2020 PFIG Recipient Jessie Meyers
Journal Entry #1
This summer, I am a remote Economic Policy Intern at the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE). This is my first internship specifically focusing on economic policy, an interest of mine that I have not had the opportunity to explore in a professional setting. As an Economics and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies major, I was really excited to get started in this position as it synthesizes conversations around economics, sustainability, and equity. In addition, I was excited to be able to place academic theory into more practical applications with CASSE.
The first week of the internship was an opportunity for me to get to know my supervisor and really dive into the mission of CASSE. The steady state economy is a unique economic theory that I have never engaged with in an academic context. My first week, my supervisor had me research what a steady state economy includes and what it does not. I conducted research in ecological economics and read writings and research from the founder of CASSE, Brian Czech. This gave me the opportunity to not only refine my research and writing ability, but also expand my idea of what economic equity can look like.
My first assignments were really designed to get me to think more critically about what we think of as economic success. The literature that my supervisor assigned flipped a lot of what I have learned about economics on its head. I decided to study Economics and Women and Gender Studies as it gave me a more critical perspective when considering things like economic theory and policy. CASSE is giving me the opportunity to practice this critical analysis and push me to think outside of the box. I am excited for the future perspectives and ideas that I will be able to engage with over the next eight weeks.
Journal Entry #2
After spending the first few weeks getting to understand the mission of the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE), I began to look into more detailed economic policy initiatives. My supervisor wanted me to research how policy amendments are created and written, as well as how they can be categorized. In addition, he wanted me to explore when amendments to pre-existing policies are useful as opposed to creating policy from scratch. In doing this project, I had the opportunity to read and summarize policies, like the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 and the Budget Control Act, in everyday language.
I was tasked with exploring policy amendments in order to further CASSE’s mission of amending the Full Employment Act. CASSE is hoping to amend this Act in order to shape how we define economic success, specifically shifting a focus away from economic growth towards economic sustainability. My supervisor tasked me with reading through and summarizing the Full Employment Act for both my understanding and for internal use, providing me a toolset for reviewing and analyzing legislation. This particular policy also provided me a framework for how our nation’s economic goals are articulated.
With this project, I have a richer understanding of how economic policy is structured, worded, and framed. Furthermore, I can refer to this policy in the future for shaping my own arguments and understandings of different economic topics. The experience of reading through the Full Employment Act was invaluable to me. This internship is providing me my first opportunity to explore, analyze, and critique policy in a professional setting.
Journal Entry #3
My internship at the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE) has recently come to an end. I am so grateful for the opportunity to gain skills in economic research and policy analysis in a professional setting. I learned how to effectively summarize policy, analyze economic trends, and craft engaging policy memos. Additionally, in my first experience in a professional policy setting, I learned the value of varying viewpoints and engaging dialogue in policy work. This dialogue and team approach will be a necessity as I continue in professional policy settings. This experience is an exciting milestone for me as I begin my graduate studies in public policy this coming semester. Although COVID-19 made us completely virtual, my supervisor and fellow interns were incredibly supportive and accommodating throughout my time here.
I culminated my internship experience by researching the Earned Income Tax Credit and dependency tax code. This provided me an opportunity to see how effective tax incentives are at fostering class mobility. This experience was exciting as it tied in my academic interest of synthesizing considerations of equity with policy analysis. Prior to this capstone, I had never researched and written about the tax code. My final project was foundational in developing my analysis and writing skills.