historic averages of spending ... are in a sense seeking to repeal the aging of the population," argues Sperling.