While there are many uniquely positive attributes about the US economy, something is fundamentally wrong and here’s what it is: economic growth can no longer be counted on to deliver broadly shared prosperity.
Remarkably, pundits, politicians, and candidates from both sides of the aisle are constantly citing the disconnect between overall growth and the economic prospects of most households. We hear lots of well-placed angst about the middle-class squeeze, wage stagnation, “sticky” poverty rates that are unresponsive to growth, and the immobility of those on the wrong side of the inequality divide. And yet . . . no one has articulated a thorough, robust agenda designed explicitly to reunite growth and prosperity.
While many books on these issues spend most of their time on diagnosis and little on prescription, Jared Bernstein, former Chief Economist to Vice President Joe Biden and member of President Obama’s economics team, intentionally flips that ratio in The Reconnection Agenda: each chapter presents concrete policy solutions to the fundamental disconnect, including those that can get us to full employment, make monetary and fiscal policy work together more effectively, rebalance international trade, promote mobility, and break the “economic shampoo cycle” (bubble, bust, repeat) that has characterized our economy for decades.
Bernstein’s last chapter explains why, even while powerful economic elites block commonsense solutions, the demand for a reconnection agenda is growing. What’s critical is that citizens recognize the difference between a policy set that will actually help and a phony one that will exacerbate the forces that for decades now have been preventing growth from reaching most Americans.
If you’ve ever read an article or heard a radio report about the lack of enough good jobs, the rise of inequality, and/or the economic stressors facing the middle class and the poor—not to mention the endless squabbles of policy makers unable to do anything truly useful about these problems—and wished for a reader-friendly, even occasionally fun (really!) book that takes you through what’s gone wrong and how to fix it . . .
Then The Reconnection Agenda is for you!
Oh . . . and by the way . . . it’s also downloadable for free. How’s that for a whack at the forces of economic darkness?