100 episodes

Off-Kilter is a podcast about economic liberation—and the shifts in collective consciousness it will take to set us all free.

Every week, Rebecca Vallas talks with visionary leaders and organizations working to reinvigorate our shared imagination and disrupt the imbalance of power in our society.

Find Off-Kilter on the Progressive Voices Network, the We Act Radio network in D.C., local radio stations across the U.S., and wherever you get your podcasts.

OFF-KILTER with Rebecca Vallas The Century Foundation

    • News

Off-Kilter is a podcast about economic liberation—and the shifts in collective consciousness it will take to set us all free.

Every week, Rebecca Vallas talks with visionary leaders and organizations working to reinvigorate our shared imagination and disrupt the imbalance of power in our society.

Find Off-Kilter on the Progressive Voices Network, the We Act Radio network in D.C., local radio stations across the U.S., and wherever you get your podcasts.

    Inside West Virginia’s New Economic Bill of Rights–with Troy N. Miller

    Inside West Virginia’s New Economic Bill of Rights–with Troy N. Miller

    For this week’s episode, Rebecca sat down with Troy N. Miller, who’s long served as the Off-Kilter podcast’s beloved “man behind the curtain,” aka executive producer. When he’s not producing Off-Kilter, the Zero Hour, Breaking Through, and other progressive podcast/radio programs, Troy serves as West Virginia organizer and special projects director at Social Security Works and at-large member of the West Virginia State Democratic Executive Committee. In what was Troy’s first time crossing over to appear as a guest on the podcast, Rebecca and Troy had a far-ranging conversation about the story behind the “21st Century Economic Bill of Rights” adopted by the West Virginia State Democratic Executive Committee last month; why it matters for states to adopt these kinds of nonbinding resolutions; myth versus fact when it comes to West Virginia politics; Troy’s path to getting involved with West Virginia politics; the role of progressive radio and podcasting in the larger movement for social and economic justice and how Troy’s decade in the progressive radio world has shaped him as an advocate; and lots more. 
     
    Links from this episode:
    Learn more about West Virginia’s recently adopted economic bill of rights here
    Subscribe to Troy’s Substack: The Blue Ridge Breakdown
    Here’s the piece by Harvey Kaye and Alan Minsky calling for a renewal of FDR’s economic bill of rights for the 21st century

    • 59 min
    Redefining Wealth–with Aisha Nyandoro

    Redefining Wealth–with Aisha Nyandoro

    Wealth is a word that gets thrown around a lot, especially in economic conversations and spaces. The most basic definition is what you own minus what you owe. But as Aisha Nyandoro—CEO of Springboard to Opportunity and architect of the Magnolia Mother’s Trust—argues in her recent Tedx Talk, it’s time to redefine wealth in the United States. In her words, “for too long, we have allowed financial institutions to define wealth and the process by which we buildi it.” So for this week’s episode of Off-Kilter, Rebecca sat back down Aisha for a far-ranging conversation about how we define wealth and why it matters; Aisha’s own journey to answer the question of what wealth means to her; how the women who are part of the Magnolia Mother’s Trust answer that question; the relationship between wealth and liberation; how guaranteed minimum income can be part of the path to building a society where everyone has access to true wealth; money and spirituality; and more.
    Links from this episode:
    Watch’s Aisha’s Tedx Talk here: “What Does Wealth Mean to You?”
    Follow Aisha on Twitter/X @aisha_nyandoro
    Here are some prior episodes of Off-Kilter with Aisha featuring more on her work, including the Magnolia Mother’s Trust: “Your Work Is Not Your Worth” and “Self-Care Is Political Warfare”

    • 59 min
    Shifting the Paradigm on Disability Employment—with Bryan Gill and Nan Gibson

    Shifting the Paradigm on Disability Employment—with Bryan Gill and Nan Gibson

    For this week’s episode of Off-Kilter, with October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Rebecca sat down with two leaders at JP Morgan Chase (JPMC) who are at the forefront of advancing disability employment within the business and employer community: Bryan Gill, head of JP Morgan Chase’s Office of Disability Inclusion and the firm’s global head of neurodiversity, and Nan Gibson, executive director of JP Morgan Chase’s PolicyCenter. They had a far-ranging conversation about the story behind JPMC’s Office of Disability Inclusion and how it’s working to remove barriers to hiring and successful employment for disabled people at JPMC; why disability employment and inclusion is both the right thing to do and a business strategy; how JPMC’s PolicyCenter is advancing policy and legislative reform to promote disability employment and inclusion across the workforce as a whole; how asset limits hurt JPMC’s disabled employees and why JPMC is engaged in the national push to update SSI’s antiquated asset limits; efforts JPMC has underway to better serve customers with disabilities as a group who’ve largely been overlooked within the financial sector; and lots more.
     
