Ben Olinsky

Senior Vice President, Structural Reform and Governance; Senior Fellow


Ben Olinsky is the senior vice president of Structural Reform and Governance and a senior fellow on the Economy team at American Progress. He rejoined American Progress after serving as the special assistant to the president for labor and workforce policy under former President Barack Obama. At the White House, Olinsky helped craft the president’s agenda for labor and employment issues, including raising wages, expanding worker voice, protecting worker safety and health, advancing equal pay, combating discrimination, promoting paid leave, and creating pathways to jobs and opportunity. He coordinated federal efforts to update overtime protections and led the development and implementation of executive actions to raise wages, expand paid leave, and improve labor standards for federal contractors and employees. Olinsky was previously a senior fellow at American Progress, where he led the Middle-Out Economics project, researching and publishing policies to strengthen the middle class and reduce income inequality. Before his time at the White House and American Progress, Olinsky served as the legislative director for former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and as the senior economic adviser for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA).


Middle-Out Mobility Report
Regions of the United States that have larger middle classes and less inequality have more economic mobility. As a consequence, a low-income child who grows up in an area with a large middle class is likely to earn more money and make a better life for himself or herself. (iStockphoto)

Middle-Out Mobility

Americans have long imagined our nation to be a land of equal opportunity, where anyone can succeed with talent and hard work. Unfortunately, economic mobility is a scarce commodity today, and a child’s life chances are too often dictated by his or her parent’s pocketbook.

Ben Olinsky, Sasha Post

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