    Links from this episode:
    Learn more about Bryan’s work as JPMC’s head of neurodiversity and the Office of Disability Inclusion here
    Read JPMC’s brief on how SSI’s asset limits hamper economic opportunity and mobility here
    Learn more about the SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act here
    Connect with Bryan and Nan on LinkedIn

    • 59 min
    “It doesn’t have to be this way”—with Jen Burdick of Community Legal Services

    “It doesn’t have to be this way”—with Jen Burdick of Community Legal Services

    For this week’s episode of Off-Kilter, Rebecca sat down with Jen Burdick, supervising attorney of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) unit at Community Legal Services (CLS), Rebecca’s legal aid alma mater. They had a far ranging conversation about how “eligibility doesn’t equal access” and other lessons Jen has learned throughout her years as a public benefits lawyer; the human consequences of a decade-plus of defunding the Social Security Administration, from years-long backlogs in disability cases to overpayments that wreak havoc in beneficiaries’ lives; how Jen combines her client representation with policy advocacy and why the perspective of direct service providers like legal aid lawyers is so valuable to shaping public policy and legislative reform; how outdated policies like outdated asset limits lead to inhumane surveillance of poor people’s finances; the toxicity of the collective limiting belief that poor families aren’t to be trusted with their own money, and how that shows up in the SSI program, through “dedicated accounts” that restrict how families are able to spend their benefits; and lots more.
     
    Links from this episode:
    Follow Jen and CLS on Twitter/X: @jen_burdick @clsphila and learn more about CLS’s work at clsphila.org
    Here’s the Kaiser Health News story on needless SSI overpayments and how they wreak havoc in low-income beneficiaries’ lives
    For more on the disinvestment in SSA’s administrative budget, check out this Off-Kilter episode
    And for more on how eligibility doesn’t equal access in public assistance programs, here’s the prior Off-Kilter episode that Jen was featured in

    • 59 min
    Older Workers in Physically Challenging Jobs Are in Trouble

    Older Workers in Physically Challenging Jobs Are in Trouble

    According to recently released Census data, poverty among older adults increased sharply again in 2022, after reaching an all-time low just two years before. One group of older Americans who’s especially struggling is older workers in physically demanding jobs. Contrary to the popular narrative that everyone’s living longer and work is getting easier, a recent task force convened by the National Academy of Social Insurance found that more than 10 million older workers are in jobs that are physically challenging and lack the resources to secure more viable jobs or retire. These workers are disproportionately low earners with lower educational attainment than the average American worker; they predominantly are workers of color and a growing share are women. For this week’s episode of Off-Kilter, we’re bringing you a panel discussion Rebecca moderated at a recent event hosted by the National Academy of Social Insurance about older workers in physically demanding jobs and the policy options the task force identified to strengthen social insurance supports to prevent poverty and hardship among this “invisible” group.
     
    Links from this episode:
    Find the NASI task force report here and watch the full event here
    Learn more about the National Academy of Social Insurance at nasi.org

    • 1 hr 19 min
    Inside the Voices of Disability Economic Justice Project–with Emily Ladau

    Inside the Voices of Disability Economic Justice Project–with Emily Ladau

    For this week’s episode of Off-Kilter, Rebecca sat back down with Emily Ladau. She’s the editor of the Voices of Disability Economic Justice Project and the author of Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to Be an Ally. She’s someone who’s done an immense amount throughout her career to shift narratives on disability in the United States and is a master storyteller whose many superpowers also include supporting other people in telling their stories. They had a far-ranging conversation about the Voices of Disability Economic Justice Project as it comes up on its one-year anniversary; why it’s so important for people with disabilities to get to tell their own stories; why storytelling is critical to policy and culture change; how she ended up on Sesame Street; why she wrote her book Demystifying Disability; and lots more. 

    Links from this episode:
    Check out Emily’s book Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to Be an Ally
    Follow Emily on Twitter/X @emily_ladau 
    Learn more about the Voices project and how to write for it
    Here is the Off-Kilter episode feat. Emily with writer Alex Ashley Fox on the harms that come from autistic people being forced to mask at work, and here is Alex’s Voices piece

    • 59 min

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